Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Choose the Perfect Natural Stone for Your Kitchen Backsplash

Gabriela Connell
5 minute read

A beautiful stone backsplash can transform the look and feel of any kitchen. Natural stone adds a timeless, classic elegance while also being extremely durable. With so many stone options to choose from, it can be tricky to select the perfect one to match your kitchen’s style and budget.

We’ll explore popular stones like granite, marble, and slate as well as glass and ceramic tile. You’ll learn how to pick a material that fits your kitchen’s aesthetic, holds up to daily wear and tear, and stays within your project budget.

Why Choose a Natural Stone Backsplash?

Here are some of the key benefits that make natural stone one of the top choices for kitchen backsplashes:

stone backsplash for kitchens

The right stone can transform an ordinary backsplash into a stunning focal point. Let’s look at some of the most popular options for achieving this effect.

Types of Stone for Kitchen Backsplashes


Granite remains one of the most widely used stones for backsplashes. Made from quartz, feldspar, and traces of mica, it’s extremely hard and scratch resistant. The mineral composition also creates a dazzling array of speckled colors and natural patterns.




Elegant marble backsplashes have delicate veining that creates depth and movement. Since marble is metamorphosed limestone, it’s on the softer side and can stain easily if not properly sealed.




Formed by mineral hot springs, travertine comes in soft earth tones like ivory, gold, and rust. The stone has naturally occurring holes that are often filled during finishing. Unfilled travertine provides grip but enables staining in backsplash use.




Slate backsplashes make a dramatic statement thanks to the stone’s layered, foliated appearance. The metamorphic rock comes in darker shades of gray, black, purple, and green.




Softer than granite and marble, sedimentary limestone shows wear through a patina. Subtle white and cream colors work beautifully with white cabinetry.




Sandstone has incredible variety – formed from cemented quartz grains, it can display tan, gold, red, brown, and even blue-gray tones. More porous than granite, sealing is required.




Quartzite forms when sandstone metamorphoses under heat/pressure. The resulting material is incredibly hard and durable. Visually similar to marble but much more resilient.




Soapstone is remarkably heat resistant. This soft stone has a matte look and feels smooth to the touch. Darker colors require mineral oil to avoid showing etch marks.



Glass/Metal Tiles

Man-made glass and metal tiles open up endless options for backsplash patterns, colors, and finishes. The materials reflect light beautifully but can chip under impact.



Ceramic Tile

Glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles provide an affordable backsplash option. From bold patterns to elegant mosaics, ceramic allows for lots of custom looks.



Choosing the Best Stone Backsplash for Your Kitchen

With all the gorgeous stone possibilities, how do you select the right one? Here are the most important factors to consider:

Kitchen Style

Picking a stone that complements your kitchen’s aesthetic is key. For example:

Ease of Maintenance

Consider how much ongoing sealing and cleaning different stones require:

Color Palette

Select a stone in your desired shade:


Material cost also varies:

See Samples In Person

Look at full slabs and tiles to get a feel for true colors, patterns, finishes.

Installing Your Stone Backsplash

Most homeowners opt to have natural stone backsplashes professionally installed. The stone requires careful cutting to achieve the right fit.

Ceramic, glass mosaic tiles are a good DIY option. Watch for these key steps:

Enhancing Your Space with a Stone Backsplash

To make your backsplash really stand out, consider these design tips:

The right backsplash transforms the heart of your home. Weigh all the options and choose natural stone that makes your kitchen shine for years to come.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about installing and caring for a stone backsplash:

What are typical costs for different stones?

Cost varies based on the specific material and color. In general: ceramic and glass tiles $5-20 sq ft; slate and sandstone $15-40 sq ft; travertine and marble $30-70 sq ft; granite and onyx $60-120 sq ft; quartzite $80-150 sq ft.

How durable and heat/scratch resistant is each stone?

Granite, quartzite, and ceramic are most scratch/heat resistant. Marble and limestone etch most easily. Stones like slate and travertine fall in the middle.

What ongoing maintenance is required?

Marble, limestone, travertine need resealing every 1-2 years. Granite, quartzite, ceramic require minimal maintenance. Soapstone needs occasional mineral oil.

How should different stones be sealed/cleaned?

Apply penetrating sealers, reapply per manufacturer instructions. Clean with pH-neutral stone cleaner. Avoid abrasive cleansers.

What stones work with specific kitchen aesthetics?

Farmhouse: Travertine, soapstone, limestone. Contemporary: Quartzite, glass/metal tile. Traditional: Granite, marble.

How can you add character with stone shapes/patterns?

Accent with mosaic tiles, combine polished and honed finishes, use dimensional tile shapes for texture.