Do you really need a one? Not really. But you’ll inevitably get that wall dirty while cooking or washing dishes, and an easy-to-clean surface can make messes easier to wipe up, especially if your stove doesn’t have a one built in. And almost any type of material can work–from bamboo to corkboard–as long as it’s properly sealed.
Whether your space lacks a proper dining table or you’re looking to create a more casual bar-seating option, adding low-profile seating to the island is an easy way to increase functionality and make the environment more social for both guests and the cook. Create a breakfast bar or dining table, and leave a counter overhang that offers enough room to tuck the chairs or stools underneath when not in use.
Whether you go for more contemporary or more country, remember that both as still in the kitchen. So consider staining the wood to protect it from eventual cooking wear and tear.
Given the numerous shapes, sizes and colors available, ceramic tile is probably the most versatile option (it’s also proven to be timeless). There’s plenty of room to play with patterns while still maintaining clean lines: stack tiles in columns, stagger them, or lay them at an angle. Most tile requires minimal maintenance, just be sure to seal the grout so it doesn’t get stained or absorb water.
Most people are after matching stainless steel appliances in their kitchen. Why? Because they look sharp and are central to a modern, updated design. Using stainless steel as the backsplash–either with tiles or a solid sheet–is a continuation of that same feel and creates a sleek, uniform look. The material is easy to wipe clean, doesn’t require grout and will last forever.
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