There are many differences between flooring tiles and wall tiles. The materials used may be similar or the same in some cases, but floor tiles are supposed to be much sturdier. Wall tiles can be more decorative. Kitchen wall tiles are not merely a decor but also serve an important function, that of protecting the actual wall from the exposure to stains, heat, oil and various kinds of emissions or fumes. Kitchen wall tiles make cleaning easy and they help with the restoring of the aesthetics. This makes one wonder if kitchen wall tiles should be omnipresent or if they should be confined to being back-splashes or partial dado.
Kitchen wall tiles must adorn the portions of the wall along the counter top. You should have back-splashes for the skin and adjoining area as well. These back-splashes are utilitarian and decorative. Such back-splashes are not necessary on the other walls in the kitchen, say where you would have the refrigerator aligned with or where you have the cabinets installed. You may consider other types of kitchen wall tiles on such spaces. But whether or not you need it is a different matter.
Ideally, you should have kitchen wall tiles all around. Wherever you have some parts of the wall exposed, tiles can offer an extra layer of protection and they also accentuate the decor. There will be parts of the walls that would not be exposed. Cabinets installed or firmly hoisted along the walls will act as a natural protection. There may be other fixtures that would be installed into the walls. Such places are difficult to tile. You may opt for tiles at the outset, before the fixtures are installed on or into the walls. You cannot do much after they are in place. If you are remodelling your kitchen, then you can easily attend to the exposed walls but not those that are concealed behind the many installations.
Going for kitchen wall tiles for all parts that are bare, and they may be painted will be wise since it is not just the back-splash that gets exposed to various kinds of stains and especially fumes. You may have a hob and chimney installed. That would not really get rid of all the fumes in an instant. There would be some residual impact on the other walls. These portions may get discoloured and look dated in due course of time. Kitchen wall tiles can prevent such aesthetic wrinkles.