Upstands, tiles or splashback? Not sure what to go for in your new kitchen design? Basically, all of them are designed to protect your walls from kitchen splashes, stains and steam. What you choose really comes down to personal preference and the type of look you’re trying to achieve. Here is an overview with lots of splashback ideas from our gallery plus some tips and advice.

When picking your choice of material to protect the kitchen walls above your worktop, it’s worth bearing in mind that some materials will show the dirt more easily. Some choices will be easier to clean than others and some options will be more robust and durable.

FSC oak worktops with a recycled glass splashback.
green kitchen with hexagon tiles splashback and bamboo upstands
Worktops and upstands in bamboo, with white hexagon tiles.


What are upstands?

Upstands are usually about 120mm high and are generally made out of the same material as the worktop. This gives them a seamless appearance and enhances the sleek lines of your kitchen design.

An upstand creates a seal between the worktop and the wall. By doing this, no liquids can seep behind the cabinets. Our clients often opt for a timber, recycled plastic or recycled glass upstand. It’s worth noting that upstands only protect the lower part of your kitchen wall, but they do catch a lot of the day to day splashes and mess. This might be all you need, to stop appliances banging against the paintwork. After all, upstands are much easier to clean than your kitchen walls.

Standing out or blending in

When deciding upon your upstand material, you can either choose to stand out, or to blend in. Most people choose to match their upstands to their worktop material. This creates a seamless design throughout the kitchen. However, if you’re wanting your upstand to stand out, why not go for a pop of colour? A contrasting coloured upstand draws the eye around the kitchen and highlights the footprint of the space.

Whatever you decide, you may want to consider decorating your walls with durable or washable paint. But if your cooking and prepping tends to get a bit messier, it might be worth considering something more substantial, like a splashback.

recycled plastic worktop and upstands in white and blue
A Sheffield Sustainable Kitchen with worktops and upstands in recycled plastic. The contrasting blue upstands tie together the vibrant splashback and draws the eye around the room.
grey and white scandi kitchen with laminate worktop and upstands
Worktops and upstands in high-pressure laminate, with a toughed glass splashback.


What are splashbacks?

Splashbacks are much taller than upstands and may run the entire length of your wall, from the worktop to the overhead cabinets. Alternatively, you may decide to locate them just in the areas where they are most needed, such as behind the sink and the hob.

Splashbacks protect a much larger area of your kitchen walls and are really easy to keep clean and maintain. Our most popular splashbacks tend to be made from toughened glass. Recycled glass splashbacks can match in with your worktop, or provide a stunning focal point in a contrasting colour of your choice. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more minimalistic design feature, choose a splashback colour that matches with your wall colour.

Bespoke approach

If you’re looking for something really unique in your kitchen, you’ve come to the right place. We can supply toughened sheets of glass to match any colour at all, which can be used either as upstands or splashbacks, or both.

Over the years we have many different splashback ideas.

We can also create them from digitally printed images. The image – a photo or original artwork – is printed behind the glass and then toughened. As an artist, one of our clients wanted to produce a kitchen splashback using a piece of her work. The result was stunning.

Another client had a bespoke splashback made from handmade blown glass behind their hob. Our client was keen to have original glass artwork into the kitchen design, bringing colour and character, and a load of personality to the room. The resulting handmade glass hob splash-back was created by a local artist, who also created matching window sills for the kitchen. These elements add a beautiful texture, colour and custom feature to the look and feel of the space.

white kitchen with green splashback
This kitchen we designed uses a vibrant green splashback running the length of the room to add a pop of colour and bounce light in the space.
blown glass bespoke splashback
The beautiful handmade blown glass splashback is truly unique and is the focal point of this bespoke kitchen.


Tiles are also a stylish choice and can change the whole look and feel of your kitchen if you decide to really go to town. Different tiling patterns can add different dimensions to your space. For example, a vertical tiling pattern draws the eyes upwards and adds height to a room. Hexagon or geometric tiles are another great way to add texture and pattern to your new kitchen.

Metro tiles are a timeless classic, but they can be arranged in different ways to create different effects. Neatly lined up tiles look fantastic in a country-style or more traditional kitchen, or a brickwork pattern can provide a modern industrial style.

You may just want to tile the area behind your hob and sink area, or you may decide to tile the whole space. But whatever you choose, it’s worth bearing in mind that tiles could be more difficult to keep clean, so pick the colour of the tiles and grout carefully.

Bold coloured tiles

Where tiles can add texture, they can also add colour. Tiles can be the focal point of your kitchen if you choose to. Previous clients have chosen handmade tiles in teal and vibrant yellow to contrast against the muted colour palette of their grey kitchen cabinets, whilst others have chosen multi-coloured tiles to lift the space.

Don’t forget the grout!

Don’t forget about your grout colour when it comes to being bold. Simple tiles can be transformed into something truly distinctive using an unusual grout colour.


Splashback mix & match

You don’t simply have to choose between upstands, tiles and splashbacks in your kitchen. Feel free to mix and match and find which combination looks the best in your kitchen! You could opt for matching upstands as well as a line of stylish tiles to add visual interest as well as wall protection, or something else entirely. The only limit to splashback ideas is your imagination!

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