When designing kitchen countertops, backsplashes are automatically included in the decision process. You don’t think twice about it because the idea that they go hand in hand has been deeply entrenched in the modern kitchen image.


But why are backsplashes necessary? If you’ve ever wondered, there are more reasons than “just because”.


The purposes of a backsplash can be grouped into the two themes of function and aesthetics. Let’s start with the functional purposes first.


Protect the back wall

From…? That’s right – splashes! Let’s face it, no matter how careful you are to not make a mess while you’re cooking, splashes and spills are bound to happen. And it’s pretty much impossible to get to once the sauce or liquid starts running down the wall behind the counter before you return with a rag.

The wall is best protected when the backsplash is at least 4 inches in height from the countertop. Most modern kitchens go beyond the minimum standard though. You’ll see a lot of backsplashes that reach the full 18 inches up to the kitchen cabinet bottom. Some homeowners choose to go even higher. In fact, the trend this year calls for backsplashes that go all the way up to the ceiling.


Cleaning made easy

You may think you’re lucky to have a splatter that just crusts over in one place on the wall. You’ll find it’s tough though to scrape that off without damaging the bare drywall. And let’s not even get into the nightmare of scrubbing out grease stains. Backsplashes prevent these scenarios by covering the wall with durable and low-maintenance surfaces.


Hide the gaps

We guarantee the straightness of our countertop edges, but we can’t say the same of the back wall. So when there are uneven gaps between the wall and the counter, backsplashes are there to save the day.


Anchor extra storage

You should always take advantage of every kitchen remodel to build in some extra storage. The backsplash is one of the creative spaces to do just that. For example, you can install a magnetic strip to hold all your chef knives. You can also put up a small shelf and electrical socket to use as a charging station for your phone or tablet while you’re cooking. Better yet, if you want to stand out by combining open shelving with cabinets, you can dedicate a whole backsplash wall for the open shelves.


Design bridge

Now we’re getting into the aesthetic purpose of backsplashes. One of the key aesthetic reasons for a backsplash is that it serves as the bridge between the cabinets and the countertop. You can select cabinets and countertops that complement each other, but add a backsplash as an accent. It makes a big difference in tying the two elements together.


Showcase your personality

Backsplashes are where the fun happens in kitchen design. There are a lot of backsplash materials and styles available to you. Take the time to choose something that matches your personality. Patterned-tile backsplashes are in for 2017 and that’s a great way to customize with pictures and motifs.


Just in case you ever think that you can do without a backsplash, these are all good reasons to reconsider.