Laundry Splashback Ideas

Tap into these laundry splashback ideas

Inspiring laundry splashbacks that almost make doing the washing appealing.

The humble splashback doesn’t get as much attention as, say, the kitchen island or bathroom vanity. But like the fourth Jonas brother or choc-mint ice cream, the laundry splashback deserves just as much kudos as its more well-known counterparts. After all, that’s exactly what you look at when you’re doing the umpteenth load of laundry.

So, what’s a splashback, we hear you ask? Put simply, it’s the wall surface behind a sink or stovetop that gets splashed with water, oil, food or laundry detergent (as you furiously hand wash the grass stains out of footy shorts). It’s functional, but can also provide a pretty backdrop to one of the busiest stations in the home. Common splashback materials include natural stone, engineered stone, tiles, glass and mirrors.  

Since the laundry splashback isn’t typically front-row centre, you can afford to take some design risks with it. Always wanted Moroccan Zellige tiles? Now’s your chance. Banned from using Viva Magenta in the rest of your home? Relegate it to the laundry. And because the laundry splashback is a small space, typically requiring fewer building materials, you can afford to select higher-end finishes. For example, your budget might not accommodate floor-to-ceiling marble bathroom tiles, but the splashback only needs a few of ’em.     

If you’re looking for the most practical options for a laundry splashback, or you’re wondering what you can use instead of tiles, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at these beautiful splashback ideas for inspiration and tips.  

Blue laundry with marble splashback
Atlantic Stone benchtops and a splashback from SNB Stone make a statement in this luxe renovation on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. The paint colour is Dulux Kolya. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

1. Make your laundry splashback marble-ous

Nothing says ‘luxe’ in a laundry quite like natural stone and there are myriad options to choose from. Timeless marble is an obvious choice and comes in endless hues, but alternatives such as granite, quartzite and rhyolite are durable and equally beautiful. Natural stone splashbacks typically come in one piece (a slab) but you can opt for marble tiles, as well. 

Rhyolite is formed from cooled magma from volcanoes and is usually grey, as seen above in this stylish laundry renovation, sometimes with flecks of green. Rhyolite is ideal for splashbacks since it’s long-lasting and non-porous. 

Whichever natural stone you select, it’s imperative that it’s honed and sealed so it’s protected from stains, etching and watermarks. That said, the wear and tear from daily use only adds to the patina of a stone splashback, and the history of your home.

Laundry with pink tiled splashback
A splashback featuring handmade Manuel gloss tiles in Rosa from Di Moda Collective lends a modern edge to this classic laundry for a family of seven in Brisbane. (Credit: Photography: John Downes / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

2. Make your laundry splashback colourful 

The laundry is the perfect place to inject some colour and personality into your home without clashing with other zones or offending any monochrome-loving family members. The laundry, above, was designed for a family with five kids; needless to say, owners/parents Victoria and Steven do countless hours of washing. So, Victoria thought she’d drench the splashback with her favourite colour, pink.

According to Dulux, lighter colours can make your laundry feel bigger while darker colours can make it feel cosy. You’ll need to consider the other colours in the space, as well. Take tile, stone and paint-swatch (et cetera) samples into the laundry to see which combinations work well together in the room’s natural light. If you’re opting for a bright or bold colour on your laundry splashback, consider a neutral tone for your joinery, benchtop and walls.  

Laundry in heritage home with window instead of splashback
A sweet sash window provides the perfect backdrop for the laundry sink in this heritage-listed home in Sydney’s east. The cabinetry doors are finished in Laminex Winter Sky. (Credit: Photography: Dave Wheeler / Styling: Lisa Burden)

3. Replace the laundry splashback with a window

Does a laundry even need a splashback? How about a view of the garden instead? In the side extension of this 1920s home, above, the owners opted for a window instead of a full-sized laundry splashback — so they can gaze at trees while sorting the washing or cutting fresh blooms from the garden.

However, the benchtop material does travel up the wall a little, providing some protection from splashes while keeping the aesthetic seamless. (A splashback doesn’t need to be super high, by the way.)

