Best Custom Tile Mural Ideas for Kitchen Backsplash 

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Last updated: July 7, 2023

I had never thought of kitchen backsplashes as a fashion statement until recently. A semi-gloss paint that flowed matching color onto adjoining walls was sufficient to keep this area easy to clean. Highlighted cabinets and countertops were enough to fulfill style and beauty.

However, the artistic flair of kitchen backsplashes with a European flair brought my attention to tile murals that added seasoning of cultural and aesthetic value.  I am going to share my best custom tile mural ideas for kitchen backsplash design.

Table of Contents

What is a mural

A mural is a picture or pattern that is hand-painted on stone walls, ceilings, or floors by artists as an artistic expression. The quality of a hand-painted mural can never be mass-produced with graphics or decals, but some people are happy with a reproduction as a background piece. 

The choices in kitchen backsplash murals are now endless with subject matter galore. No longer is religious, cultural, or historical significance the only place for their focal point in the home or public buildings. However, the same rich flair for uniqueness has been preserved and makes them a presence of beauty within any type of style. 

Sift through websites for examples of murals before deciding on your favorite one. Bring in the entire family and make your mural a new tradition of your special heritage. 

How this unique look began

I discovered that ceramic tile murals were nothing new.  Decorative ceramic tiles were first noted in Egypt around 4000 BC. Handpainted custom tile murals delivered a biblical story to the illiterate inside churches on walls and floors during the European Middle Ages. 

This work of art spread quickly throughout the world, adapting to various cultures and their historical standing. Brick, tin, and natural stone were creative endeavors as the USA formed its heritage of standing as a new country. Asian and Mexican influences soon emerged as a delightful alternative. 

hexagonal geometric shaped tire mural for modern kitchen backsplash with golden, marble, pattern and gray shapes

Today, kitchen tile murals are a common sight in American kitchens.  Hand-painted stone tile murals have evolved into mass-produced images of any subject imaginable. There are even stick-on paper scenes for having an affordable way to spruce up your kitchen. These are great for a temporary situation, but many of the hand-painted murals offer the depth and tones of a real oil painting. These are the ones that offer sophistication and a rise in home values. 

Choosing the right design for your tile mural

I was surprised at how well the kitchen backsplash tile idea added significance to the look of today’s white cabinets. I had updated my 70s sculptured maple wood cabinets to simple streamlined cabinetry earlier in the year. While the look delivered a modern and clean appearance, there was a stark nakedness present.

The wall space behind the stove was the most noticeable in being barren. Did I want patterned accent tiles or kitchen backsplash tile murals? Before I got carried away and selected the wrong decorative tile, I contacted a few interior designers for advice. 

Backsplash ideas suddenly flooded my mind with the assortment of hand-painted tiles, glass tiles, tiles with a matte finish, and metal tiles. Or were brilliant glass mosaic tile patterns or deep green subway tiles more suitable for a modern look?  I needed guidance in selecting my kitchen murals. 

Just as there are multiple styles in kitchen choices, kitchen tiles have exploded within each sector of border tiles. For example, country kitchens can exhibit a simple organic life with colorful flowers and bees displayed as an over-the-stove picture.  A summer harvest mural is also an intriguing design for a farmhouse style.

French country is gaining recognition as a stylish version of kitchen remodel projects. Wine bottles on individual tiles or a grouping above a sink area can add a great addition to a plain wall. 

Individual scattered mural tiles on a background of solid background tiles can add a pop of color and design as backsplash murals. A set of 4 different Italian pictures can be a great way to add an artistic flair to solid marble tiles.

Beachfront single glass tiles will add the spirit of ocean living with a reminder that every day can be a holiday. Palm trees and sealife are also popular choices.

An Italian tile mural is by far the most appealing artistic flavor to add to your kitchen. Besides the wonderful cuisines that mark this scene, historical and romantic scenes bring harmony to your favorite room with cypress trees, riverboats, and foodstuffs, like olive oil and grapes. 

