3 Creative (and Inexpensive) Ways to Add Glass to a Backsplash

Glass backsplashes are a beautiful thing. This goes without saying. It’s a look that my clients frequently quote when I ask what styles they prefer and it really adds a lot of “glitter” to a room. That being said, the cost for a good quality glass tile is a bit more than most clients are willing to spend.

However, there are many ways to add some sparkle to your room without having to go with glass all the way. I’ve illustrated below three different ways to add glass into your space using a standard white subway field tile which will keep the cost down but add a fun and unique element of interest.

#1  3″x6″ Glass Subway Inserts

(I didn't have an actual 3"x6" piece handy, but this gives you an idea)

This is a great way to inject some color into your room and works equally well in every application from kitchen backsplashes to shower walls. If you aren’t a fan of bright colors, consider using a white, iridescent glass that would blend in nicely with your field tile but would give off a pretty sheen in the light.

When going this route, I generally recommend setting the pieces randomly. It gives it much more of an artsy vibe. I also recommend not using more than one piece per square foot for a monochromatic glass color (meaning, a color that matches the field tile), or for a vibrant contrasting color like a cobalt or red, try to avoid using more than one piece per two square feet. This will help you to not overwhelm your space.

Sidenote: for another way to use this technique to “modernize” your space, click here.

#2  Decorative Glass Inserts

Contrasting glass deco

This technique is a personal favorite for those with more traditional homes who still want some glass jewelry. You frequently see ceramic inserts turned on a 45 degree angle and placed in field tile, but it adds a contemporary twist when you use glass instead.

You can use solid pieces of glass in sizes from 2″x2″ to 4″x4″ (and mix or match them) and you can use either flat glass or a three dimensional piece (Oceanside Glasstile has some great textured pieces). Use all the same color, or mix and match. You could even use mosaic pieces in groups of four to get the same effect.

Large deco flanked by two small decos

For installation, try to use an odd number per wall. For instance, if you have a stove with 3′ of backsplash on either side, use either one larger deco flanked by two small decos, or three small decos per side (generally one deco per square foot). You’ll get the hang of it when you begin planning it out.

#3  Small Strips of Glass Mosaic

Green glass mosaic accent strips

This is my absolute favorite way to incorporate glass into a backsplash. Since mosaic tiles come on a sheet, it’s very easy to cut them into strips of three and place them between subway tiles. Generally, one sheet will do a whole backsplash!

This look works very well in both traditional and modern applications, depending on the color and style of glass used. For instance, black hand-cut glass with a white subway tile is a very traditional look, versus incorporating a strip of bright back-painted glass. You can use all the same color, tones of the same color, or completely different colors to get vastly different looks for the space.

White subway with black glass accentsWhite subway with bright mosaic strip accents

In terms of setting up the pattern, I generally recommend to put the glass between every 3rd tile, or place it completely randomly (sort of…I always recommend drawing it out before you begin). For small spaces, you could probably go ever 2nd tile, but it begins to look quite busy in a larger area. For comparison, all three photos above were taken using every 2nd tile.

So there you have it. You don’t have to break the bank to add some glass to your design- you just have to be willing to play with some new patterns.

And if you’d like some additional advice about budget ways to incorporate glass into your backsplash, don’t hesitate to email me at tiletramp@gmail.com!

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