Before you panic, yes of course we’re still all about subway tile, I mean, what’s not to love?! It’s a simple, clean, and effortless look. It goes with so many different styles from industrial masculine to farmhouse chic. And, bonus, it’s timeless (which can’t always be said for tile as anyone who had a pepto-bismol pink bathroom in a college rental can attest to!) But sometimes you just want to change it up, and I get that. So today I’ve pulled together six subway tile alternatives for your kitchen backsplash.
Colored Subway Tile
If you like overall look of subway tile, but find it a tad on the boring side, try a different color! This change-up is especially fun for a vacation home (like the light blue tile pictured below for a beach house) or a second kitchen. I like to experiment with new things in those lesser used spaces and punchy-colored tile is a great way to do that.
Patterned cement tile is enjoying it’s heyday right now and I loooove it. If you’re able to keep the other details in the room to a minimum, a fun patterned backsplash is a good way to incorporate some color and style. The first two pictures below are great examples of this bold choice. But keep in mind that not all patterned tiles are made of cement. The third picture is an example of terra cotta patterned tile which gives a more rustic, handmade look that works well in some spaces.
A subtle way to update the standard subway tile look is to simply change it’s shape. Subway tile is most often found in white ceramic, with Cararra marble being a close second. Both of these finishes can be found in tiles approximately the same size as standard subway tile (6″ x 3″) but in a different shape. Below are some examples. I included a diamond pattern (for a more glamorous look), a fish scale pattern (for a more playful look), a hexagon pattern (for a more mid-century look) and a Moroccan pattern (for a more cultural look). Square subway tile, often paired with dark grout, is also becoming more popular these days thanks to Scandinavian design influences.
Shiplap is becoming so popular these days thanks to a certain popular HGTV show, and one of my favorite places to see it is in a kitchen. I think this alternative backsplash choice is best when carried to the ceiling, as shown in the two pictures below.
Other tile material options include stainless steel or stone. Both of these memorable looks are statement-making and bold. A way to keep them from overtaking your space is to limit them to behind the cooktop. An entire kitchen of shiny stainless steel tiles might be a bit much, but installed just behind a range could make for a cool change of scenery.
But in the end, if you decide that you still love your good old subway tile (I mean, it’s a classic) you can always change up how it is installed. We are used to seeing an offset pattern, but that isn’t your only choice. Check out the various options below for some inspiration!
I hope these subway tile alternatives helped inspire some thinking outside of the box for your next kitchen project! Happy tiling!