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Standard vs. Full Backsplash: Which is More Popular?

By: Carrie on Jun 2, 2015

When you sit down with your kitchen designer, one of the decisions you'll ponder is which type of backsplash to install: standard or full? After casually lookingthrough pictures of our own customers' kitchens, we've found that full backsplashesappear to be more popular than standard backsplashes by a minimal margin.

Standard vs. Full Backsplash: Which to Choose For Your Kitchen Remodel?

There are pros and cons to each and so, in truth, it's your own style and preference that should drive whether or not your kitchen boasts a standard or full backsplash.

FYI: a standard backsplash measures 4-inches from the countertop surface. In the days of the popular 4.5 kitchen tile (circa 1980-1990) the backsplash was typically one-tile high, topped with a rounded trim piece. Now, it's usually made from a 4-inch high strip of whatever slab material you choose (quartz, granite, quartzite, etc.) or from a tile that complements your slab choice. A full backsplash continues up the wall as high as you like, typically to the bottom of the upper-cabinet frame.

Here are some of the pros and cons of each style of backsplash:

Advantages to a standard backsplash

standard backsplash


The more materials you use, the higher your costs. So, standard backsplashes are big cost savers, especially when you are working with a high-priced countertop material and/or are having a hard time finding tiles that you like to match it.


Along the same vein, the fewer materials used, the less resources are used for your kitchen. Homeowners working to design an eco-friendly kitchen will often pass on the extended backsplash in the idea that less-is-more.

Color flexibility

No matter how timeless your kitchen design may be, tastes are bound to change. A standard backsplash allows more flexibility for changes in color and style between the top of your backsplash and your cabinets or ceiling. You can change paint colors or wallpaper accents along the way, preventing the urge to rip out your backsplash and start anew.

Double options

You're not locked-in to the 4-inch rule. You have the ability to extend the backsplash a little higher (6- or 8-inches looks great), and you can always install a full backsplash in the places it matters most - like behind the stovetop - while leaving it standard height elsewhere.

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Advantages to a Full Backsplash

full backsplash

Clean look

A full backsplash has a very clean and tidy look. It "ties the room together" as they say and creates a uniform transition from cabinet to cabinet and everything (literally) in between.

Stunning accents

Homeowners often use full backsplashes to add eye-catching pop or accent to their kitchen space, using fancy tile work or bold accent colors that add depth and dimension to the finished product. Interchangeable backsplashes allow more design flexibility over time.

kitchen backsplash

High-power protection

First and foremost, backsplashes offer a protective layer, preventing walls from moisture damage and staining - particularly behind the stovetop. If you cook regularly, consider using a full-height splash in that area.

Check in with Kitchen Magic to learn more about current kitchen design trends.

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Topics: Backsplash

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