Ideas to Jazz Up a Simple Subway Tile
As far back as the early 1900’s, subway tile has been a top choice for tiled surfaces. Why? Well, there are a few reasons…
It’s budget-friendly. The average kitchen needs 30 sq ft of backsplash. You can easily find FABULOUS subway tiles for under $8 sq ft. So, worst case scenario your tile is going to cost $250 (do not check my math on that one). Best case scenario you’re looking at $60-80.
It’s timeless. If you stick with the good old white/off-white in a standard subway tile layout you will get YEARS worth of style out of it. There’s a good reason why this tile has been kickin’ it since the early 1900’s – it’s awesome.
Flexibility. Subway tiles are a very flexible style that can transition into almost anyone’s personal tastes/style depending on colour, layout, grout choice, etc…
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Now, I realize that not all tiles are created equal. There are some fabulous subway styles in products such as Ham and Cheese, footlong (hehe, get it? Subway?) Not funny…anyway, there are products such as marble and slate which will, of course, raise the dollar value beyond this budget-busters’ comfort zone. So, when I’m looking for bang for buck I stick to the
cheap one budget-friendly versions and adjust a few details to add some visual interest for minimal moula.
And while subway tile is affordable, practical, timeless, etc…there are also some UBER fab and affordable ways to jazz it up – without spending more money!
Subway Tile Idea #1
Type of Material
Traditionally, a subway tile would be porcelain or ceramic but you can get the subway tile PATTERN in any number of products such as marble, travertine, glass and more – so don’t limit yourself to what has always been done, see what else is out there!
In this next photo, we chose a beautiful tumbled travertine subway tile for my local client. It complements the warm veins in her granite as well as the natural cherry cabinets.
This next kitchen features a gorgeous marble subway tile backsplash, coordinated with the quartz countertop and white cabinets.
And of course, you could consider a unique glazed porcelain subway tile with light or dark grout, as shown in this next kitchen…
See the before and afters of this kitchen here
Subway Tile Idea #2
Colour and Texture
Choosing a subway tile in a colour (solid or mixed tones) is a great way to keep things classic and simple, while still adding a personal touch. So, whether you love the relaxing colour of sea glass or the textured look of a tone-on-tone tile, you can be braver with colour when you’re using a classic style of tile.
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I’m SUPER happy with how this shower surround turned out with it’s glazed greige porcelain tile. Look at the subtle texture/dimension.
In this next photo, notice that while the tile is flat (unlike the above tile), it still has a hazy, glazed look to it.
See this bathroom remodel HERE
Subway Tile Idea #3
Traditionally, subway tiles are pretty flat looking with very slightly rounded edges. While this the ‘timeless and classic’ approach, you can also jazz things up with a bevel, reverse bevel or glazed finish as shown below…
And of course, I looove me a bevelled tile…
See the whole project HERE
Subway Tile Idea #4
Size and Layout
You can jazz things up via tile size to add a slightly different look to your tile.
In this next bathroom, we chose an elongated 4×12 cream coloured subway tile in a staggered layout. It suits the shape of the floor tile (12×24) and the warm tones are softer than the traditional white.
With it’s matching grout, the 4×12 off-white subway tile in this next photo is a subtle complement to the white cabinets and quartz countertop. My clients were wanting a more contemporary look so we did a standard stacked layout.
I LOVE the colour that my client chose for these kitchen cabinets – BM Kitty Gray. And they couldn’t have chosen a BETTER backsplash – love the elongated, glazed look!
And seriously, there are MANY more ways to play with subway tile and I’m sure I’ll be writing ANOTHER long-winded blog post on this topic – but for now, that’s it!
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Kylie M Interiors Decorating, Design, E-Design, E-Decor, Online Colour Consultant Based in Nanaimo BC, Vancouver Island, serving all of Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia and more!