Did you realize that one of the easiest solutions to give your kitchen a high end look is to extend the same stone material of your counter top to your back splash. Not a typical 6-8" backsplash, but high. To 18-20", the underside of your upper cabinets or open shelving. It saves you hours of deliberating over just the right tile to coordinate to your counter top unless you like that sort of thing.
Tile is wonderful for adding texture and introducing more color variations to a kitchen scheme. The stone back splash keeps the scheme looking clean and minimal. Its a treatment that's different than the expected norm.
I will warn you that doing the tall stone backsplash does not come cheap. Natural stone runs at around $5k per slab and you need 3-4 slabs for a kitchen so imagine what adding even more material for the backsplash will do to your budget. If you notice in the second kitchen, we cheated a little with the panda slabs. We used it on the island and the backsplash, but used simple white Ceaserstone (at $1200 per slab) that matched the white background of the slabs for the back counter.
I thought I was one of the few that figured out this neat little shortcut to a luxe kitchen look, but no. I'm starting to see the idea spread -- a new trend perhaps?