To Upstand or Not?

25th February 2023

To Upstand or not? In my line of work as a glass splashback designer, I encounter upstands on a daily basis. Read on to find out more about what these are and when to use them.

What is an Upstand?

Upstands are the bit at the back of a worktop that goes against the wall. It usually matches the worktop and will be of the same material, e.g. granite, laminate, corian or stainless steel. Although it can be made of glass or tiles too. What makes it different from a splashback is the height; an up-stand is usually 100mm high – any higher than 200mm and it’s a splashback! They are used as an alternative to, or as well as a splashback, giving some protection to your painted wall but not as much as a full splashback.To Upstand or Not?

Upstands and Splashbacks

In this Journal post I want to explore the combination of using a glass splashback and stone worktop together, and what looks better when executing the design. Personally, I think if you are having an upstand and a splashback it is entirely up to you whether you sit the glass above the upstand, or leave a gap for the glass to go in between the upstands. What I  would strongly recommend is thinking about what you want from the look, when you are at the stage of designing your kitchen design. The glass splashback you choose and the worktop material should inform your choice.

Styling Ideas

For ideas – here are a few of my clients’ kitchens who have used both up-stands and my patterned glass splashbacks. They should give you an idea of what is possible. In the following projects a gap has been left for the glass splashback to sit in between the up-stand and they work really well.

Splashbacks between the Upstand

Julie had my classic ‘Foxglove’ design and the white of her upstand gives the ‘Foxglove’ a real focus.

Sophie’s kitchen below looks great with a gap left in the upstand for her bespoke splashback. With this design, the result would be successful either with or without an upstand. View more of my bespoke splashback designs here.

In these projects the splashback is sat on top of the up-stand when installed.

Splashbacks above the Upstand

Here the ‘Foxglove’ splashback with the up-stand looks great because of the whole design of the space; it is framed above by the extractor hood and cupboards and to the edges by the metro tiles.

The contrast of the red in the ‘Poppy’ with the black up-stand in this example is dramatic and eye catching.

In the example below, the matt grey against this gold bespoke design looks really good. In Karin’s kitchen I enhanced the feature of the upstand by sitting two rogue birdies that had escaped the lighting cage and flown away to be part of the design.

When to refrain from using an Upstand

However, the last few bespoke patterned glass splashbacks I’ve illustrated below, although they make great focal points, could have benefitted from having a gap left in between the upstand and splashback. The reason I say this is because both designs have vertical stem shoots as part of the original painted design. The stem design works well with the vertical surface of the glass meeting the horizontal surface of the worktop – simulate the more natural look of plants growing out of the ground.


What do you think?

So, upstand or splashback, gap or no gap? Considering the details of the design are something that designers and fitters instinctively think about. However, if you are new to planning a kitchen,  I recommend you take some time to consider where you put your upstands and splashbacks, and whether you will incorporate one or more of them at the initial kitchen fitting stage. Other details that thinking about this issue will raise are the placement of sockets and lighting potentially. I’m happy to discuss projects as part of my splashback service.

If you are after more technical advice, check out my post on How to Measure for a Splashback with more coming soon. There’s plenty of inspiration posts in terms of looks you can achieve on my Journal.

Tag me!

Have you recently invested in one of my splashback designs? Share your finished look on my instagram page @emmabrittondecorativeglass #emmabrittonsplashbacks. It’s great to see the different styling choices that my clients make.

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