Tile Backsplash Layout
Learn the best approach for laying out a tile backsplash
No two tile backsplash projects will lay out the same. Aside from the fact that tiles vary widely in size and shape, the height of the backsplash, placement of electrical outlets, whether there is a window or not, and how the tile will terminate at either end of a run are all considerations. There’s no right or wrong way to approach a layout, and there are absolutely always trade-offs, which is why I approach each job with a list of priorities, and work from there.
For a subway-tile backsplash like this one, my first priority is to always maintain the running bond pattern. I also like to start with a full tile at the countertop, and let the uppermost row of tiles fall as it will, cutting the pieces to fit against the bottom of the wall cabinets. From there, the layout is a bit more trial and error.
There’s no universal starting point for the layout, so I plan horizontal and vertical layouts around focal points, such as a range hood, inside corner, or any highly visible area. If the kitchen layout includes inside corners, I prefer to carry the layout from one wall to the other without deviating from the running bond pattern.
The key is to do your best to avoid narrow slivers of tile butting up against cabinetry or trim, but accept that they may be unavoidable in certain situations, and that’s OK.
For mosaic tile accents it’s more about symmetry than anything else. Don’t let the size of the mosaic be dictated just by the space it’s going into, but also by the tile itself. The tiles closest to the edge of the mosaic should be either full, or half—anything more or less than half looks like a mistake.