Did you know a kid back in the day who was nice looking, got good grades, and just generally agreeable and polite to everyone they met? That’s what subway tile is. Sure, a bit vanilla at times, but always classic, fresh, likable, and plays well with others- so what’s not to love? Almost every bathroom in our home has SOME sort of subway tile in it, because it has staying power. Nobody wants to sink 20k into a room only for the tile to be “so 2019” in 5 years.
How about some alternatives to subway tile. We don’t all want the exact same home after all. Here are some ideas for a slight twist – alternatives – for the classic subway tile.
Alternatives To Subway Tile
1. Beveled tile.
Tile with this 3-D bevel brings dimension to an otherwise plain subway tile. The price is pennies more- perhaps the biggest bang for your buck! I considered all types of tile for my kitchen (I fell in love with this) but with all that square footage to cover, I kept coming back to beveled white subway tile. The price was right and I knew as trends/tastes changed this would keep us happy.
2. Handmade Subway Tile
I first saw this used in Emily Henderson’s kitchen and I might have gasped out loud. It has this wavy movement to it; it is truly jaw dropping. Emily used the Weathered White Zellige from Cle Tile. It is not cheap; would be great in a small space for a big impact. This is my favorite alternative for subway tile!
From Cle Tile’s Instagram
Looking for a cheaper alternative? Check Wayfair and Home Depot – HD sells a handmade subway tile I find intriguing. The reviews are great and the price is a happy medium!
3. Hang the Tile in An Untraditional Manner
“Staggered” is what the traditional layout of subway tile is called. How about…
Vertical Stacking (looks the most dramatic in spaces where the tile goes up to the ceiling, as opposed to say, under cabinetry in a kitchen):
Herringbone Pattern: We did a herringbone switcheroo in our master shower, seen below! Hung up to the ceiling (which I recommend doing, it’s not that much more money for a bigger impact) it’s a nice way to mix it up. The extra cuts in the tile will add to the cost (anything custom that creates more work like this does), but it still was cost effective since we were choosing a subway tile.
We also went with a herringbone pattern behind the bar of our own home, seen below. It’s such a small space – just enough for something different. The herringbone tile doesn’t have a huge impact, but it didn’t feel boring.
Source: My Home
I LOVE the crosshatch, possibly my favorite remix! If your subway tile sits in a traditional stagger in one part of the room, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it pop elsewhere in the room- as long as the spaces are separate. Consider using subway tile in a traditional layout in the shower, and lay it out crosshatch behind the sink, like Caitlin Wilson!
4. Extra long or extra small subway tile:
Try a 3×9 or a 3×12 sized tile, instead of the often used 3×6 tile.
5. Glass Subway Tile
Talk about a good alternative! This glass subway tile looks so beachy and fresh to me. I am all about this!
I didn’t end up going this route, but I took a photo of this glass tile focal wall to my tile design meeting. This shower speaks to me!