Creative Options for Subway Tile

by Karianne WoodApril 25, 2017

With so many new and varied tile choices on the market, subway tile is often overlooked for more glamorous options. It’s easy to get distracted by the bright and shiny new tiles on the block, but don’t put subway tile on the shelf just yet. It’s time for a little creativity. With an average price of under $10 per square foot, you might want to give this utilitarian tile a second look.

Here are some creative options for subway tile for your home.

1. Patterns

Traditionally, subway tile comes in 3″ x 6″ white rectangles. This size makes it easy to lay the tile in different patterns to fit any design style. Here are a few of the most basic patterns.

  • Brick pattern: This is the most basic of all the patterns. Tiles are laid horizontally and staggered to create the look of bricks. Every other row repeats the same pattern.

  • Horizontal pattern: This is a modern pattern with a simplistic repeat. The tiles are laid end-to-end vertically and stacked on top of each other. Tiles are not staggered with this design.

  • Herringbone pattern: This option is similar to the brick pattern, but tiles are laid on the diagonal instead. Each tile is centered on the next tile and so on. This pattern has an old-world, timeless feel to it.

  • Square pattern: The square pattern is slightly more complicated and shows off the versatility of subway tile. Two tiles are stacked and then placed next to a vertical tile. The pattern is then staggered and repeated on the next line.

2. Grout


Another way to mix it up with subway tile is to change grout colors. Here, the tiles have been placed on the wall within a brick pattern with a dark-colored grout. Grout comes in a variety of colors, including dark blue and vivid red. Changing out the grout with the same pattern can result in a completely different look for a tiled wall. Dark gray grout is a current trend with a retro nod to the past.

3. Built-in shelf

Adding a small built-in shelf to your shower, bath or kitchen area is another creative way to use subway tile. Build out a small shelf on the wall, cover with dry wall and then tile the shelf to match the rest of the wall. Here, a curved bullnose tile is used to cover the edge of the shelf.

Looking to add a little style to your bathroom or kitchen on a budget? Subway tile might just be the answer. Plan your pattern, your grout and any decorative tile additions to your subway tile wall and create your own unique spin on a classic design choice. is the place to dream and discover your ideal home! Are you starting to get the itch to look for your first or next home, but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! Browse our real estate and lifestyle blog for home buying tips, mortgage guides, DIY ideas, interior design, lifestyle topics, general home inspiration, or just some homes fun. We are sure you can scratch that itch and find all the information and tools you need to help in your home search. Want to start looking at available real estate right now? Head to our home page and check out homes for sale or rent listings all over the country.

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About The Author
Karianne Wood
KariAnne writes the lifestyle blog, Thistlewood Farm, from the back porch of her turn-of-the-century farmhouse in the beautiful rolling hills of Kentucky. Thistlewood Farm was awarded Country Living Decorating blog of the year as well as named one of the top 10 decorating blogs by Better Homes and Gardens. KariAnne loves to paint mismatched chairs, listen to the crickets singing in the back pasture, walk hand-in-hand with her knight-in-shining armor as the sun sets over the river and drink sweet tea with lime during a thunderstorm. And she has never met a decorating project she didn't like.