15 Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas to Beautify Your Kitchen

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FeastHome – A subway tile backsplash can give your kitchen a classic touch right away. It is no secret that subway tiles are the most popular tiles for backsplash. Their long sleek rectangular shape, shiny white color, and thin grout lines make them a favorable choice of many homeowners.

The main purpose of a kitchen backsplash is probably to protect your wall from liquids, particularly water. Nevertheless, it also works as a décor focal point that defines the style of your kitchen. At this point, subway tiles make a good choice for you.

While you never go wrong using subway tiles for backsplash, it does not mean that you can apply them without care. From laying them in herringbone design to adding patterned ceramic, there are some good ways to make them a major design appeal.

To give you some inspirations, check out these 15 creative backsplash ideas with subway tiles by FeastHome.

Classic White Subway Tile

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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These white subway tiles are a great way to get a vintage look in your kitchen. Unbelievably, a backsplash with classic white subway tiles is capable of transforming the atmosphere in the kitchen in a snap.

White subway tiles may come in either shiny or matte finish. If you want something less reflective, opt for the matte finish ones. In terms of materials, your white subway tiles can be made of porcelain and ceramics.

There are other materials as well, such as glass and natural stone. With countless options, your backsplash can exactly get what it is supposed to be.

White Subway Tile Backsplash with Grey Grout

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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It is no secret that white subway tile is cheap and goes well with everything. It allows for some diversity through the grout color and pattern installed in between. White subway tile backsplash with grey grout is among the most favorite choices.

You can even go for covering the rest of the walls like shown in the picture. With the use of white tiles like this, you can instantly brighten up your kitchen without spending a lot. It can come in handy if your kitchen has limited natural lighting.

Instead of grey grout, you can go for other colors as well. You can opt for brown or other dark colors to highlight the white subway tiles.

Marble Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway Tile Backsplash

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Opting for new material is a good idea to make your backsplash stands out. Marble is one of the best material options you have. Of course, you can extend your granite or marble countertops onto your backsplash in a single slab.

However, if you want a more cost-effective approach, install individual tiles made of marble as shown in the picture. These marble subway tiles can make any kitchen look more elegant.

Marble subway tile is different from one to another. It tends to have unique vein patterns, markings, and disparities in shade and color. That is why it delivers beauty and high class, which only natural stone can provide.

Besides, marble subway tile is also available in various finishes, which your kitchen’s interior can easily blend. For a gleaming appearance, opt for polished options. However, if you prefer a weathered look, go for tumbled tiles.

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There is also a charming range of color available because marble tiles vary from black to white. Just remember sealing them properly is necessary. If you buy tiles, which differ in length and width, install them in vertical layout or a stacked to conceal the flaws.

Subway Tile Backsplash Herringbone Pattern

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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Do you love the neutral tone of subway tile and want to stick with a white backsplash? Then, consider laying them on a unique pattern like this herringbone design. Any white tile may similarly contribute to the kitchen’s color scheme and design.

However, at a closer look, this is not the same subway tile. Install your white subway tiles in a unique herringbone pattern for a visual twist in your kitchen. Opt for white grout if you want a clean, white appearance.

In case you want to emphasize the visual appearance, opt for a darker grout. Then, go all the way to the ceilings to achieve a classic yet stylish look.

Glass Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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This kind of subway tile is famous for its capability to give a splash of color to the backsplash. They come in nearly every shade and color you can think of. You can even find hand-painted options on the market.

As shown in the picture above, the sage green glass subway tile delivers a twist of color in this kitchen. It makes an interesting focal point in this mainly grey color scheme.

Some glass subway tiles come in solid colors just like the picture. Nevertheless, others can be translucent with a white backing. This is what makes them shine and give a gem-like radiance.

Moreover, glass is very sturdy and durable. It is capable to handle high heat as well. That is why it makes a safe choice for your kitchen backsplash. Moreover, it is also resistant to water. As a result, it is suitable to use behind the sink.

