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Unleash Your Inner Designer: Subway Tile Ideas for a Stunning Bathroom

Posted by Mike Belk on Oct 20, 2023

Unleash Your Inner Designer: Subway Tile Ideas for a Stunning Bathroom

Transforming Your Bathroom with Subway Tiles

Subway tiles have long been a popular choice for bathroom renovations, thanks to their timeless appeal and versatility. These rectangular tiles, often associated with the subway stations of New York City, can effortlessly transform your bathroom into a stylish and sophisticated space. Let's explore the creative ways to incorporate subway tiles in your bathroom and unleash your inner designer.

The Timeless Appeal of Subway Tiles

Subway tiles have stood the test of time, remaining a staple in interior design. Their clean lines and classic look make them a perfect choice for a bathroom that exudes elegance and simplicity. Whether you opt for traditional white subway tiles or experiment with different colors and patterns, subway tiles can create a timeless backdrop that complements various styles and aesthetics.

The versatility of subway tiles extends beyond their aesthetic appeal. They are also practical and easy to clean, making them an excellent choice for bathroom walls and showers. Additionally, subway tiles can visually expand the space, making even small bathrooms feel more open and inviting.

Creative Ways to Incorporate Subway Tiles in Your Bathroom

While the traditional stacked layout of subway tiles remains a popular choice, there are numerous creative ways to use them in your bathroom. Let's explore a few ideas:

1. Herringbone Pattern

Create a captivating visual impact by installing subway tiles in a herringbone pattern. This arrangement adds a touch of sophistication and dimension to your bathroom walls or floors. The diagonal arrangement of the tiles can make the space appear larger and adds an interesting element of design. Consider pairing the herringbone pattern with contrasting grout to make the pattern stand out.

2. Subway Tile with Dark Grout

For a bold and contemporary look, consider using subway tiles with dark grout. The contrast between the tiles and the grout creates a striking visual effect, showcasing the individual tiles and adding depth to the overall design. This combination can be particularly effective when used as a focal point, such as a feature wall or shower niche.

3. Colorful Subway Tile Ideas

While white subway tiles are a classic choice, don't be afraid to introduce color into your bathroom design. Consider incorporating shades of blue for a tranquil and spa-like vibe or vibrant accent colors for a pop of personality. Alternatively, neutral tones can create a modern and minimalist look. Experiment with different color schemes to find the one that best suits your style and preferences.

By incorporating subway tiles into your bathroom design, you can create a space that is both visually appealing and functional. Whether you choose a traditional layout or experiment with unique patterns, subway tiles offer endless possibilities for transforming your bathroom into a stunning sanctuary.

Classic Subway Tile Patterns

Subway tiles are renowned for their timeless appeal and versatility in bathroom design. Whether you prefer a traditional or contemporary look, these classic subway tile patterns can elevate the style of your bathroom.

Traditional Stacked Layout

The traditional stacked layout is the most common and straightforward way to install subway tiles. This pattern involves laying the tiles in a simple horizontal or vertical arrangement, with each tile aligned perfectly next to one another. This clean and symmetrical layout creates a sleek and modern aesthetic, making it a popular choice for both traditional and contemporary bathrooms.

To add a touch of visual interest to the stacked layout, you can play with tile orientation. Consider installing the tiles vertically for a unique and elongated look. Alternatively, you can create a brick-like effect by offsetting the tiles in a staggered pattern. These variations can introduce subtle depth and texture to your bathroom walls.

Herringbone Pattern

For those looking to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to their bathroom, the herringbone pattern is an excellent option. This pattern features subway tiles arranged in a zigzag pattern, creating a visually captivating and dynamic effect. The interlocking tiles form a V-shaped pattern that adds depth and movement to the space.

To achieve the herringbone pattern, the tiles are typically installed at a 45-degree angle. This angled placement creates a striking visual impact and adds a sense of luxury to the bathroom. The herringbone pattern can be used to cover an entire wall or as a feature wall, adding a touch of personality to your space.