Customizing tile murals

As soon as Ali, my decorator, showed me the selection of handmade tiles from Copper and Craft, I did not need to look any further. The tree of life was the perfect choice for a sophisticated-looking beautiful focal point in my kitchen. The custom dimensions of the tiles delivered just the right design elements for an overall classic look.

Hand-made bronze tiles would be cut and placed in a specific area of my choosing. Above the stove or sink, the artist considered exact proportions to bring out the high resolution in the overall look. As expected, the delivery times for this work of art would be longer than usual, but it would be well working the wait.

To add a personal touch to your favorite room, consider using city scenes or an Italian villa by various artists. Artist Sam Park does a great job of creating scenes from around the world. Exclusive scenes on ceramic satin can turn your kitchen into a gallery of fine art.

Cost and Installation Considerations for Tile Murals

If you are considering a customized tile mural, be prepared to pay the price for the precise sizing and professional installation for your kitchen design projects. Artist Linda Paul has a how-to installation guide online for DIYers if you want to install your tile mural. There are lots of sizes of different materials that you should become familiar with before tackling this job.

Hiring a professional tile installer can cost anywhere from $5 to $14 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the job. For glass or metal, it is best to receive a quote and ask to see a portfolio of finished projects. If the chosen material is anything other than ceramic, special tools and skills will apply, thus raising the price of the installation job. There is a big difference between installers and the work that they have done.

tile mural with farmland and harvest accent to reflect a farmhouse kitchen backsplash

Hand-made tiles by artists are another issue that is difficult to address when it comes to installation. Many times the tiles are not precisely even as with mass-produced tiles. If you have spent hundreds of dollars on having a unique artful presentation as a backsplash, make sure your installer is ready for filling in gaps and sizing up the area.

There is an art to working with tiles and you want a professional job. Make sure your installer uses a grout sealer. Grease can be an enemy to tile and grout without regular cleaning. Make it a point to reapply new sealant every one to three years.

Maintaining and cleaning your tile mural backsplash

Tiles are a great way to keep your backsplash protected and add an aesthetic look. However, when left without care, they can become cloudy and dingy. Don’t wait for damage to set into the grout. It can start to dry out and crumble. The grout would then need to be repaired by digging out the old dried grout and adding new. 

A simple solution of detergent and water is sufficient to clean your tiles and grout every week. This will also keep the various shades of color bright and new. Wax polish or glass cleaner can help to protect your tiles from grease and grime. Never use any harsh chemicals or wire brushes on your tiles that could result in discoloration or scratching of the surface.

Benefits and drawbacks of tile murals in the kitchen

Every product has its pros and cons. Kitchen backsplash tiles are no different. Ceramic glossy tile is the most popular in cost, maintenance, and replacement. Many tile murals are made with ceramic material, making the blend with surrounding tiles easier. 

Porcelain tile may take on the appearance of a higher-quality tile and is longer lasting compared to ceramic. However, this is where the pro side ends. There are not as many decorative choices and they are not easily customized for murals. If you are sold on the pros of porcelain tile, make sure your mural is of the same material and your installer is capable. 

Glass or metal tiles are beautiful but expensive to install. Another drawback is that they are more prone to damage from natural elements or neglect. There is no way to repair glass or metal. The entire tile and grouting would have to be replaced.

It would take a lot to change my mind about the copper mural of the Tree of Life that I have decided on. I have already started looking for matching hardware and swapping out cabinets for open shelves to show off the excellent sheen in this mural. 

Final thoughts: best custom tile mural ideas for kitchen backsplashes

Murals are an excellent way to present your taste in style and make a grand focal point in your favorite kitchen. However, taking the time to learn why only specific tile types can work in this scenario can make the difference between elegance and a poor-quality afterthought. For example, mixing subway tiles with a ceramic tile mural would cause an imbalance in size and proportion. This is where an expert opinion could come in handy. Choose your designer and installer carefully to have an iconic artistic feature that you can be proud of. 

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