Gray Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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White subway tiles with gray grout look outstanding, but so do gray tiles with white grout. With white countertop and dark taupe cabinet, this kitchen backsplash delivers a good complement for sure.

The white grout outlines make the gray subway tiles look beautiful. Besides, installing this type of color is often a great move since it blends well with the dirt and dust.

You can cover the entire walls with gray subway tiles for a more impactful look. You can use other decorative elements like colorful kitchen utensils to splash color on the walls.

Subway Tile Backsplash Pictures

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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If you are looking for a unique backsplash that makes your kitchen different from others, this picture makes a great inspiration. These mirrored metallic subway tiles are a great alternative to the traditional white tiles.

They can lend a luxury or industrial style depending on your kitchen design. Then, the mirror finish brings out a glossy reflective surface, which can highlight even more when having contact with natural light.

To maximize the appearance, you can take advantage of lighting to deliver a dramatic effect. During the day, make sure the backsplash receives enough natural sunlight to help brighten up the kitchen.

At night, add some of your lighting fixtures to benefit the mirrored backsplash. For instance, you can go for under cabinet lighting.

Black Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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Are you in love with the black and white color scheme? You can infuse this elegant color scheme in the kitchen by introducing black subway tiles on the backsplash. Keep everything in white and let the backsplash stands out with its black color.

Consider extending the backsplash by covering the entire wall above your kitchen cabinet in black subway tiles. It will bring out a dramatic look you are looking for.

If you opt for black subway tiles, pay attention to contrast so that it will look good. For this reason, you may like to go for white grout rather than the typical black.

This way, the contrasting color would highlight your black subway tiles. Thus, it can portray a very clean appearance, which many homeowners would love.

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Green Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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An obvious approach to add a personal touch in your backsplash is by putting basic white subway tiles aside and choosing your favorite color instead. If you love green, go for it!

Many homeowners may overlook green subway tile since they are not aware that it looks remarkable. Green subway tiles are capable to deliver a sense of tranquility and relaxation in your kitchen. Therefore, it should be a great option after all.

You can use this picture as a good inspiration to install green subway tiles. This green backsplash looks great against the wooden cabinetry and metal stoves. For a more modern appeal, consider going for green tiles made from glass.

You can also choose other shades of green, such as sage, olive, mint, lime, and emerald green. Simply opt for something you like the most.

Subway Tile Backsplash Colors

Subway Tile Backsplash

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When it comes to subway tiles, you can feel free to play around with a mix of colors to create a unique look. If green is not your favorite color, go for bright red subway tiles like this kitchen.

This kitchen is mainly painted in white. For a splash of color, red subway tiles are installed in the backsplash. The tiles are installed with white grout to emphasize the pattern. The glossy finish make, moreover, delivers a strong feeling in a kitchen.

Aside from modern design, this red subway tile will work well in your classic rustic style. Nevertheless, instead of a glossy finish, go for a matte one. It would appear like an exposed brick wall from distance.

Blue Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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You do not need to stick to only one color to create an outstanding backsplash. For a much-unexpected look, you can simply mix several hues of the same color just like this beautiful kitchen.

In this kitchen, blue subway tiles with various levels of saturation are installed together by solid blue lower cabinets and white upper cabinets. This blue-tiled backsplash displays a homey mood. Thus, it makes the kitchen feel like an exciting yet relaxing and cool place.

You can follow the way the blue subway tiles here are arranged randomly to achieve an attractive appearance. Besides, you can put one or two decorations in orange or other contrasting colors for a burst of energy.

Subway Tile Backsplash with Accent

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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Do you want to make your classic white backsplash even more interesting? Then, adding a single, metallic stripe like this could be a good choice. This accent creates a streamlined look in your usual white tile backsplash.

The design of this kitchen is completed by the horizontal drawer pulls and a sleek range hood, making it appears modern yet classic.

