Monday, October 18, 2010

Kitchen Backsplash

I had a dilemma and I solved it for $25.00, but I've probably committed a design faux pas. I'm confident enough with my ideas to say, "I like it, therefore it's fine." I'm single, and there's no approval committee, which means that I live with my mistakes and my victories. But...I'm thinkin' I made a mistake!

The wall space above my cooktop and below the microwave is 17" tall, and it's pretty wide...extending a few feet to cabinets on the right, then making another right turn--more cabinets and wall... and a few feet to a short wall and granite "peninsula" on the left. I want to add a backsplash, because once the pots and pans get going, grease spatters onto the wall, and it doesn't wash off the flat paint. If I chose tile, it would be too much ceramic. There is no obvious "end point" on the left side...and it would look awkward to have tile or metal end at 17" and nothing on the wall above.

I was thinking of getting sheet metal and cutting it to size, maybe stainless steel in a quilted diamond pattern. An internet search turned up some interesting ideas, from mat tile to magnetic board. Most sheet metal stock panels were 30" x 30" and around $150.00.

There are also "tile size" self stick, thin metal sheets that you can apply in a subway, herringbone or another pattern of your choosing. Good idea, but tin snips, end points and math are involved, and the latter is not my forte. Dividing fractions--eek! I admit my shortcomings.

I headed to Home Depot for mulch and stuff, and came upon a "Weekend Project" kitchen backsplash display. Cue the angels singing! I found "decorative thermoplastic" panels 18" x 24" for $19.95 each and a roll of heavy duty double sided tape. You can use contractor's adhesive for a larger job, but why get all goopy for a small project?

The panels come in various designs and colors...champagne, bronze, copper, and this lifelike brushed stainless steel! Once home, I searched for kitchen backsplashes at and the panels do come in the quilted diamond pattern via online, but I got this one to try and now I know I can easily switch it out.

Flip the panel over and mark the area you need to cut, and for electrical outlets, if applicable. Glad I got my utility scissors sharpened last week after 25 years of use! The acrylic cuts very easily.

I decided to use one panel and aim for the the middle of the cooktop, and the middle of the microwave. Since the back of the panel is not flat, I used 7 strips of heavy duty double sided tape, twice the recommended amount. I marked off the left, center and right ends of the panel with green painters tape. Place the tape, and smooth out any air bubbles. Peel off the white backing, and push the panel up against the tape.

Am I crazy, or does this look ok? Click on the photo to enlarge.  If I were to add panels to the right, I'd be fine because I saw corner pieces in the display. At the far left, there would be an unfinished edge on the top of the panel on the wall to the left of the cabinet. If I took it to the left edge of the cabinet, there'd be an unfinished edge down the left side. Now that I've lived with it for a few hours, it looks half-done. I'll see if Home Depot sells borders for the top and side. I need your advice!

Readers, THANK YOU for your input!! I had some anonymous followers weigh in, as well as friends who wrote to my e-mail, not wanting their comments posted. The consensus was to 'backsplash' the entire area under the microwave, between the 2 cabinets. I got one more panel, repositioned the original panel and cut a strip on the right side to fill in. Two pieces of molding for the edges, and vwah-lah. Done.

Update May 2011: Or, was I done? See the July 19, 2011 post entitled "Counterintuitive" for the answer...


  1. Hi Dale, I noticed you mention your blog on FB and thought hey let me check up on YOU... as for the backsplash yes its too small have it go and meet both cabinets or rather the length of the microwave. Or would that be too small like not a full square on each side? hmmm perhaps use two border pieces around it? ahh i love these dilemmas!

  2. KP--Thanks for your input. I agree! I was looking at it this morning and it's definitely too small! That pressed tin pattern would be too busy, so I'm leaning toward ordering 5 panels of the quilted diamond "stainless steel" and doing the length of the stove-side wall, it's between 15" and 17" across. I'll see if they have a border for the left side...I think i need to end it at the edge of the left cabinet! It's worth spending 100 bucks.

  3. I think you need to do the whole area. I like the look though.

  4. KP and Tom--The consensus is building, from anonymous posters too...and I'll be re-doing this project. Where to end on the left side is still the question. I'll get there!

  5. Looks great now -- like it wider! ... I've thought about doing this in my apartment. Your Little Italy Book Club Alum J

  6. Hi KP - I've been thinking about using these sheets too for my kitchen backsplash. Are they easy to cut, and if so, what did you use to accomplish this. BTW it looks great but my opinion would be to do the entire wall from left to right. GREAT JOB.


    1. MLR--Thanks for your comment. You're 100% right--the quick fix was too I went ahead and had the entire wall tiled by Home Depot. I will add a photo! If you do use the sheets, they are very easy to cut and I used the double sided tape that was sold near the display. There are also nice stainless steel tiles that are peel and stick. Good luck with your project! I've been stalled on blogging..and I have about 15 new posts to share in the next few weeks. Work got in the way...