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Backsplashes can make a room pop, as long as they age well.

A stylish kitchen backsplash can be an eye-catching feature to help you sell a spec home, or entice potential clients to fall in love with your ideas and give you a green light to start building for them. But while a great backsplash does anything but fade into the background, choosing the right styles that will wow today and last well into the future is a fine balancing act — boldness may draw attention now, but it could show its age in a few years. The following slides look at current backsplash trends and provide tips on how you can be up-to-date now, without looking dated down the road.

  • Tile backsplashes are en vogue with homeowners today. A recent survey on the home design site Houzz.com found that 50 percent of homeowners prefer tile backsplashes. They make a bold statement and catch the eye. Just be sure the elements themselves appeal to your potential homeowners. "Always be careful with trends because they can go out of style in a couple of years," says Greg Fox of Fox Granite Countertops in Austin, Texas. Photo: Houzz.com.
  • Glass is the second leading homeowner preference for backsplashes today, according to the Houzz.com survey. The simplicity of glass with its clean lines should have long-lasting appeal. Mixing glass and metal can provide an ultra-modern feel. "Choose classic styles and clean lines," says Richard Brooks, of Mount Kisco, N.Y.–based countertop and backsplash manufacturer Brooks Custom. Photo: Brooks Custom Stainless Steel.
  • Another way to avoid becoming dated too quickly is to choose a backsplash that already appears old. Traditional tin ceiling tiles are becoming a more popular choice for backsplashes, and come in a variety of materials, including vinyl, that makes them easy to work with. Because they already have an established, traditional look, they should age well, beyond the time frame of passing design trends. Photo: Houzz.com.
  • Using a variety of elements in the kitchen can keep any one element from becoming overpowering, as long as they complement each other. Here, a potentially busy backsplash has a softer, more subtle feel because elements around it — such as light cabinetry and moulding on the ceiling — let the eye land elsewhere. "Blend the backsplash into the framework of the home," Fox says. "Let the backsplash accentuate rather than clash with other elements in the kitchen." Photo: Houzz.com.
  • Copper and stainless are growing as backsplash and countertop choices. One advantage is that they're fundamental materials that aren't likely to go out of fashion. "Well-chosen materials are easily maintained and will keep a distinctive look," Brooks says. Plus, doing it right in the initial build will avoid homeowner headaches down the road. "Replacing a backsplash is as big of a job as replacing a countertop." Photo: Brooks Custom Copper.