Backsplash For Dark Cabinets (19 Kitchen Ideas)

Here we share our backsplash for dark cabinets guide, including design ideas, suggestions for light countertops, ideal options, and if it should be darker or lighter than cabinetry.

Kitchen with white backsplash, gray cabinets, hood stove, and solid surface countertop

The kitchen is one of the first spaces in the home up for upgrades whenever the words renovations or upgrades are first mentioned. 

Interestingly, one of the challenges most homeowners encounter is how to pair the right backsplash with dark cabinets. It’s challenging but thankfully, it isn’t at all that impossible to have to figure out even if it happens to be a design you plan on doing yourself.

Dark kitchen cabinets are challenging. Even seasoned interior designers have to seriously pause and think about it to get it done right. Over the years, more and more homeowners have been seen to follow the trend of veering away from the basic all-white cabinets and opting for darker colors for the kitchen cabinets. 

It doesn’t matter if you want to go for something natural, such as a rich dark wood color, or if you’d like to go a bit more avant-garde and choose a painted color that matches the space better; picking the best color for your backsplash can really make all of the difference in the world. [toc]

Kitchen Backsplash Ideas For Dark Cabinets

Modern kitchen with black cabinets, white backsplash countertop, island, hanging dome shaped lights

A kitchen backsplash is a perfect place for you to inject a little bit of character and personality into the space. Dark cabinets can’t necessarily limit your options. 

A rule of thumb to keep in mind though is that you would want to go for something that would complement the rest of the kitchen, including the cabinets; instead of competing with it. 

Avoid trendy options as much as possible and try to go for the timeless and classic options instead. Go for something that you won’t get tired of in a matter of months. 

Dark cabinet colors matched with a light backsplash can be a powerful thing to have in the kitchen. This combination is something that creates balance and will keep you from being visually overwhelmed. – interior designer Giezl Clyde Ilustre.

To help you decide better on your kitchen backsplash, here are a few ideas to check out:

Go for a black and white theme

Black and white kitchen countertops, backsplash with sink in island

If you have beautiful black kitchen cabinets, a white backsplash definitely wouldn’t hurt at all. 

This can really pull off the drama brought in by the dark black cabinets and it can really brighten up the overall look of the kitchen. 

This is the perfect remedy for when you feel as if your dark cabinets are dragging the look of your cabinets down. 

Consider going for a honed finish on your backsplash

Spacious and bright kitchen, dark cabinets, with honed backsplash

Here’s the thing, opting for dark cabinets in the kitchen is a bold move. Painting the walls the same color can turn out to be an even bolder one. 

The trick is to make sure you keep the finish matte. This will ensure that it isn’t overall too flashy and that you get to keep the design classy and contemporary.

Get creative with subway tiles

Modern subway tiling

Using classic subway tiles can work with practically any design style, but when lighter materials are paired with darker cupboards it can act as a focal point and break up the dark feel. Try using contemporary reflective glass tiles that offer some reflectivity and help lighten the space, especially if it’s lacking in natural light.

Experiment with penny tiles

Classic kitchen with windows, grain cabinets, rectangular backsplash

Opting for dark cabinets to make a bold statement is easy. The challenge is bringing it to a whole other level by upping the ante and trying to achieve a chic design that’s next-level modern. 

You can achieve this with a high gloss penny tiles finish. It will reflect light and can pair well with the hardware in your kitchen area.

Go with a simple pattern for the backsplash

kitchen with wood paneled island, grey tile with white grout backsplash

You don’t always have to go outside of the box or reinvent the proverbial wheel whenever you’re scouting for ideas looking at the different types of kitchen backsplash.

It would help if you make it a point to keep it simple. Pairing dark kitchen cabinets with classic patterned tiles, a subway tile backsplash for example, can give you that little extra advantage. 

Patterned tiles can give your backsplash some extra flair without overdoing it or without overwhelming the entire décor. 

Play around with shiplap tiles

Kitchen with shiplap backsplash, gray cabinetry, rug and wood floor

One of the things homeowners worry about when it comes to dealing with dark cabinetry in the kitchen is that they can really compress the space and make it appear too closed in. 

The perfect solution to brighten and lighten things up would be to bring in vertical shiplaps that are bright white for the backsplash. 

The vertical direction will help give the illusion of a raised roof, and the bright white color will bring a great contrast against the dark cabinets in the kitchen.

Bring back the clock with some midcentury charm

Dark wooden stained kitchen cabinets and textured backsplash

If you’re into midcentury old-world charm, you might want to extend that out to your kitchen backsplash design. This is a beloved era. 

It’s well known for its natural elements such as wood, natural stone, and big open shelves. Adding warmth to an otherwise cold and austere-looking set of cabinets can really blend everything together design-wise.

