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Ceramic tile backsplashes are a kitchen classic, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of available patterns, or if you’d like to mix it up a little and try something different, check out these creative backsplash choices.

Marble

Beautiful, sleek marble is timeless, elegant and delicate. Traditionally used for countertops in kitchens, marble is susceptible to stains and pitting from wine and other acidic liquids. Softer than granite, it’s also easily scratched. If you love the look of marble but don’t want to deal with the headaches of caring for it, now you can incorporate this stunning stone into your kitchen by using a full-slab backsplash. Rising from counters to ceilings in a single thin sheet, the unique veining of marble adds unexpected flair to both traditional and modern kitchens.

Glass

Clear, bright and minimalist, glass is a striking element that is also easy to clean. Back-painted glass is most often coated in whites, soft blues or pale greens because the glass will always throw a slightly greenish tint. Back-painted glass looks stunning paired with both white and dark kitchen cabinets. Tempered glass works best behind cook tops or near ovens because it is more resistant to heat. Be aware that tempering can damage glass and increase lead times. Discuss this issue along with the placement of any seams with your contractor to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Stainless

Sleek, stylish stainless is a perennial favorite in modern kitchens, and when used sparingly it works equally well in traditional settings. Full-length stainless in small doses ups the visual effect without overwhelming the space. Frame a vanity or use stainless behind the stove and linked to a matching oven hood. Most often seen in a matte finish, stainless steel can also be acid-etched to reflect unique patterns or designs that give it a softer, less industrial feel. Try stainless combined with glass, tile or marble for a truly one-of-a-kind contemporary backsplash.

Concrete

Concrete counters are a hot trend these days because of their amazing strength and versatility. If you’re pouring custom countertops it’s only natural to extend the material up the wall to create an integrated backsplash. You can even incorporate built-in shelves. Smoothly finished concrete combined with white painted cabinets delivers a minimalist, modern look, while traditional kitchens with oak or maple cabinets can be enhanced with concrete counters colored with bright pigments and embellished with colored stones, broken tiles or shells.

Beadboard

To get a vintage look and give your kitchen a down-home country cottage feel, consider using painted beadboard. Beadboard adds texture without a lot of fuss and it’s easily customizable to suit any kitchen design. Add a burst of color to white cabinets with a brightly painted beadboard backsplash,or offset rich, dark cabinets with beadboard painted in softer hues. If you’re concerned about water damage to traditional beadboard, you can get the look using PVC or concrete beadboard-patterned tiles.