Six Ways with Subway Tile

Posted by Anastasia Casey on

kitchen with subway tile

Design by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design | Photo by Lincoln Barbour

Think Beyond a Backsplash

In a modern take on a period kitchen, the materials matter, and in this new space in a Victorian home, it's the tile that gives authenticity to the room. When taken to the ceiling, classic subway tile lends a historic note, reminiscent of European utilitarian rooms. You might think the bold design move would feel cold, but cladding walls in anything other than sheetrock is always the cozy move.

Shop our similar style: Chelsea Bianco

laundry room with mini subway tile

Design by W Design Collective | Photo by Lucy Call

Scale it Down

The easiest way to change the look is to choose a smaller (or larger!) scale tile in a classic form. Large tiles are ideal for bigger walls like showers, while small mosaics fit nicely on a backsplash. Keep in mind that smaller tile = more grout lines so this application is best in a spot that won't need frequent scrubbing.

Shop our similar style: Mini Brick Glass Mosaic

shower with subway and penny tile

Design by Samantha Stein Interiors | Photo by Caroline Sharpnack

Add an Accent Tile

One of the more widely available and inexpensive options, subway tile is a good budget choice for large-scale projects. To bring a little interest, consider adding a contrasting tile to your pattern, like this black penny tile border. The designer capitalized on contrast to add pattern and drama to an otherwise classic and straightforward shower.

Shop our similar styles: Classic White 4.25x10, RT Penny

shower with subway tile in crosshatch pattern

Design by House of Jade Interiors | Photo by Lindsay Salazar

Try a New Pattern

An offset brick layer's pattern is the classic choice, but if you are looking for something a little less conventional, you're in luck! Rectangular tiles are of the most versatile options for trying out new patterns, which range from classic (think herringbone) to fun (like the crosshatch pattern, above). If you'd like some more ideas, check out our previous post on the subject: 5 Ways to Lay Rectangular Tile

Shop our similar styles: Handcraft White

bath with dark subway tile

Design by Heidi Caillier Design | Photo by Haris Kenjar

Consider Color

The classic material gets a big update when in colorful iterations. While other tile shapes may feel trendy or of-the-moment, the traditional shape and scale of subway tile maintains its appeal in almost any color. We love the way the white marble and brass fittings pop against the moody, dark tile in this Seattle bathroom.

Shop our similar style: Country Blue 2.5x8 Ceramic

kitchen with subway tile range hood

Design and photo by Chris Loves Julia

Go Handcrafted

If you are looking for a slightly softer look than stark white, a handcrafted tile might be a good choice. The subtle color variations bring a tonal quality to this Utah kitchen, which features white and light wood cabinetry with just hints of contrast. Tiling the range hood is another stylish choice, which keeps the eye moving around the room, and of course, really shows off that beautiful tile.

Shop our similar style: Handcraft Creme

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