Full-height tile backsplashes have gained in popularity as an elegant way to complete the look and protect the wall behind the countertops. While subway tiles are still a common choice in the northwest, there is a vast selection of relevant materials available in today’s designs. Larger format tiles require less grout which can simplify maintenance and tend to have a subtle aesthetic. 12 X 12, or even 12 X 24-inch tiles are not uncommon today. Smaller tile mosaic patterns may not be as popular as they once were but there are still many choices that can enhance modern designs. In addition to glass mosaics, there are natural stones, metal, and porcelain mosaics individually or incorporate them together. Complex patterns such as lanterns and arabesque patterns with repeating shapes can both evoke a more classical feel and add excitement in a modern design. Brighter colors are becoming more popular with backsplashes as well, considering the lower investment potential if eventual resale is an issue. A backsplash can be replaced without removing the countertop or cabinetry so a person who intends to sell their home may feel more comfortable adding bold colors to the permanent element with a lower price tag. Grout is another great way to bring color to the backsplash. Grout is available in many colors and can be chosen to complement or contrast the surrounding tile. Some designs even incorporate porcelain slab material or glass sheets as a backsplash. This can be a very elegant look as it eliminates grout entirely and is by far the easiest to maintain. Slabs will come at a greater investment and are not practical in all homes due to thermal expansion and other factors. Tiles with a deep three-dimensional texture are another way to add interest to a backsplash but can cause problems with outlet cover plates and molding reveals, so careful planning is necessary. The backsplash is not only beautiful but also protects the wall and the type of cooking to be done in the space should be considered. for example, if the family’s culinary needs will produce more oil vapor it may be wise to choose a lower maintenance tile that can be cleaned easily and won’t discolor over time. If you are working with a designer be sure to let them know the type of foods you expect to be prepared. With so many tile products available, the backsplash can be a place to let your creativity shine through.