A kitchen backsplash adds a somewhat permanent decorative element to the room; since glass tiles are set in place with a strong adhesive, there’s no changing your mind a few weeks after installation, unless you want to redo the entire project. Once you’ve settled upon a color scheme and a design idea, arranging and rearranging the loose tiles on a table allows you to decide if the colors and layout are right for you.

Ombre and Rainbows

If your kitchen’s decor plays off one main shade, such as a light green, an ombre or fade backsplash enhances the look while accenting it with closely related hues. All tiles used include your focal or main color, plus several shades lighter and darker of that same hue. Start with either dark or light on one side, or the top or bottom, then work your way lighter or darker across, up or down the backsplash. For one long fade, use multiple tiles of the same shade before changing colors for a series of short fades, use one or two tiles of each color, then work your way back through the pattern in reverse. A rainbow effect works in the same way, but uses most of the colors of the rainbow, resulting in a vivid, cheery backsplash.

Borders and Blocks

A backsplash that covers a lot of area allows room for more variations in tile patterns without looking “busy.” For instance, create a border of a copper foil-backed glass tile several inches into your main tile layout, creating a frame of sorts for a design within. Repeat the original tile color within the frame, then opt for a completely different tile: larger glass tiles in grass green, arranged in a diamond shape; a large, vintage Moroccan tile as a central focal point, surrounded by small glass tiles playing off the central tile’s colors. Instead of one large frame of color, use the frame color to create random squares or frames within the backsplash design, or even interlocking squares.

Waves of Grain

While a wavy pattern seems right at home in a bathroom or spa area, it also works well for a kitchen backsplash. Create the appearance of pixel-style waves using small glass tiles of varying “grain” colors — either in the tan, yellow and brown range, or in shades of green and yellow. The end result is reminiscent of a farm field upon rolling hills. For a spicy theme, use the same technique with deep hot pepper reds and turmeric or curry yellows. Add a hand painted tile of a hot pepper or grain of wheat, if you like, for a focal point.

Subdued Chevrons

A chevron pattern, which looks a bit like inverted V’s, gives a backsplash a bit of a modern vibe. While this pattern appears on wallpapers and fabrics, sometimes in bold color variations, using subtle color variations gives the backsplash a more subdued effect . The chevron and background tile colors are similar, so the pattern becomes more noticeable the farther away the viewpoint.

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