The basic function of kitchen backsplashes is to prevent water, food and other types of liquids and solids from damaging the wall behind your kitchen counters. However, backsplashes can be both functional and stylish. There’s a dizzying array of styles to choose from, but we’re skipping the most popular backsplashes (since you’ve probably seen them anyway) so we can highlight some of the coolest options.

Art glass backsplash

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A photo of the city’s skyline is the inspiration for this spectacular kitchen backsplash in Melbourne. Image:

According to Katy Brut, interior design consultant at New York Furniture Outlets, “The newest and freshest trend in kitchen interior design is to use uncommon materials, such as metal panels, glass and ceramics.”

Hexagonal tile backsplash

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This hexagonal pattern is clean and modern. Image:

“People are gravitating toward cleaner, modern backsplashes, as opposed to the busier mosaics, to create a timeless look,” says Pace Tropper of TileBar. “The use of simpler tones and designs for the backsplash with pops of color from accent pieces create a kitchen that is more transitional for a long-term investment.”

Solid color sheet glass backsplash

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This solid sheet of gray glass provides a sleek, seamless look. Image: .

This gray, glass sheet backsplash is another example of a cleaner, more modern design and requires virtually no maintenance. Just wipe clean.

Wood and wood-look stone tile backsplash

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The latest generation of stone can realistically mimic wood. Image: .

Brut says some homeowners are achieving customized looks by using specially treated (water and mold resistant) solid wood panels.  However, the wood look above was achieved with stone tile.

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Can you tell if this is real wood or not? Image:

The warm look of wood in this backsplash is replicated in the floor-to-ceiling cabinets and in the under-counter cabinet cut-outs.

Stainless steel metal backsplash

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A stainless sheet backsplash is durable and can be cut to fit any space. Image:

This gives new meaning to the phrase “stainless steel package.” While that term generally refers to stainless steel appliances, this kitchen is stainless steel from floor to ceiling: backsplash, countertop, cabinets and sink.

Back-to-nature window backsplash

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Nature always creates a complementary backdrop. Image:

It’s hard to find a better backsplash than nature (but you should probably wear clothes when standing at the sink). Smaller windows are common in kitchens, but a wall of windows makes a cool architectural statement.

Slate backsplash

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Arranging the backsplash vertically helps to create depth. Image: 

The slate backsplash in this Asian-inspired kitchen complements the light wood and stainless steel. Slate resists water, stains and spills.

Porcelain tile backsplash

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This backsplash adds interest without looking too busy. Image:

“Porcelain-cement tiles are unique materials perfect for kitchen backsplashes because they don’t stain and are quicker to source and install than traditional cement tiles,” explains Matt Karlin, third-generation President and CEO of Nemo Tile + Stone.

Subway tile backsplash

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Subway tile remains a popular choice among homeowners. Image:

“Backsplashes are one of the easiest ways to personalize a kitchen, but there’s a reason subway tile is so popular,” says Jonathan Self, a real estate broker for Center Coast Realty in Chicago.

Pablo Picasso backsplash

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Kitchen backsplashes can be customized for any style or taste. Image:

“Unless it’s a forever home, I’d avoid going too crazy with the design because this can make it harder to sell your home down the road,” Self says. Maybe this Picasso is what he’s talking about. It’s definitely original, but how many homebuyers do you think would like this style, especially in the kitchen?

Tell us what you think in the comments!