Where to Put Backsplash in Bathroom?

Last Updated on July 11, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

A backsplash is a vertical extension to a bathroom’s counter typically in the sink or bathing area that protects the wall from water splashes. Its primary function is to serve as a barrier against moisture, thereby preventing potential water damage and the growth of mold. This practical feature, however, has evolved over the years to become an integral part of bathroom design.

The role of a backsplash in bathroom design extends beyond its practicality. It offers an opportunity to inject personal style, color, and texture into the room. The right backsplash can transform a functional space into a cozy retreat, a chic spa-like environment, or a vibrant, energizing area.

With a wide range of materials and designs available, a backsplash can significantly contribute to the overall aesthetic of any bathroom, adding both beauty and value to your home. As we explore where to place a backsplash in your bathroom, we’ll consider both its protective and decorative roles.

The Practical and Aesthetic Benefits of Having a Backsplash in the Bathroom

Practical Benefits

  1. Protection Against Water Damage: The primary function of a backsplash is to shield the wall from water splashes and spills, particularly in areas like behind the sink or around the bathtub. By preventing water from seeping into the walls, it mitigates potential problems such as rot, mold, and mildew.
  2. Easy Maintenance and Cleaning: Backsplashes are typically made from materials that are resistant to staining and easy to clean, like ceramic, glass, or stone. This makes them an ideal feature in a bathroom where cleanliness is essential. A simple wipe-down can remove soap scum, toothpaste splatters, or other bathroom grime.
  3. Durability: High-quality backsplash materials can withstand humidity and temperature changes, making them a long-lasting addition to your bathroom. They’re not easily damaged, which saves you the cost and hassle of frequent repairs or replacements.

Aesthetic Benefits

  1. Enhances Overall Design: A well-chosen backsplash can significantly enhance the overall design of your bathroom. Whether you prefer a classic subway tile, a colorful mosaic, or a sleek glass panel, your backsplash can be a focal point that draws the eye and ties together your bathroom’s design elements.
  2. Adds Color and Texture: A backsplash provides an opportunity to introduce color, pattern, and texture into your bathroom. You might opt for a bold, vibrant tile to liven up a neutral space, or a textured stone to add depth and interest.
  3. Personalizes Your Space: With endless material and design options available, your backsplash can reflect your personal style and taste. Whether you lean towards a modern minimalist aesthetic, a rustic farmhouse vibe, or an elegant, traditional look, there’s a backsplash that can make your bathroom uniquely yours.

In conclusion, a bathroom backsplash offers both practical benefits—protection against water damage, easy cleaning, and durability—and aesthetic benefits—it enhances the overall design, adds color and texture, and personalizes your space.

Determining the Best Location for Your Bathroom Backsplash

bathroom backsplash position

When it comes to deciding where to place a backsplash in your bathroom, there are a few common locations that homeowners typically consider. Here’s an overview:

  1. Behind the Sink: This is perhaps the most traditional spot for a bathroom backsplash. It provides crucial protection against water damage from splashing while washing hands or brushing teeth.
  2. Around the Bathtub or Shower: A backsplash around the tub or shower area can prevent water and soap scum from damaging the walls. It also creates a cohesive look and can help define this space within the bathroom.
  3. Accent Wall: For those wanting to make a bold design statement, extending the backsplash to cover an entire wall can create a stunning accent piece in the bathroom.

Choosing the best location for your bathroom backsplash will depend on several factors:

  • Bathroom Size: If you have a smaller bathroom, a backsplash behind the sink might be sufficient and not overwhelm the space. In larger bathrooms, you may have the flexibility to extend the backsplash to other areas.
  • Existing Design Elements: Consider the current design elements in your bathroom. You’ll want to choose a location that complements these features rather than clashing with them.
  • Personal Preference: Ultimately, the choice of where to put your bathroom backsplash should reflect your personal taste and lifestyle needs. Think about your daily routines and which areas would benefit most from the practical and aesthetic advantages a backsplash offers.
  • Budget: Depending on the material used, a backsplash can be a significant investment. Consider your budget when deciding how much of your bathroom you wish to cover.

Why the Area Behind the Sink is a Popular Location for a Backsplash?

The area behind the sink is one of the most popular locations for a backsplash in the bathroom for several reasons:

  1. Water Exposure: The sink area is frequently exposed to water from hand washing, brushing teeth, and other daily activities. A backsplash protects the wall from this constant moisture exposure, preventing water stains, potential mold growth, and damage to the wall.
  2. Ease of Cleaning: Splashes from soap, toothpaste, or makeup are common in the sink area. Having a backsplash made from materials like tile, glass, or stone makes cleaning these splatters easier. These materials are typically resistant to staining and can be wiped clean quickly.
  3. Visual Appeal: The sink area is often a focal point in the bathroom. A well-chosen backsplash can enhance this focal point, adding color, texture, or pattern to the space. It can also help tie together other design elements in the room.
  4. Space Definition: A backsplash behind the sink helps define the vanity area, separating it visually from the rest of the bathroom. This can be particularly beneficial in larger bathrooms or bathrooms with open layouts.
  5. Upgrade and Value: Adding a backsplash behind the sink is a relatively simple upgrade that can add significant aesthetic appeal and potential resale value to the bathroom. It’s a small detail that can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of the space.

