Subway tiles are timeless – there’s a reason I come back to them again and again. They look super clean, and because of their simplicity, subway tile backsplash fits into a wide variety of styles.
A subway tile backsplash worked well for us when I was into vintage style, and it still works great in our home now that I’m leaning into a more modern California casual look.
I’m always drawn to ultra-versatile features that will withstand the test of time!
Finding The Perfect Tiles
For our kitchen renovation, I decided to do open shelving on either side of the sink and tile all the way up to the ceiling. It made a HUGE visual impact!
But, of course, this required a ton of tile. I needed to find something that was affordable(ish) without skimping on style!
I originally said I didn’t want subway tile, but as I looked at options, I kept coming back to this particular white subway tile. It has a classic simplicity while adding a unique flair with differing shades of white.
These tiles were the key to making a gorgeous backsplash!
I opted for the 2.5″ x 8″ tile in white. I loved that the white color would give us a clean look to let the open shelves pop, while still being a different shade than your typical solid variation. I also love how shiny these tiles are – they have a stunning sheen!
To make things interesting and keep with the clean look I was going for, I opted to stack the tiles even and vertically.
In the past, I always stacked my tiles horizontally, but I wanted to create the illusion of height in the kitchen and draw the eye upwards – the result was really effective!
I love this little bit of added visual interest and so do our guests! We get tons of compliments on our tiles, and it has quickly become my favorite spot in the kitchen!
Choosing Grout For Our Subway Tile Backsplash
A dark-gray grout is usually my go-to. We went with gray in our shower on a previous bathroom remodel because it is easier to keep clean than lighter grouts.
But I wanted the tile in this kitchen to look super clean, so I went with a white color.
So far, the grout remains in perfect condition! It’s been almost six months, and there aren’t any stains.
5 Ways To Make Subway Tile Backsplash More Interesting
Though white subway tile is a staple in home design and looks great as is, there are so many ways that you can make it your own!
1. Play With Color
White subway tile has become the norm. And though it is beautiful, you don’t have to stick with the classic white color.
Make your subway tile backsplash a statement piece by choosing a colorful tile that speaks to you and your style!
2. Utilize Grout
Grout can change the look of your tile in a dramatic way! Create a bold effect by choosing a contrasting grout color. Or go the opposite route and choose a grout color that matches your tile for a simpler, cleaner look.
3. Think In New Directions
Consider how the direction of your tiles can change their impact! Most subway tiles are placed horizontally, so choosing a vertical pattern like we did can add an unexpected touch. You can add even more visual interest by opting for a diagonal or herringbone pattern.
4. Experiment With Material
Consider swapping the classic ceramic tile for a glass material! Glass tiles can vary in opaqueness which makes them really fun!
Depending on how translucent your tile is, the glass can provide good play with color and dimension! Lay translucent tile over a colorful surface for a dreamy, muted pop of color.
You can also find glass tiles with different textures. Playing with texture is a great way to add interest to a monochromatic room.
5. Consider Size
The size of the tile can also make a big difference. A smaller tile could add a bit more depth and interest than a larger, more simplistic tile.
FAQs about DIY Subway Tile Backsplash
Absolutely not! There’s a big difference between fashionable and trendy. And while subway tiles are certainly popular right now, they aren’t a passing trend. Subway tiles are a timeless feature because of their clean, classic look. They’ve been beloved by home decorators for years, and I doubt this will ever change!
Though our tastes evolve and develop over time, subway tiles just seem to fit! Their clean lines make them extremely versatile. Combining this with their customization potential makes them the go-to choice for a backsplash.
Adding a classic subway tile to a modern or industrial kitchen will look minimal and chic. Choosing textured or colored subway tiles for a more bohemian or country-style kitchen will look fresh and fun!
Subway tiles are the chameleons of the renovation world!
These tiles are extremely popular and should be available at most hardware stores. When in doubt, the internet is your friend!
The simplistic lines of subway tiles make for easy and intuitive installation. It’s something that you can absolutely DIY with a bit of gumption (and a whole lot of grout!)
You can see my process of tiling my shower here.
Not in my experience! I think part of what makes subway tiles so popular is that they are really easy to take care of. Ceramic subway tiles are smooth and stain-resistant, making them easy to clean with a wet, soapy rag. Their glossy finish reflects light and always looks super vibrant!
Note: If you choose a different textured tile, cleaning grooves may take a bit more time! Still, both ceramic and glass tiles are most often low-maintenance.
White Subway Tile: Conclusion
I am so pleased with how our subway tile backsplash turned out. It has all the classic, timeless components I love as well as some personal touches that make it a standout piece in our kitchen!