This is How to Rock a Beautiful Subway Tile Backsplash

Updated 06/28/19

Although kitchens can feel completely utilitarian, their aesthetic shouldn't be overlooked. Given how much traffic this room gets, it's only right that you give your kitchen some interior design love. After you've picked your appliances, found an accent rug, and chosen the perfect cabinets, it's time to consider the backsplash.

Subway tile backsplashes have long been an interior staple—and for good reason. Subway tiles are equally fresh and timeless, and there's a wide spectrum of variations, so it's easy to find tiles that align with your aesthetic. You can opt for luxe materials, like marble, or vary your layout with a herringbone or crosshatch design instead of the traditional horizontal stack. If you're not sure what type of subway tile is right for your space, then check out these stunning kitchens for all the inspiration you'll need.

subway tile kitchen
Alyssa Rosenheck

This dreamy kitchen appears bright and expansive thanks to its all-white motif. The subway tiles blend together without heavy grout defining each line. Using subtle grout means you can play with different tile patterns without overwhelming your design. Achieve this look by laying tiles in a straight herringbone design.

Distressed Arabesque Wool Rug
West Elm Distressed Arabesque Wool Rug $199 $150
Shop
kitchen backsplashes
Jessica White DESIGN: Studio McGee

Marble never goes out of style and it'll instantly give your kitchen a luxe upgrade. Depending on the vein variation you choose, you can make the design bold and eye-catching or subtle and understated.

Rejuvenation Rose City Fitter Single Sconce $199 $159
Shop
kitchen subway tile
Stefani Stein

This kitchen features a traditional subway tile design with visible grout that draws the eye toward the tiles. Using darker grout is a great way to add definition and visual intrigue to your design, especially when it complements black accents like those pictured here.

Capitol Large Black Bell Pendant Light
CB2 Capitol Large Black Bell Pendant Light $299
Shop
kitchen backsplashes
Melissa Lee DESIGN: Bespoke Only

Here, marble subway tiles take on a straight herringbone design. The two elements make the backsplash unique, and the darker marble flows effortlessly with the rest of the design features in the kitchen. If you don't want to commit to a backsplash design that goes from the counter to the ceiling, try dividing the wall between a backsplash and crown molding. Both are classic design elements and look gorgeous when positioned near each other. Add a chandelier and this look is yours.

Leif Farmhouse Serving Board $48
Shop
subway tile backsplash ideas
Sarah Sherman Samuel

Don't have quite as much square footage as you'd like? No sweat. The shiny offset subway tiles in this glossy kitchen contrast beautifully with the wood countertops, and their sheen makes this small kitchen feel much bigger.

Barn Light Electric Porcelain Enamelware Nesting Bowls $130
Shop
subway tile backsplash
BHDM

For a sophisticated look that goes against the trend of the all-white kitchen, match dark cabinets and appliances with a moody backsplash. This kitchen features black tiles in a traditional herringbone design, but you can change it up with a crosshatch or vertical design to go with the color of your choice.

Rejuvenation Upton Cabinet Knob $21
Shop
kitchen décor
Katherine Carter

While you may want to show off your subway tile, don't be afraid to hang shelves on them. In fact, shelves can highlight the tile. Here, wooden shelves add dimension and play off the rustic wooden floorboards in an otherwise white space. The offset tiles with visible grout blend seamlessly into the existing décor for a chic look.

Translucent Bubble Vase
Anthropologie Translucent Bubble Vase $14
Shop
kitchen backsplashes
Alyssa Rosenheck

For a modern look, get inspired by this bold kitchen design. The backsplash appears clean and glossy as tiles travel up the wall and around high windows. Play with various heights and hues, and don't be afraid to contrast dark cabinets with light tiles—the juxtaposition can be ultra-compelling.

Riviera Backless Counter Stool - Natural
Serena & Lily Riviera Backless Counter Stool, Natural $238
Shop

This post was originally published on January 10, 2018, and has since been updated.

Related Stories