What backsplash and kitchen trends from Europe and Spain can people in the States use?
European design doesn't always incorporate wall cabinets, which allows the wall tile to be the focal point in the room.
David Portales, Spanish Tile Association: Cabinets and countertops used to be the main focal point or star of the kitchen. More and more designers are limiting the use of upper cabinets. Instead one entire wall of the kitchen is dedicated to a floor to ceiling cabinet similar to a wall unit. This full height unit easily replaces the lost storage and often houses one or two wall ovens. The remaining three walls have either no upper cabinets or have completely open shelving units. The open wall surface from the countertop to the ceiling becomes a blank canvas and can provide a new major focal point in kitchen design and ceramic tile is at the top of the list of preferred finish material. Therefore, it makes sense to design that space as a wide focal point rather than a supporting design element.
Verdict: If you want a backsplash to be the main attraction in your kitchen, try limiting the amount of wall cabinets in your room.