Before I reveal my plans for a mini kitchen backsplash, can I take a short stroll down memory lane?

At this time last year, Jim, Leo and I were hunkering down and waiting for the Blizzard of 2011 to hit us. Today it was 44 degrees and sunny. What a difference a year makes, huh?

Anyway, back to the backsplash

In order to give the wall a little glitz (and food splatter protection) I decided the Kitchen Project would include a small backsplash above the cook top.

I didn’t want the backsplash to be too flashy, since the inspiration photo I based the Kitchen Project off of was so calming and light. I thought about using a glass tile that was basically the same color as the cabinets, but it just seemed to blend in too much. Then I thought about using white tiles, but those also didn’t really do much for me. Then I went to the Home Depot to see what they had and found these…

Ohhhh it is so pretty! It is called light brown iridescent glass tile, but it almost looks like copper

The tiles that look more clear actually have a greenish tint to them that is very similar to the wall color. At first I was worried that the “copper” tile wouldn’t work next to the stainless steel hood and stove top, but after looking at it, I think they will look great together…

It is hard to tell in these photos (also because the tile is still in it’s packaging) but I think the color of the tile ties in well with the wood floor and trim. (Which helps tie the design together since I am not painting my trim white like my inspiration photo).

At 4.99 per square foot, this is a very budget friendly backsplash (I only needed 6 square feet!).

Now my question is, what color grout do I use? Classic white or some sort of tan?

What do you think? Do you like the backsplash tile I picked out? Do you think it will work well in the kitchen? What color grout would you use?



  1. I like the tile itself but the style doesn’t seem quite right for the kitchen – they are a little too contemporary. I really how the inspiration kitchen looks really bright and clean under the cabinets so I’d lean towards white tiles.

    • Thanks for the input Nikki. I was considering white but I thought that might be too plain. What I really like are the “piano key” tiles that are long and skinny, but I couldn’t find any that I liked for the backsplash in my kitchen…

  2. I’m not keen on the tiles and have to agree with Nikki above. They seem too contemporary. What is that in the inspiration photo? Is it a tin backsplash? I think that looks great. Maybe not the easiest to clean, but it looks good. What about a subway tile in white?

    • Diana, I think the inspiration photo doesn’t have a backsplash of any type. Looks like just plain wall. I thought about subway tile as well, but was worried it would be too plain. I did also see a few interesting shapes of white tile (triangles, odd shapes) but wondered if that didn’t really fit with the style of the house…this backsplash is a difficult one to pick!

  3. I do agree that it is a bit flashy, a bit trendy. IMO a solid sheet of stainless would look great here.

    an example:

    The kitchen is very sleek looking the way it is, with the blue cabinets and the stainless cook top and vent. I think the copper-ness would compete with that. I say get everything set up (put back together) and keep looking. Live with the tile sample there a week or 2 before you commit to it. Just me 2 cents, ultimately do what makes you happy and smile…. you have to see it everyday 🙂

    • Thanks Danielle,

      I am waiting to make my final decision until the whole kitchen is put back together and all the doors are in place. Ironically, there was a piece of stainless steel riveted to the wall under the old microwave. My worry with putting stainless there again is that it would be too much stainless with the range and cook top. I guess I want the backsplash to “pop” a little bit from the rest of the kitchen…it is proving hard to figure out how though!

      I’m sure I will figure it out eventually! Thanks for your two cents!

  4. I like the tile you picked, especially from the angle that shows the pink family room. It picks up some pink in the tiles and is a good contrast. I also like the bit of pink and how it looks with the red accents. Just me though…

    • Thanks Nicole.

      I like that it is a bit of contrast without being too much. In my last kitchen I had a red glass tile backsplash throughout the whole kitchen, and it was great for that place, but for this house, I want something that both blends, but still has that WOW factor. I will note that the original “hidden hinges” on my cabinets are copper colored, so there would be little bits of copper peeking out from the cabinet doors all around the kitchen as well. Decisions Decisions!