If you want to try this idea, make sure to choose an accent that has a similar color with other elements in the kitchen. Like shown above, the accent has a similar color to the drawer pulls.

Subway Tile Backsplash Sheets

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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Using subway tile sheets is one of the easiest ways to get stunning backsplash in a snap. Since they come in sheets, it would be faster and easier to install, especially when you want to have a particular pattern.

To complete its warm feeling, this kitchen comes with a striking backsplash boasting a combination of different brown shades. Get subway tile sheets will skip the trouble to achieve this interesting look.

For a more practical option, there is even a peel-and-stick tile, which can update your kitchen décor instantly. These adhesive-backed vinyl or plastic squares mimic the look of traditional subway tile.

However, they are very easy to install since you do not need to deal with grout, mortar, or any other. There is no need to take care of messy substance as well.

Beveled Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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Many people love this type of subway tiles too. The beveled subway tile is often referred to as the “three-dimensional subway tiles” since it delivers an illusion of being like that. This effect is improved by lighting and shadows, which occur due to the angles made in opposing edges.

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This beveled subway tile makes a good alternative for the usual ones. It can also give your backsplash that clean and appealing look. Just like the classic subway tiles, it also comes with a range of color options.

Even though white is the most common subway tile color, it is not impossible to get beveled tiles in a variety of bright and neutral solids. You can go with colored beveled subway tiles to add a modern touch to your backsplash concept.

Subway Tile Backsplash Pattern

Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas

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For an interesting twist, you can combine two patterns on your backsplash just like this all-white kitchen. You can have a herringbone pattern behind the stove and keep the rest in the usual one. You can consider using other colored subway tiles for the area with a herringbone pattern as well.

Keep in mind that you have countless ways to decorate your backsplash. There are no rules on how you create your backsplash as well. Thus, do not be afraid to play with your subway tiles.

FAQs

What is subway tile backsplash?

Generally, subway tile is small to medium-sized and has a rectangular shape. Subway tile is available in nearly any type of backsplash materials, from glass to ceramic to high-end granite.

Why is subway called subway tile?

The original subway tile was called that way due to its white color, glossy glazed finish, and extremely thin grout lines. It is initially employed as the wall surface standard in New York subway train stations in the early 20th century.

Is subway tile going out of style?

In general, this classic, neutral pick never goes out of style. This affordable choice remains popular nowadays regardless of the trends in interior design.

How much does it cost to install a subway tile backsplash?

The average total cost to install a subway tile backsplash is $650 – $712.50 for basic materials and installation. For better materials and installation, you may need to spend around $767.50 – $787.50.

On the other hand, the best material and installation should cost around $450 – $875. Keep in mind that the average cost may vary depending on your region.

How long does it take to install subway tile backsplash?

On average, an experienced tile setter can install 35-40 square feet of kitchen backsplash on 5-6 hours. An extra couple of hours might be needed for grout application and cleaning up the job site afterward.

How big should your subway tiles be?

For kitchen backsplash, the popular size is 3×6” with the classic 1:2 ratio. If you go for contrasting grout color, smaller tile size may look a bit busy.

Go with a larger version of the same ratio as a 4×8” tile if there is a bigger area. However, this size isn’t very popular, so you may have limited selection only.

Do I need spacers for subway tile?

Since most subway tiles have grooves on the sides, you do not have to use spacers at all. There would be an automatic 1/16-inch grout line.

What do you use to clean subway tiles?

You can use a mix of white distilled vinegar, a mild dish soap, and regular tap water to clean subway tiles.


That is all some of the ideas that you can take into account when thinking of using subway tiles in your kitchen. Subway tiles are capable to brighten up even the dimmest rooms. It could instantly deliver an elegant look in your kitchen as well.

There is no special rule that defines how to install subway tiles for your kitchen backsplash. Thus, you should not be afraid of using your creativity and style while decorating your backsplash with these tiles. Finally, hope you find your best match among these ideas of subway tile backsplash!

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