6 Ways To Remix Subway Tile That’s Not BORING

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Looking to mix up plain subway tile? Yes, everyone is shouting all over the internet that “subway tile is sooo timeless!”… but after seeing it in every kitchen it can start to look… forgettable. Classic maybe, but also… vanilla? Expected? Dare I say… boring?

This is coming from someone who has a little subway tile in every bathroom in our home, so please don’t take offense. We used a ton of the stuff –  mostly because it just goes with everything. But subway tile is also (YAWN) everywhere!

We don’t all want the exact same house. 

6 Ways To Remix The Classic Subway Tile

Did you know a kid back in the day who was nice, got good grades, a rule follower, and just generally agreeable to everyone they met? That’s what subway tile is. Likable, and plays well with others, never too much of any one thing.

Here are 6 ideas for a slight twist – for the perfectly nice, but a bit overdone, traditionally laid out subway tile.

1. Marble Subway Tile

Marble is not only very current in 2021, but combine it with subway tile and it looks high end and luxe!

marble subway tile

marble subway tile as an alternative in a kitchen


Easily available but on the higher end of the price range, marble subway tile has a huge impact on a kitchen, and often the value of your home.

2. Beveled Subway Tile: Biggest Bank For Your Buck

Beveled subway tile is a plain subway tile with a 3-D bevel that brings dimension and interest. The price is just pennies more per tile.

We have beveled subway tile in our kitchen:

beveled subway tile is an alternative to subway tile

beveled white subway tile in a kitchen

You Can Tour My Kitchen HERE

If you have a lot of square footage to cover or a tight budget, consider beveled white subway tile. The price is right and as trends/tastes changed this is still more interesting than flat subway tile.

beveled white tile is an alternative to subway tile in a kitchen


3. Handmade Subway Tile and Cle Tile Zellige

When I first saw handmade subway tile I might have gasped out loud. It has a pretty, wavy movement to it; it is truly jaw dropping. If you want something similar but at the same time totally different, handmade is the way to go.

handmade subway tile in a green and white kitchen


Have you heard of Cle Tile? Emily used weathered white Zellige from Cle Tile in the photo above. It is not cheap, but this would be great in a small space for a big impact. This is my favorite for alternatives for subway tile!

square subway tile in a kitchen

From Cle Tile’s Instagram

square subway tile in a kitchen


Looking for a cheaper alternative? Check Wayfair, Home Depot and other big box home stores. Home Depot sells a handmade subway tile that is intriguing. The reviews are great and the price is a happy medium.

handmade subway tile in a kitchen is an alternative to subway tile

4. Place Your Subway Tile in An Untraditional Manner

The easiest way to mix up subway tile is to just switch the layout of the tile on the wall.

The traditional layout of subway tile is staggered. How about using subway tile and laying it out with one of these ideas!

The Crosshatch:

brass and white bathroom


If your subway tile sits in a traditional stagger in one part of the room, make it pop elsewhere with a crosshatch layout- as long as the spaces are separate!

Horizontal Stacking:

modern stacked subway tile in a bathroom


Vertical Stacking (looks the most dramatic in spaces where the tile goes up to the ceiling, as opposed to say, a small under cabinetry space):

stacked subway tile in a bathroom


a white and black modern bathroom


Herringbone Pattern: Hung up to the ceiling is not that much more money for a bigger impact, and it’s a nice way to mix it up. 

close up of herringbone subway tile in a shower

The extra cuts in the tile will add to the cost (anything custom that creates more work adds to the cost), but it is still cost effective if you are choosing a subway tile to begin with!

5. Another Way To Mix Up Subway Tile: Switch The Size.

Have you considered trying a 3×9 or a 3×12 sized tile, instead of the often used 3×6 subway tile?

extra long subway tile in a white kitchen


tiny subway tile a kitchen is an alternative to standard size


an alternative to subway tile  is longer subway tile


6. Glass Subway Tile

Talk about a good alternative! This glass subway tile looks so beachy and fresh to me. If you love coastal decor, consider using glass subway tile.

glass subway tile in a kitchen

I didn’t end up going with glass subway tile, but I brought a photo of this glass tile focal wall to my tile design meeting. This shower speaks to me!

glass tile is an alternative to subway tile


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Our Blue and White Kitchen

white subway tile in a kitchen

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