This Small Detail Can Make a Kitchen Look a Little More Expensive

published May 22, 2023
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As someone about to embark on a bathroom renovation — potentially followed by yet another bathroom renovation, and finally a kitchen remodel (although definitely not in rapid succession) — I’ve been pinning up a storm of inspiration images and trying to figure out how to get a high-end look for less without cutting any important corners. I won’t be saving on the plumbing or any electrical work, but when it comes to finishes, like the dramatic stone sink and/or seamless stone backsplash combo that’s emerging as a trend on my Pinterest board, I’m willing to scale back, literally, as long as the overall look and feel of the space still jibes with the classic-meets-modern aesthetic I’m going for.

For that reason, I’ve loved seeing the way in which a small stone backsplash can really dress up anything from a larger vanity to a pedestal sink, particularly when its silhouette is shapely. You can even install one of these compact backsplashes behind a teeny-tiny, wall-hung sink (more on that below) or in a kitchen, as shown above, for that extra bit of polish your room may be currently lacking. 

For the record, these petite stone backsplashes have been around for decades — you can find them, along wish sidesplash pieces, at home centers or in tile supply stores to trim out your sink area, and some readymade vanities have this feature incorporated into their designs from the get-go. Instead of going the stock route, though, pro decorators are upping the ante. They’re taking extra time to hunt for pretty stone slabs for their clients and then getting those pieces professionally trimmed to size with soft curvature along their top edges. Now, these tiny backsplashes’ and sidesplashes’ once-straight silhouettes are sporting lively squiggles, scallops, and arches, which makes them more bespoke and special than ever before. 

Credit: Danielle Blundell

At this year’s KBIS show, I spied this trend out in the wild at the Cafe appliances booth in one of their two show kitchens. This particular example mixes a straight, shallow backsplash with a more exaggerated arch or semicircle over the sink, which frames the faucet beautifully. I also love this similar powder-room setup shared on Instagram by designer Hollie Velten-Lattrell. She took what looks to be a very utilitarian powder room sink in her studio bath and made it super-stylish with the addition of the little stone backsplash and sink skirt. Who says you have to do this with just stone, either? Some kind of marble would be my pick for sure, but you could really try any countertop material of your choice, including butcher block or wood. The key is making sure what you use isn’t too thick and that you install it properly, so you’re not dealing with dirt or gunk building up along the edge where this trim piece meets your counter or sink. 

The best part about this design upgrade just might be the cost savings it can offer. Sure, if you’re trying to match stone counters to a stone sink and then do this with your coordinating stone backsplash in a large kitchen, the total isn’t going to be cheap. For the most part, though, particularly in a powder room or smaller bath, you don’t need serious square footage of pricy stone to make a design statement. You can get away with shopping for a small remnant at a stone yard and mounting it above your sink (you might also need a bit of caulk to fill in any gaps). Yes, you’re going to have to pay a fabricator for the cut, but for a pro, these gentle curves and waves are fairly simple to make. Creating this kind of detail would also be a great use of leftover material, say, if you have stone or something else on hand from a previous project. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be paying more attention to the backsplash (and sidesplashes) in my bathroom plans going forward. This little detail feels like something I can incorporate into my reno to get a designer look for somewhat less, but it also seems like an easy, budget-friendly upgrade that could dress up any sink in your home, even if a full redo isn’t in the cards.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Small Detail Can Make a Kitchen, Bathroom, or Powder Room Look a Little More Expensive