Subway Tile with Dark Grout

Another way to make a statement with subway tiles is by pairing them with dark grout. While most subway tile installations feature light-colored grout, opting for a contrasting dark grout can create a bold and eye-catching look. The dark grout lines act as an accent, highlighting the individual tiles and adding depth to the overall design.

When using dark grout with subway tiles, consider using lighter-colored tiles to create a striking contrast. This combination can make the tiles stand out, giving your bathroom a unique and contemporary appearance. It's important to note that dark grout may require more maintenance to keep it looking clean and free from discoloration.

By exploring these classic subway tile patterns, you can transform your bathroom into a stunning and stylish space. Whether you choose the traditional stacked layout, the intricate herringbone pattern, or the bold contrast of subway tiles with dark grout, subway tiles offer endless possibilities for creating a bathroom that reflects your personal style and taste.

Colorful Subway Tile Ideas

Subway tiles offer endless possibilities when it comes to adding color and personality to your bathroom. Whether you prefer a tranquil vibe, a pop of personality, or a modern and minimalist look, there is a subway tile option for you.

Shades of Blue for a Tranquil Vibe

If you're looking to create a serene and calming atmosphere in your bathroom, shades of blue subway tiles can be a perfect choice. From soft pastel blues to deep ocean hues, the various shades of blue can evoke a sense of tranquility and relaxation. Consider using these tiles as a backdrop for your shower or as an accent wall. The cool tones of blue will instantly transform your bathroom into a peaceful oasis.

Shade of BlueDescription
Sky BlueSoft and light, reminiscent of clear skies
AquaFresh and vibrant, resembling tropical waters
Navy BlueDeep and rich, evoking a sense of sophistication

Vibrant Accent Colors for a Pop of Personality

For those who want to infuse their bathroom with personality and energy, vibrant accent colors can make a bold statement. Subway tiles in shades of red, yellow, green, or even pink can add a playful and lively touch to your space. Consider using these colorful tiles as a border, a backsplash, or a focal point in your shower area. The vibrant colors will instantly bring life to your bathroom and showcase your unique style.

Accent ColorDescription
Ruby RedBold and passionate, adding drama to your space
Sunshine YellowCheerful and bright, creating a sunny atmosphere
Emerald GreenFresh and vibrant, reminiscent of the outdoors
Bubblegum PinkPlayful and fun, adding a touch of whimsy

Neutral Tones for a Modern and Minimalist Look

For a clean and contemporary aesthetic, subway tiles in neutral tones can create a modern and minimalist bathroom. Shades of white, gray, or beige can provide a timeless backdrop that complements any style of decor. These versatile tiles can be used for both walls and floors, allowing you to create a seamless and cohesive look. The neutral tones will give your bathroom a fresh and sophisticated ambiance.

Neutral ToneDescription
Pure WhiteCrisp and bright, creating a sense of cleanliness
Ash GrayCool and sleek, adding a touch of elegance
Sand BeigeWarm and inviting, providing a natural and earthy feel

By exploring the colorful possibilities of subway tiles, you can transform your bathroom into a stunning space that reflects your personal style. Whether you choose shades of blue for a tranquil vibe, vibrant accent colors for a pop of personality, or neutral tones for a modern and minimalist look, subway tiles offer endless design options. Let your creativity soar as you embrace the versatility of subway tiles in your bathroom design.

Mixing and Matching Subway Tiles

For a truly unique and personalized bathroom design, consider mixing and matching subway tiles. This approach allows you to create a visually stunning and one-of-a-kind look that reflects your personal style. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Combining Different Sizes of Subway Tiles

One way to add visual interest to your bathroom is by using subway tiles of different sizes. By combining larger and smaller tiles, you can create a captivating mosaic-like effect. For example, you could use larger subway tiles for the main shower wall and smaller subway tiles for the shower niche or backsplash. This contrast in size adds depth and dimension to the overall design. Experiment with various combinations to find the arrangement that best suits your taste.

