Decorative Tiles: Full Wall Feature vs A Backsplash

Decorative Tiles: Full Wall Feature vs A Backsplash

What are the differences, and which option suits best for you? Here, Decobella breakdowns what you need to know about tiled wall features and backsplashes to help you create the ultimate feel-good space.

The wall space above the cooking counter is a backsplash, and having it tiled, especially behind the stove, is not something new. For centuries, tiles or mosaics have embellished this prominent space in kitchens and bathrooms. The same can be said for bathrooms. A backsplash here would classify as the area above the vanity or basin.

Enya aqua
Riviera Rose Pink
Faenza N

Why Opt for a Backsplash?

A ‘backsplash’ might be thought to serve aesthetic purposes primarily, but on the contrary, there are a few more important reasons:

  • Scratch resistance: Think about the utensils, pots and pans that scratch walls. When tiling, visibility is drastically reduced.
  • Stains: As with scratches, cleaning a glazed tile is much easier than repainting a backsplash periodically.
  • Hygienic: Tiles are resistant to bacterial growth and, because of their low water absorption, microorganisms, mould, etc., are less likely to grow there. While some would go over the top and tile their entire kitchen in a single square or subway tile, if not planned properly, the end result may be disappointing.

Remember Quality Over Quantity

Before comparing a backsplash with a fully tiled wall, we should mention that it is better to have a quality luxury tile installed on the backsplash than an inexpensive plain tile installed on all the walls. Both instances enjoy many benefits, and tiling a backsplash is better than tiling nothing.

White Subway Tiles
Lanse Gold Picket Fence

Considerations when installing a backsplash in a confined space

There are limitations to small surface dimensions for backsplashes in kitchens, especially in kitchens where an oven hob or hob extension is situated. 

  • Consider using small-sized tiles: The most suitable option is to use small subway tiles, squares, or mosaics. The aesthetic appeal looks better than medium to large wall tiles. Using smaller tiles also means you don’t have to cut them to fit the space.
  • Contrast adds interest: When using a small backsplash (1m²), try to use colours that contrast or compliment the central colour theme. While colour matching in the same hue is possible, it is often difficult to achieve a desirable finish. If you still want to match the colour of the tile to the colour of the walls, a dark grout on light shades could be sufficient in contrast. This method applies to dark tiles with light grout, too. 
  • Make sure the product is suitable: Always opt for porcelain or a glazed ceramic behind stove surfaces. Unglazed tiles or marble mosaics (tumbled) is not a suitable option. Both will tarnish in a brief time span. In addition, maintenance is more intense.

Fully Tiled Feature Walls

When you tile your entire kitchen or bathroom, you take advantage of all the benefits of backsplash installation and make it even better.


Freedom of Layouts and Designs

As you have a larger area, you have a greater variety of products at your disposal. The tiles range from diamond-shaped pattern-specific tiles to marble tiles that complement the kitchen island or countertop.

Caletta blue + Country white
Dimsey Ivory fully wrapped
Mixed Rombo

Capability to Tile According to the Latest Trends

One popular option is to opt for the partial tiling trend AKA the ‘incomplete look’. With this look, one sees an incomplete wall feature, which is supposed to leave one thinking. It is almost a work of art.

Arrow Blue – fade flat (special import)
Heritage Blue – matt staggered partial

Better Flexibility

There is more room to play with, literally. Think: extra colours, textures, sizes, and shapes and lastly, design layouts. A wholly tiled wall surface also gives you the flexibility to match the interior decor, fixtures, or accessories in your space.

Small Bathrooms Or Kitchens

Small-sized bathrooms or kitchens without much natural light can easily be seen as dull or unbalanced spaces. By adding the correct colour and texture will tiles (something you can struggle to find with paint), you’ll be able to liven up the space quite a bit. Think satin matt glazed subway tiles, which aren’t overbearing, but aren’t dull either.

The Argile collection, landing soon, is a good example:


Using Two Different Tiles More Cohesively

It’s nearly impossible to use two tiles on one backsplash and even if so, the options are extremely limited. On the other hand, if you have your walls fully tiled, a suited floor tile can perfect your space, beautifully.

A general rule of thumb would be to use colours are a reference point. Either complimentary, contrasting or harmonious colour matching needs to follow suit.

Manacor Blue Reef
The bold coloured tiles are effective in this space. The white break creates harmony between the wall and the pattern floor tiles.

Wall Surfaces and Playing with Grout Colours

Dark grout makes a statement on white or neutral tiles because it adds contrast. When tiling only the backsplash, the impact of this contrast is limited. Imagine a fully tiled bathroom with white subway tiles and dark grout lines. Beautiful!

Riviera Blanco
The dark-grey grout accentuates the white gloss tile and the rose pink hue of the space.
Rombo Grey Veticar and Metropolitan Grey
Matching wall paint grout, which creates a symbiosis between the wall, the tile, and the incomplete design.

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