Subway tile – what originated along the walls of the first New York Subway system in the early 1900’s has quickly become a design staple – sleek 3X6, brick laid, rectangular tiles with little space in between intended for easy cleaning and a classic aesthetic. And while subway tile will never truly go out of style, when seen in bathrooms and kitchens over and over, again, it can definitely get a little tired. 

To keep the punch in your next new build or remodeling project, here are five ways to reinvent this classic look:

ADD CONTRAST

Mixing a white tile with a dark grout (I love Custom brand #09 Natural Grey) or a dark grey tile (especially in a white kitchen to ground it) with a lighter grout (Try Custom brand #386 Oyster Grey) will add instant impact to your space. 

Above: A dark grey grout gives added interest to these white subway tile walls in this Mountain Modern bathroom.
Suzanne McAleer Design

SUBWAY TILE SQUARED

My current obsession and being installed in three bathrooms I’m completing this month (excited to share photos soon) is the square subway, still laid in a brick set pattern. A totally different take that feels even more cheery than the traditional rectangle.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 This 4X4 tile adds a slightly whimsical feel to this more modern shower.

Elizabeth Roberts Architecture & Design

ADD A HERRINGBONE

To create a completely different look, try arranging in this more trendy and eye-catching pattern. This approach packs a punch so try to use a slightly lighter grey grout so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This interesting  pattern pairs perfectly with a simple paired down vanity and wall-mount cross handle faucets.

Sarah Sherman Samuel

STRAIGHTSET SUBWAY TILE

Throw the brick set to the curb and embrace a more clean and perfectly stacked look. Perfect for a more modern bathroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The straightset white subway tile is a fantastic backsplash for this high contrast kitchen.

Park and Oak

CREATE AN ACCENT WALL

Introduce another element in your shower by combining subway with an accent wall in a completely different type of tile. This will keep the space from feeling too one-note but still embrace the classic look.

 

 

 The straightset  tile paired with the larger scale black hex makes a stunning statement in this shower.

Via Country Floors

 

Need help designing your home’s kitchen or baths? Contact us! We’d love to discuss how we can partner with you!