Subway Tile SizeApplication
3" x 6"Main shower wall
2" x 4"Shower niche or backsplash

Blending Subway Tiles with Other Tile Types

Another way to mix and match subway tiles is by incorporating different tile types alongside them. This creates a captivating juxtaposition of textures and finishes. For instance, you could pair subway tiles with mosaic tiles, pebble tiles, or even natural stone tiles. By strategically placing these tiles in specific areas, such as an accent wall or border, you can create a focal point that draws attention and adds character to your bathroom design.

To ensure a cohesive look, consider choosing tiles that complement each other in terms of color and style. This will create a harmonious blend that enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of your bathroom.

Creating Unique Patterns with Subway Tiles

Unleash your creativity by creating unique patterns with subway tiles. While the traditional stacked layout is a classic choice, you can go beyond that to create eye-catching designs. Consider arranging the subway tiles in a herringbone pattern, chevron pattern, or even a basketweave pattern. These patterns add visual interest and can make a bold statement in your bathroom. Experiment with different layouts and orientations to find the pattern that best suits your design vision.

By mixing and matching subway tiles, you can elevate the look of your bathroom and transform it into a space that truly reflects your personal style. Whether you choose to combine different sizes of subway tiles, blend them with other tile types, or create unique patterns, the possibilities are endless. Let your imagination guide you as you create a stunning bathroom that is uniquely yours.

Additional Design Tips for Subway Tiled Bathrooms

In addition to the various subway tile patterns and colorful ideas, there are several design tips you can follow to elevate the look of your subway-tiled bathroom. These tips will help you add personal touches and create a truly stunning space.

Choosing the Right Grout Color

The color of the grout you choose can significantly impact the overall aesthetic of your subway-tiled bathroom. Opting for a grout color that contrasts with the tile can create a bold and eye-catching look. For example, using a dark grout with light-colored tiles can create a striking visual contrast. On the other hand, using a grout color that matches the tile can create a cohesive and seamless appearance. Consider experimenting with different grout colors to find the perfect combination that complements your chosen subway tile.

Adding Decorative Borders or Accents

To enhance the visual appeal of your subway-tiled bathroom, consider incorporating decorative borders or accents. These additions can break up the monotony of the subway tile and add a touch of personality to the space. For instance, you can use mosaic tiles or patterned tiles as borders to create a unique and eye-catching feature. Additionally, you can add decorative accents within the subway tile layout to create visual interest. These decorative elements can be placed strategically, such as in a vertical or horizontal row, to create a focal point in the room.

Playing with Tile Placement and Orientation

One way to make your subway-tiled bathroom stand out is by playing with the placement and orientation of the tiles. Instead of the traditional horizontal or vertical layout, consider alternative patterns such as a diagonal or chevron arrangement. These unique tile placements can add visual interest and create a dynamic look. Additionally, you can experiment with different tile sizes to create an interesting mosaic effect. Mixing larger and smaller subway tiles can create a visually appealing pattern that adds depth and texture to your bathroom.

By implementing these additional design tips, you can take your subway-tiled bathroom to the next level. Selecting the right grout color, adding decorative borders or accents, and playing with tile placement and orientation will allow you to infuse your personal style and creativity into the space. Don't be afraid to experiment and think outside the box to create a stunning bathroom that reflects your unique taste.

Mike Belk Author BELK Tile

By Mike Belk

Founder & CEO

A graduate of Ohio State University with an MBA in Business, Mike Belk has been in the tile and stone industry for over 20 years. Mike is the owner and founder of Belk Tile. He has become one of premier tile experts in the nation. Not only does Mike love every aspect of his job, he strives ensure your experience is the very best. He runs a successful blog and, when not immersed in the world of tile, is an avid golfer and wine maker. Mike enjoys interacting with customers and wants to hear from you today.