Could This Be the Next Subway Tile?

Updated 05/02/18

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.

Subway Tiles
Jonas Berg

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?

Parachute Classic Bath Sheet $39
Subway Tile Ideas
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.

Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash
Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash $39
Square Subway Tiles
Petra Bindel

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.

Home Depot Daltile Semi-Gloss White Ceramic Wall Tile $1
Square Subway Tile Ideas
Romain Chirat for Design Sponge

The square subway tile pairs especially well with brass sconces and minimalistic fixtures. We absolutely adore these timeless angled sconces.

Schoolhouse Electric Princeton Freshman Sconce $139
Square Subway Tiles in Bathrooms
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.

CB2 Victory Leather Mirror $179
Square Subway Tiles in Kitchens
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.

Schoolhouse Electric U/1 Sconce $39
Subway Tiles in Kitchens
Anders Bergstedt

Square subway tiles pair great with open shelves. Antique silver platters and terra-cotta pots bring warmth and history to this minimalistic kitchen.

Terrain Earth Fired Clay Thin Rim Pot + Saucer $4
Subway Tiles in Bathrooms
Anders Bergstedt

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.

Add Aesop soap bottles to quickly and easily make your bathroom look exponentially better.

Home Depot Merola Tile Hexatile Matte Nero $22
Subway Tile Ideas in Kitchens
Anders Bergstedt

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.

Anthropologie Lepidoptera Wallpaper $218
Subway Tile Trends
Petra Bindel

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.

Decode Heavy Pendant, Large $475
Square Subway Tile Trend
Petra Bindel

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!

Rejuvenation Nicolle Counter Stool With Back $369 $295
Square Subway Tile Backsplashes
Jonas Berg

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.

Made Measure Leather 01 Handles Saddle Tan $19

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.

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