Why Some Homeowners Choose to Install a Backsplash Around the Bathtub or Shower

The bathtub or shower area is another common location for a backsplash in a bathroom. Here are some reasons why homeowners might opt for this:

  1. Water Protection: Much like the sink, the bathtub or shower area is a zone of heavy water use. Installing a backsplash here provides a water-resistant barrier, protecting the walls from potential water damage.
  2. Easy Cleaning: Soap scum, shampoo residue, and other grime can build up on the walls around the bathtub or shower. A backsplash made of easy-to-clean materials, such as ceramic or glass tiles, can simplify the cleaning process.
  3. Aesthetic Enhancement: A backsplash around the bathtub or shower can significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal of the bathroom. It can serve as a large canvas for showcasing beautiful tiles or other materials, transforming the bathing area into a stunning focal point.
  4. Comfort and Luxury: Backsplashes around the tub or shower can add a sense of comfort and luxury to the bathroom. Depending on the materials and design chosen, they can create a spa-like atmosphere that enhances the bathing experience.
  5. Increased Home Value: A well-designed and installed backsplash can increase the value of your home. It not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but also signals to potential buyers that the home has been well cared for.

Using a Backsplash as an Accent Wall in the Bathroom: Design Tips and Considerations

Using a backsplash as an accent wall is an increasingly popular trend in bathroom design. This approach allows for a dramatic statement piece that can transform the entire look and feel of the room. Here are some tips and considerations for this type of backsplash:

Choosing the Right Wall: The first step is deciding which wall to accent. Generally, this should be a wall you want to draw attention to. It could be the wall behind your bathtub to create a spa-like atmosphere, or the wall behind your vanity to make this functional area more striking.

Size and Scale: When using a backsplash as an accent wall, you’ll need to consider the size and scale of the tiles or materials you’re using. Larger tiles or patterns might work better on a larger wall, while smaller walls might benefit from smaller tiles or a more delicate pattern.

Color and Texture: The color and texture of your backsplash can significantly influence the mood of your bathroom. Bright colors can energize the space, while softer hues can create a calm, relaxing atmosphere. Textured tiles can add depth and visual interest to your accent wall.

Material Selection: The material you choose for your backsplash will play a crucial role in the overall effect. Glossy ceramic or glass can reflect light and make the room seem larger, while natural stone or wood can add warmth and character.

Balance with Other Elements: While the accent wall should stand out, it’s essential to ensure it still fits cohesively within the overall design of your bathroom. Balance the boldness of your accent wall by keeping other walls and elements more neutral.

Professional Installation: Given the larger scale of an accent wall backsplash, professional installation might be a good idea. This can ensure that the wall is properly prepared and waterproofed, and that the tiles are correctly and securely installed.


In this guide, we’ve explored the various benefits and considerations of adding a backsplash to your bathroom. From protecting your walls against water damage and making cleaning easier, to enhancing the overall design and adding color or texture, a backsplash serves both practical and aesthetic purposes.

We’ve also discussed popular locations for bathroom backsplashes—behind the sink, around the bathtub or shower, and as an accent wall—and the unique considerations for each. Whether you have a small bathroom and need a simple backsplash behind the sink, or a larger space where you can create a dramatic accent wall, there’s a solution that can work for you.

Choosing the right materials and design for your backsplash can transform your bathroom into a space that reflects your personal style and meets your daily needs. Whether you prefer a minimalist modern look, a vibrant and bold design, or a luxurious spa-like atmosphere, there’s a world of possibilities to explore.

In conclusion, adding a backsplash to your bathroom is a worthwhile investment that can enhance both the functionality and aesthetics of your space. As you plan your bathroom remodel or update, consider incorporating a backsplash that not only protects your walls but also adds a touch of style and personality to your bathroom.

Frequently Asked Questions About Where to Put Backsplash in Bathroom

Where should I put a backsplash in my bathroom?

The most common places to install a backsplash in your bathroom are behind the sink, around the bathtub or shower, or on an accent wall. The best location will depend on your bathroom’s size and layout, your design preferences, and your practical needs.

Do I need a backsplash behind my bathroom sink?

While not absolutely necessary, a backsplash behind your bathroom sink can protect the wall from water damage, make cleaning easier, and enhance the overall design of the space.

Can I use a backsplash around my bathtub or shower?

Yes, a backsplash can be very effective around a bathtub or shower. It can protect the walls from water and soap scum, simplify cleaning, and provide a significant aesthetic enhancement.

What’s the benefit of using a backsplash as an accent wall in my bathroom?

Using a backsplash as an accent wall can create a dramatic focal point in your bathroom. It allows for a larger canvas to showcase beautiful tiles or other materials, and can significantly transform the look and feel of the room.

How do I choose the right material for my bathroom backsplash?

Choosing the right material for your bathroom backsplash will depend on your functional needs, budget, and design preferences. Some popular options include ceramic tile, glass, stone, and metal. Each has its own pros and cons in terms of durability, maintenance, cost, and aesthetic appeal.

Can I install a bathroom backsplash myself, or should I hire a professional?

The answer to this question largely depends on your comfort level with DIY projects and the complexity of the backsplash design you’ve chosen. Simple, straight installations might be manageable for experienced DIY-ers. However, if the design is complex, involves difficult cuts, or covers a large area like an accent wall, it might be wise to hire a professional.