When painting a window frame above a sink or wet area, select a satin or semi-gloss paint (with a sheen). This type of paint is better at resisting moisture and mould.

Tiny laundry with metallic penny round tiles splashback
Under the sea: this Little Mermaid-inspired laundry splashback adds visual interest as well as reflecting much-needed light around a compact laundry. (Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott)

4. Be brave when updating a tiny laundry splashback 

A compact laundry is an asset, not a drawback! You can go for broke and really bring your splashback ideas to life, because it’s such a small piece of real estate and hardly a gamble. Consider tiles in unconventional shapes or dramatic finishes, such as metallic. There are also tricks to making the small space appear bigger

Here, shiny penny-round tiles bounce light around this tiny laundry to make it seem less pokey. You could also enlist vertical striped wallpaper or VJ panels to make the ceiling appear higher. 

 

Laundry splashback with art wallpaper on the splashback
The art of the home: if you’re going to spend a silly amount of time doing washing, you may as well be looking at something inspiring on your laundry splashback. (Credit: Photography: Chris Warnes)

5. Turn your laundry splashback into an artwork

Wondering what you can use as a splashback instead of tiles? Rather than a traditional tiled splashback, you can create a feature wall using gallery-worthy wallpaper. Look for vinyl wallpaper, since it’s more likely to survive moisture; peel n’ stick wallpaper is appropriate for rental homes, as well. 

However, if your laundry is well-ventilated (via windows, skylight or an exhaust fan) paper wallpaper can work. Just be sure to prep your walls with a fungicide paste and mould-resistant adhesive. 

 

Laundry with light timber or veneer cabinetry with calacatta mosaic tiles
‘Edge Arch Taj’ Calacatta mosaics from Edge Tile & Stone give this Brisbane laundry the ‘wow’ factor. (Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

6. Go on, get the laundry splashback tiles you always wanted

Tiles are sold by square metre or per section. Providing your laundry splashback isn’t a monstrosity, you can probably afford to treat yourself to a high-end tile, since you won’t need vast quantities of it. If, in the past, you’ve updated a kitchen or bathroom with a cost-effective or ‘safe’ option (remember subway tiles?), the laundry splashback is your opportunity to splash out! 

If you haven’t been coveting a backsplash tile, look to trends for ideas. Currently confetti-like terrazzo, earthy Zellige tiles in colours such as terracotta, rich calacatta viola marble and chequerboard patterns are dominating Pinterest boards right now. 

White laundry with VJ panelled splashback and timber benchtop
VJ boards add character to this laundry splashback, complementing the timber benchtop, open shelving and classic chrome mixer perfectly. (Credit: Photography: Sue Stubbs)

7. Add charming VJ panels to your laundry splashback

Vertical-join panelling, or VJ boards, serve two purposes as a laundry splashback material: they look charming, evoking a country cottage or beachy Queenslander aesthetic; plus, the vertical grooves can give the illusion of height, making your ‘splash zone’ seem bigger than it is. VJ panels are often a much cheaper alternative to tiles, as well (bonus).

You can paint them almost any shade you like and you can DIY it over a weekend. While installing them vertically is popular, there’s nothing to stop you from laying VJ panels horizontally on your splashback if that’s to your taste. Shop around for a VJ panel that’s designed for wet areas.   

White and grey laundry with a terracotta tiled splashback
Pump up the volume with herringbone terracotta-coloured tiles, such as these from Eco Outdoor, in this bushland home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jessica Bellef)

8. Opt for a tactile terracotta splashback in the laundry

The owners of the 1950s home, above, had previously erred towards white, white and more white, and asked interior designer Anna Williams of Your Beautiful Home to nudge them out of their comfort zone. The brief was to also favour natural, organic textures and a warm nature-inspired colour palette. Hence, the terracotta splashback.

A twist on the subway tile, these perfectly imperfect terracotta bricks have been laid in a herringbone pattern, boosting the texture and dynamism of this luscious laundry. It’s certainly a splashback we could stare at for hours (well, three max). 

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