Don’t be embarrassed to go pink

Pink tiles backsplash and wood countertop in kitchen

Your kitchen walls don’t always have to look and feel serious. Don’t be afraid to go down the unconventional route if you want that extra oomph for your kitchen décor. 

If it’s dark cabinets that you have to deal with, it certainly wouldn’t hurt you to marry them with some pink tiles for your backsplash. 

Go with the kind of pink that’s soft and a bit more on the neutral side. It will make your kitchen feel sunnier, and when paired with dark cabinets, it won’t end up looking and feeling as feminine as you would probably think.

Marble can make an impressive statement

Modern kitchen with black cabinets marble backsplash center island round table chair

Marble is a choice that you can’t really go wrong with and it’s an option that’s technically classic all across the board. If you’re wondering what you would like to pair up with your dark kitchen cabinetry. 

Understandably, natural stones of any kind can be pricey, but what you can rest assured of is that they are durable and that they never go out of style. 

So yes, they can stretch your budget out a little bit, but marble of any kind will look exceptional on dark shades of black, green, red, gray, or any type of dark wood finish, for that matter.

Explore the possibility of a cork backsplash

Corkboard texture backsplash

There certainly isn’t anything wrong with traditional backsplash materials such as natural stone or ceramic tiles but every now and then, an untraditional material such as cork could be an interesting element for you to put in the mix. 

It initially sounds like a weird combination with dark-colored cabinets, but to see really is to believe. If you aren’t all that sold on the combination just yet, perhaps you could check out a mock-up to see how visually striking it could be.

Go tone on-tone

kitchen with black cabinets with underlighting and stone slab backsplash

If you happen to have a favorite color, it certainly won’t hurt if you go all out and opt for that same color for your backsplash as well. Just go for a different shade or tone. 

Rich dark colors such as blue could be just the focal point you’ve been looking for to really up your kitchen décor game.

Invite copper to the party

Dark kitchen cabinetry paired with copper backsplash small dining area

Something metallic for the backsplash paired along with dark cabinets will work beautifully together. 

This is a bit more on the high-end options of backsplash materials, but there’s just something special about copper that you ought to really take into consideration. 

It comes with an old-world charm and earns a bit of patina over time, meaning copper will only look better as it ages.

Backsplash Ideas For Dark Cabinetry And Light Countertops

Kitchen with herringbone backsplash, quartz countertop and gray cabinetry

One of the kitchen aesthetics that never really goes out of style is dark cabinets paired with light countertops. 

The light countertops are perfect for balancing the striking and, at times, heavy looks of the dark cabinets. 

It may be difficult to figure out which material to go for to bring these two big elements in, but once you figure out what kind of look you’re going for in the first place, things can be a little easier. 

Matching backsplash and countertops

Kitchen with dark hued cabinets and stone tiles for backsplash

Let’s start with the easiest one. Whatever material you have for your light countertop, try to match it and use the same material for your backsplash as well. 

A matching countertop and backsplash will bring in a little more uniformity to your kitchen look and will be perfect in balancing off that striking contrast.

Go for backsplash texture

Wood cabinetry and floors, tiled kitchen mosaic backsplash and island with seating

Play around with different types of materials from textured and embossed tiles, to bricks, to penny mosaic tiles, and so much more. 

Smooth dark cabinets and light countertops may look different, but the glossy and smooth appeal can get out really quickly if there isn’t anything to break it up in between. A textured backsplash can be the perfect midpoint.

Best Backsplash Color For Dark Cabinetry

Kitchen with dark cupboards, tiled flooring, glass backsplash and breakfast bar peninsula

If you want to save up a lot of time and just get right to the best option possible for your dark cabinets, a white backsplash should just get the trick done. 

It looks great with dark cabinets of any shade, color, or texture, and it can bring in a really eye-catching look. 

It’s a classic and it’s not exactly the most creative idea out there, but it works, it looks great, and it’s easily available and within cost most times. An easy way to go for this idea is to use a light color quartz backsplash.

Should Backsplash Be Lighter Or Darker Than Cabinets?

Cabinets in black with gray stone wall backsplash

There’s no rule set in stone when trying to decide whether your backsplash should be lighter or darker than your kitchen cabinets. The only thing you need to pay attention to is that your kitchen’s backdrop should fit in with the rest of the colors in your kitchen.  

You also need to consider your kitchen size. For example, if you have dark kitchen cabinets, it might also be nice to consider a dark backsplash. 

However, you need to consider that dark on dark might be too heavy or too dark. In the same way, light backsplashes might end up making light cabinets look too bland as well. 

It all boils down to balance. There really isn’t any existing hard rule to deciding whether the kitchen’s backsplash should be lighter or darker compared to the cabinets. 

One important thing to remember is that your backsplashes should contain some colors that you would like to represent best in your kitchen.

See more related content in our article about the different metal kitchen backsplash ideas on this page.

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