A backsplash (the vertical portion of countertop material that rises above the countertop against the wall) can match, complement or contrast with the countertop. The standard backsplash is 4"high, but a taller backsplash can help make cleanup easier, especially above a cooktop or sinkwhere splashes are common.
The two main types of backsplashes are coved and set-on.
A coved backsplash is a seamless continuation of the countertop material, with a gently curved transition between countertop and backsplash.
A set-on backsplash is a separate piece of material - either matching or different from the countertop - attached to the countertop or wall with adhesive or grout. Ceramic tiles are particularly popular for set-on backsplashes. They bring color and texture to your kitchen. For a bold look, try a checkerboard pattern. For a rustic look, use solid-colored or patterned tiles in yellows, reds and blues. For a more refined appearance, consider earth-toned tiles in a diamond pattern.
Some countertop surfaces give you a choice of a coved or set-on backsplash. Others require a set-on backsplash. A store associate will be happy to explain which materials call for certain backsplash styles.