If installing a traditional tile backsplash feels a little out of your DIY league, putting up one made from a single sheet of solid surface material may just be your saving grace. Shaping, cutting, and gluing up this inexpensive stock material-available from companies such as Swanstone, which makes the beadboard backsplash shown here, in a variety of colors and patterns-is a weekend project most amateurs can conquer with confidence. Check out our Step-by-Step breakdown in How to Install a Solid-Surface Backsplash.
Use graphic encaustic cement floor tiles, such as these Moroccan imports, on the wall. The thick handmade squares fit together like puzzle pieces to form colorful medallions. Similar to shown: 8-by-8-inch tiles in the Meilla pattern, $7.25 each; villalagoontile.com
Stacked subway tile
Lining up tiles horizontally in parallel columns creates a polished, contemporary look. Similar to shown: Rittenhouse Square tile in Matte Black, $1.70 per square foot; daltile.com
Framed focal point
Above a sink or a cooktop, use border pieces to set off a smaller field of different tile. For this all-white subway-tile backsplash, a floral border surrounds square tile laid in a diamond pattern, helping draw the eye to the sink's period-style fixtures. Check out All About Subway Tile for dozens of kitchen and bath design ideas.
Putting in protection for the wall behind your cooktop doesn't have to take your kitchen out of commission. ACP's Aspect peel-and-stick metallic tiles don't need grouting-put them up in an afternoon, make dinner when you're done. In three colors, about $20 per square foot; aspectideas.com
Use a few overstock or salvaged ceramic tiles in a fun color, such as these red squares turned on point, to punch up an inexpensive all-white backsplash. Find small quantities of matching tiles for as little as 5 cents each at Habitat for Humanity ReStore outlets.
Tin ceiling tiles on the wall
Six-inch patterns fit nicely in the 18-inch swath between upper and lower cabinets. Materials such as stainless steel or copper, or a factory finish such as powder-coat paint, stand up to water and heat. Learn more in All About Tin Ceiling Tiles.