Kitchen Design Ideas: Countertop and Tile Backsplash Colors That Work Together

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Interior Design Kitchen Trends

Granite Countertops and Tile Backsplash Ideas


We were recently asked this interior design question, through "Ask Andrea": 

"I am working on my kitchen. The cabinets will be a medium beige stain and the floor will be made of cream color porcelain tiles. I'm not sure what color granite for the countertop and what kind of design for the backsplash that will go with the cabinets and the floor tile."

And here's what Stanton Homes' on staff interior design expert Andrea recommends:

Kitchen Cabinet Ideas | New Home Kitchen Design | Kitchen Cabinet Trends 2011

First of all, I am going to make the assumption that what you mean by the description "medium beige stain" is that your cabinets will be a light wood tone-- perhaps even a light maple, seeing as light oak tends to look more golden than beige.

With this shade of cabinet and cream colored porcelain tiles you have a very neutral color palette so I have three different suggestions for you depending on what better suits your taste and what will flow better with the rest of your home.

However, starting with this neutral color palette, I can picture more combinations than I am suggesting because you have so far done an excellent job at creating a space that will allow for quite a bit of flexibility in design.


1. Modern Style with Warm Tones

A modern look in the warm tones could be created with a rich Santa Fe Brown or Suede Brown granite in combination with a coffee glass mosaic used for the entire back splash or in one large section of the back splash such as the range or cook top area, in combination with large rectangular tiles in a bark color.

There are two concepts here that makes this look more modern: first of all it is somewhat monochromatic, and secondly, it introduces a much less traditional look in back splashes by creating a large section of mosaics to add shine and glamor in combination with the less commonly seen use of very large tiles.

This is actually a very easy look to create and yet it is new and different enough that it will create a lot of visual interest. 

2. Modern Style with Cool Tones

Kitchen Tile Backsplash | Custom Home Kitchen Styles | Modern Kitchen Design Ideas


A second modern look but in the cooler tones could be created with a Kashmir White granite (warm and cool tones of gray with specs of white and garnets) used in combination with a charcoal gray vertical glass mosaic.

Again, this combination is somewhat monochromatic (especially when teamed up with stainless steel appliances), and also makes use of a less traditional back splash design: a vertical glass mosaic.

If you feel your kitchen would benefit from the use of some vertical lines to draw your eye upwards, then a vertical glass tile is a good way to go.

Hint: use a contrasting grout color such as one that will pick up the shade of your cabinets or walls, as this will emphasize the vertical pattern much more than a grout color that matches the tile color.


3. Traditional Style "New Venetial Gold Original"

The third look I am suggesting is definitely on the "traditional" side and again, depending on your taste and the rest of your home, you may feel that this idea is more suitable.

Select a "New Venetian Gold Original" granite (there are now many shades of new Venetian Gold" so the word "original" is important here) and use this with a Durango Beige natural tumbled stone tile in either a 4 x 4 or a 3 x 6 size.

With the 4 x 4, you can install this on the diagonal throughout the back splash and for an accent in the cooktop/range area, use a Noce tumbled stone, or some 2 x 2 glass medallions in a rich brown.

For the 3 x 6, simply install in a brick pattern and really no accent is necessary.

I do recommend using a combination sealer/enhancer on the stone rather than just a sealer. The enhancer brings out depth of color naturally occurring in the stone.

Under Cabinet Lighting

Under Cabinet Lighting | New Home Kitchen Design | Kitchen Cabinet Trends 2011


Finally, in all cases, I would recommend installing Xenon (or similar) under cabinet lighting.

Under cabinet lighting will show off the natural beauty of all of the colors found in your granite, it will also highlight  what you have invested in both the granite and the tile back splash, it creates a great evening look for entertaining as you can have the under cabinet lighting on without the overhead lighting in your ceiling, and last but not least, it is a wonderful and very helpful task light while cooking.

Once you experience the difference you will wonder how you ever got along with out it.

Finally, you will find yourself using your entire counter since now the area under the shadow of the wall cabinets is lit up--its as though suddenly you have twice the space you thought you had!



Do you have interior design questions? Want to know  the hottest 2012 design trends for your Raleigh new home?

Then "Ask Andrea," on-staff interior design expert for Raleigh new home builder Stanton Homes.


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Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

When my wife and I remodeled our kitchen, this was probably the toughest part of the project - deciding what backsplash goes with the countertop. Nice post here Penny.


Jun 20, 2011 03:34 AM #1
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Penny: Great suggestions. I am going to subscribe to your blog, see what other excellent ideas you come up with.

Jun 20, 2011 03:42 AM #2
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Penny I am impressed with the quality of posts you present time after time.  It sounds like you have done this for a while.  The depth of information you hand out definately would give folks who choose to build a basis for moving forward.  Well done!  I suggested.

Jun 20, 2011 03:42 AM #3
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Tom - our on-staff interior designer does a fabulous job!  Andrea works so hard to find just the right feel for every room in the home.

Hella - thanks very much! 

Evelyn - thank you for the suggestion!  We really love what we do here at Stanton Homes, and I'm glad you find the information helpful. 

Jun 20, 2011 04:24 AM #4
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Great post, Penny.  I like these color combos and designs. I am starting to see the vertical more and more and great tip on the grout color.  I will bookmark to reblog later.

Jun 20, 2011 01:36 PM #5
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