  5. I like it, Kate. It does have a more contemporary feel, but I don’t see that as a problem. Do you like it with the red accessories? I think it looks fine with the teapot in the photo.

    My one suggestion would be to take it off the cardboard backing that’s making it look more brown, and figure out what color the mastic would be. Try putting those colors (if there’s more than white) behind the tiles and see what it looks like. I’ve noticed that the glass tiles look really different installed because of the mastic and the grout.

    • Kristal,

      Good Idea about taking it off the cardboard backing. I would use white mastic, so I should be looking at it with white paper or something behind it.

      I know it feels more contemporary, but I do like a mix of retro and contemporary throughout my house…maybe this is a good thing for the kitchen as well…

      I’m working on some Photoshop mock ups that I will post later…

  6. I was surprised how much I liked it the copper works and the glass is lovely. I’d be curious to see how it looked with a greenish gray grout as it could give the copper that burnished feel and make for less noticeable dirt. I think it really works to tie things together in a way the SS wouldn’t. What I keep wanting to fix is the centering as the pass through keeps making things seem off balance and I would worry putting tile only on the one side might make this more obvious. Do you think it would be crazy to run it under all the cupboards?

    • Thanks Veronica,

      Greenish gray grout is a possibility. I am planning on painting the doors of the pass through the same color as the wall, so hopefully they will blend in and you won’t notice it as much. It is a possible to do the entire under cupboard space, but my intention was to highlight the stove area with the backsplash. I’m thinking maybe once that is up and the pass through doors are painted, the off center thing will be a non issue, but we will see!

  7. I like the tile, especially seeing how it pulls the paint color (terrific!) and the wood together, plus it’s attractive tile in its own right. I agree about white grout. Really enjoying your renovation updates. Still digging your bathroom redo and how perfect that little green seagull painting is for that room!

  8. I love the tiles and the color! I think most designers try to marry retro with contemporary more and more these days so you would be right in line with that. However, if you really feel it’s too contemporary, you might see if you can find mini subway tiles in the same color so it’s less modern. Most of the glass tiles made are available in either the squares or the mini subway tiles if you look further or special order. My vote for grout color is also white to tie in the countertops.

    • Thanks Molly!

      I try to do a good mix of retro and modern here at the Retro Ranch Revamp. I like the tiles, but I started second guessing my decision after I got a few comments. I did look at several mini subway glass tiles, but none of them had that little bit of “pop” that I was looking for. Thanks for your two cents on grout colors! I think I will probably go with white!

  9. You can grout over grout if you dont like the color. Suggestion: buy an extra sheet and cut up into quarter sheets. Glue down on scrap board. Grout each one with color possibilities. Grout is cheap if you buy the smallest container or go to a place that sells Leftover materials from remodelers or tile stores. Tile stores may have opened bags they can give you. Dont use any open bags in final backsplash though. Or grout all in white and then paint over grout with acrylic paint thinned down. You can wipe the paint offthe tile easily. This will give you an idea of how different grout colors will look. Andlast but not least, scan your tiles, import to photoshop, color the grout lines, print out to a color printer or xerox.
    Im a mosaic artist and also a midcentury ranch remodeler. is a good source for tile too. Feel feee to emailmewith questions.

    • Wow Carrie, you really know your tile!

      Thanks for the ideas! Being a graphic designer, I use Photoshop a lot to “mock up” my projects so I can get a better idea of how they will turn out. I will have to check out 🙂

  10. Hi Kate,
    this is so very cool!!!!!! You must be very proud of how it turned out. It looks fabulous !!!! I would bet that you are very happy and pleased with the end product. Congrats and thanks so much for sharing. (Well, your proud mama shared)

  11. i bought the same tile for my shower. I have the same questions with what grout to use? what did you end up with ? can you post a pic? this would help so much ! thanks !

    • Hi Roxy,
      I can’t remember exactly what grout I used. I think it was an unsanded epoxy type grout — I used white. It came in small containers that you mix with water to make the grout. I would ask at your local tile or home improvement store, they should be able to direct you to the correct type of grout to use for your tile job. Good luck!

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