One might think a kitchen backsplash would make for an easy design decision, but the truth is that choice can be less than easy.

Vendors now offer a nearly endless selection of gorgeous kitchen tiles and other backsplash materials made of quarried stone, ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, concrete and other substances — some matte, some glossy, some smooth, some textured and some patterned. And because they need only hold up to incidental heat and moisture, the tiles for your backsplash need not be as durable as floor tiles.

Once you choose your material, of course, you need to also step up and select your tile size, tile shape, grout color and layout pattern. That calls for an overall vision of how your tiles will complement your cabinetry, countertops, appliances and flooring once installed. For example, you may wish to avoid a dramatic design if the rest of your kitchen is also dramatic, but if the other elements are minimalist in design you might make your backsplash a focal point. Of course, you’ll also want to consider which styles will be easy to clean and which colors and textures are likely to stand the test of time.

“Having a tough time deciding among tiles? Live with them for a while,” advises a recent article on “Tape color and tile samples to the walls to see what they look like throughout the day as natural light changes.” The article also recommends choosing one main color and two accent colors for your kitchen design, then reflecting one accent color in the backsplash.

Here are some other ideas for eye-catching backsplash looks based on current trends.

  • Tile extending from counters to ceilings. Instead of wall cabinetry, many homeowners are choosing open shelving or bigger windows combined with ceiling-height tile. “That will unite all aspects of the space, and brighten up the space with the reflective qualities of the tile itself,” advises one article from Sebring Design Build.
  • Marble slabs. For dramatic effect and to avoid having to clean grout, some are installing natural stone slabs in sizes of 4’ by 8’ or larger.
  • Larger subway tiles. The sleek, easy-to-clean rectangular pieces have been popular for years, but recent versions are as large as 4?x 8? or 4?x 12”. Homeowners like the clean, classic, spacious look. A variety of colors and finishes are available, with white a popular choice for those seeking urban appeal.
  • Metallic finishes. These go beautifully with industrial-influenced design, add reflected light to your kitchen and come in a wide variety of colors, finishes and treatments. Options include sheets of metal or metal accent pieces installed in and around other materials.
  • 3D shapes. You may decide on geometrically shaped tiles that cleverly extend a bit from the wall instead of laying flat.
  • River rock. The sky is the limit when it comes to the size, color, shape and authenticity of the stones themselves, and many now come in the form of tiles and sheets.
  • Interesting patterns or graphics. Many homeowners opt to lay out tiles in chevron, stacked column, herringbone, checkerboard or fish scale patterns to offset the plainness of neutral-colored natural stone countertops, according to Sebring. Others choose large-scale designs that must be matched seam-for-seam like wallpaper.
  • Wood. Though it must be properly finished to withstand the heat and moisture from cooking and appliances, wood in the form of cladding, shiplap, beadboard, wainscoting or a mosaic is another possibility, according to Sebring. You may even wish to use salvaged wood that imparts some sentimental meaning to you.

Talk to the specialists at Titus Contracting for more information on your many backsplash options and how they can transform your kitchen into a beautiful reflection of your tastes.