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More than a Background


October 24, 2016

In our October issue, KBB went in depth on countertops, looking at the different varieties, the benefits of each and the stunning innovations done with surface materials. But countertops are only part of the story, and now we have spoken with several industry experts to find out more about backsplash trends.

View a gallery of new backsplash products here. 

KBB: What are consumers asking for in terms of backsplashes for the kitchen and bath?

“Consumers are asking for something that is unique but not over the top. For this reason, subtle textures or interesting shapes in muted colors have been popular.”

DeeDee Gundberg, director – product development, ANN SACKS

“Consumers are asking for surfaces that are beautiful, add a feel of luxury to their homes and are easy to live with. They want a variety of choices in colors, shape and texture – whether their backsplash is a traditional subway tile, a more bold colored mosaic or a large architectural decoration.”

Jared Becker, vice president of design and marketing at Walker Zanger

“Consumers are pursuing new and different options, but they often prefer styles that have roots in classic design. The importance of design in backsplashes is growing, and consumers are relying less on the old standby of simple geometric tiles with detail inserts or borders. They want their backsplash to reflect their personal style, which they are more comfortable displaying there than in larger settings in their home.”

Lauren Cherkas, president of retail at Artistic Tile

KBB: What do you think is most important to customers when it comes to backsplashes?

“Personalization is the most important element for customers designing their backsplashes. It’s a place where they can put their own style aesthetic into the space. Whether they use concrete, encaustic tile, ceramic or glass, they can use the materials to reflect their personality and style preferences. It could be contemporary or rustic, but the most important element is that they feel an emotional connection to the design.”

Feras Irikat, director of design and marketing, Lunada Bay Tile

“More people are swapping out their cabinets for open shelves, leaving larger canvases in the kitchen for personalization. With this design selection comes ample opportunity for a beautiful and eye-popping backsplash design. We’re seeing bold blues, beautiful patterns and textures and glamorous mirror designs.  The design selections are as exciting and adventurous as they’ve ever been.”

Stephanie Duerden, brand manager for Oceanside Glasstile

“Customers want quality, durability, low maintenance, and that is it something they won’t get bored of.”

Elisheva Neuman, director of marketing and PR, TileBar

KBB: What backsplash trends are most prevalent?

“Geometric-patterned tiles have gained popularity due to the encaustic [handmade cement] tile trend.  We are getting a lot of requests for this type of tile for the backsplash.”

DeeDee Gundberg, director – product development, ANN SACKS

“I’ve been seeing a great deal of texture and dimension in design; it has been very present at the trade shows. We have had dimension for many years now in our glass and continue to explore that concept in new ways.”

Cathy Aroz, In House Design + Merchandising Lead for Oceanside Glasstile

“We are seeing an emerging trend in multidimensional mosaics that combine varied shapes and colors into one design to create bold statements within the kitchen. As far as color goes, metallics are definitely on trend, and we see them coming to the forefront in ceramic, stone and glass collections in traditional tones like brass, bronze, silver and gold but also in colored metallics. Organic shapes, such as arabesque and teardrop in subtle color tones, are also popular for clients that want a softer visual look rather than squares or rectangles.”

Jared Becker, vice president of design and marketing at Walker Zanger

KBB: What innovations in backsplashes have you seen?

“I am seeing unique materials, such as synthetic leather made out of coconut shells for a backsplash. Backsplashes are also becoming fully compartmentalized where storage is being hidden behind panels that look like tile. We are also seeing technology take center stage on backsplashes with digital screens appearing on the backsplash, just like they are on mirrors.”

Feras Irikat, director of design and marketing, Lunada Bay Tile

“Consumers are clearing the way to showcase more of their backsplash selections by encouraging their kitchen designers to create spaces for appliances and other countertop dominators that remove them from sight.

Lauren Cherkas, president of retail at Artistic Tile

“People are really willing to take their kitchens to the next level in design. The bolder the better, and that really gives them the chance to have a kitchen that is uniquely theirs. We’re seeing more backsplashes that go all the way up to the ceiling as opposed to only in between cabinets and counters, and that really gives the backsplash a bigger canvas to speak with.”

Elisheva Neuman, director of marketing and PR, TileBar

KBB: What do you think is coming next?

“We’ll be seeing tiles that feel more handcrafted and less machine made.”

DeeDee Gundberg, director – product development, ANN SACKS

“Whenever I’m working with tile, I’m always looking for new perspectives I can show that are outside the typical to give it a fresh, unique look. I take patterns and textures and explore different combinations with color or finishes or add an unexpected layout.”

Cathy Aroz, In House Design + Merchandising Lead for Oceanside Glasstile

“Homeowners will continue to take risks with backsplashes, making them a focal point in the kitchen. We will see bold patterns and colors, as well as more texture being incorporated into both kitchens and bathrooms.”

Jared Becker, vice president of design and marketing at Walker Zanger

“Tile patterns continue to develop and astound me. We have some incredible new products in the works, and we’re looking forward to sharing our new developments when they’re ready to be unveiled. Expect patterns of combined materials with bigger and bolder designs.”

Lauren Cherkas, president of retail at Artistic Tile

“Porcelain is currently all the rage in flooring these days, because with porcelain you can get any look you desire – whether it be marble or foreign wood and even carpet for a low-maintenance and price-effective tile experience.  I think we will be seeing a lot of that large-format porcelain being used as backsplashes, specifically the marble look and hand-painted porcelain, as well as hand-painted ceramic, which is definitely back in style. The next really big thing to look out for is 3D tiles, which will be simple but with dimension.”

Elisheva Neuman, director of marketing and PR, TileBar