Scandinavian design is having a moment, and we’ve recently witnessed one trend, in particular, make its way across the Atlantic: the square subway tile. A staple in Swedish homes for both bathroom walls and kitchen backsplashes, the look is very friendly on the wallet and is a minimalist’s dream tile. It may be a budget staple in European Nordic homes, but stateside, it’s cropping up in the coolest spaces, from hotels and restaurants to luxury apartments. Paired with dark grout, pretty soap bottles, brass fixtures, and luxe bathrobes, these tiles will be all over Pinterest this year. If our predictions are correct, they may even replace subway tiles as the budget backsplash of choice. Keep scrolling for our favorite square-tiled rooms.
Pictured here as a built-in shelf styled with pretty bath products and luxe towels, this square ceramic tile is combined with a thicker-than-normal dark grout, giving it an edgy urban look. Better yet, these builder-grade white ceramic tiles can be purchased for as low as $1 per square foot. Are you sold yet?
Courtesy of Fantastic Frank
Since many bathrooms in old European buildings are very small, it’s customary to tile the entire walls and have an open shower. With a wet room concept, you could almost attempt your own wet sauna.
This bathroom features a half-tiled wall with an elegant double-black border. The black-and-white motif is repeated in the floors and in the chic, stitched satin hotel bathrobe hanging by the door. We call this instant sophistication.
The square subway tile pairs especially well with brass sconces and minimalistic fixtures. We absolutely adore these timeless angled sconces.
Courtesy of Alexander White
In this bathroom, another half wall is accented with a black border and paired with a black hexagonal-tile floor. The styling is kept simple, with only a few yellow accents to add a pop of color. Très chic.
Courtesy of Lovely Life
Half backsplashes sometimes bother me. I prefer when they stretch all the way to the ceiling. But in this colorful kitchen, the four simple sconces positioned above the backsplash make the height look intentional.
Square subway tiles pair great with open shelves. Antique silver platters and terra-cotta pots bring warmth and history to this minimalistic kitchen.
Another bathroom combines the white square subway tile, with a black hexagonal-tile floor. We love that the walls have a certain glossiness, but the floor is kept matte. Aesop soap bottles always make a bathroom look exponentially better, too.
While you wouldn’t necessarily imagine pairing a minimalistic white ceramic tile with an ornate floral wallpaper, we think it works particularly well in this old-meets-new kitchen. The tile is stretched to the ceiling on one side and stops midway by a wood picture railing on the other.
A floor-to-ceiling wall of white ceramic tile frames the views of the adjacent home office in this Scandinavian kitchen. The mix of vintage, antique, and modern accents gives the rooms a lived-in feel.
Hello, black appliances! The glazed ceramic tiles and warm black and brass accents soften up this kitchen. We especially love the dusty pink accents thrown into the mix!
In another kitchen, the tiled backsplash stopped with a thin brass border, adding a dash of elegance to the space. The saddle leather pulls and blackened cabinets also add to the chic factor.
Looking for more? Top interior designers say these will be 2018's biggest tile trends.
This story was originally published on March 3, 2016, and has since been updated.