These 21 Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas Are Here to Refresh Your Space

Kitchen with subway tile

Pure Salt Interiors

Sure, your kitchen needs to be practical, but it should also make you happy. Subway tile is a lovely choice for nearly any kitchen design—and it's a timeless choice for a reason. It's affordable, works with nearly any color palette, and though it's a fairly traditional option, there are many trendy ways to use subway tile, too.

Though all elements of your kitchen are important, your backsplash can really make or break a beautiful kitchen design. Whether you opt for an eye-catching pattern that elevates a traditional white kitchen or you keep it simple with a standard subway tile, the backsplash is the cherry on top of any kitchen design.

If you've ever thought subway tile is boring, think again. Read on for some of the best subway tile backsplash ideas we've ever seen.

01 of 21

Opt for White Grout

Kitchen with white grout

Naked Kitchens

If your kitchen has colorful cabinetry, you may want to consider a simple subway tile to act as a wonderful canvas to let the rest of your kitchen shine. Here, a traditional subway tile with white grout is a perfect neutral backsplash against the blue cabinetry.

If you love slab backsplashes but still want some texture, consider using white grout.

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Consider Grey

Kitchen with gray subway

Interior Impressions

One of the best things about subway tile is that it comes in so many different colors. If you're looking for a way to add some depth to your kitchen, but still want to keep a neutral look, consider a gray subway tile. Gray lends a touch of depth and color to your kitchen, but still allows the space to feel open and airy.

03 of 21

Go Matte

Kitchen with navy blue subway tiles

Cathie Hong Interiors

Though most subway tile is glossy, we can't get enough of this matte stacked bond subway. Matte subway adds a modern twist to a traditional look and pairs wonderfully with rich walnut wood tones. This look would look amazing with deep tile colors such as blue or black.

04 of 21

Keep it Crisp and White

Kitchen with white cabinets

D Burns Interiors

White kitchens are popular for a reason: they're versatile, classic, and provide a crisp, clean look. If you're going for an all-white aesthetic, a classic subway tile can be a timeless choice.

If white grout is too monochromatic for you, consider a light gray to add a hint of definition to the tiles.

05 of 21

Try a Creamy Vertical Stacked Bond

Marble stacked bond subway tile

Naked Kitchens

Rethink your design when it comes to subway tiles. While most subway tiles are laid horizontally, vertical subway tiles can make a space feel taller and more open. Here, a creamy marble stacked bond subway creates a warm, cozy vibe, especially when paired with wood tones.

06 of 21

Add a Hint of Green

Kitchen with mint green subway tiles

Gray Space Interior Design

Mint green is one of those colors that can act as a neutral depending on the rest of the look. Consider a subway tile with a hint of green if you want to add a touch of color without creating an overly trendy look in your kitchen.

07 of 21

Go for Black Grout

Kitchen with subway tile and black grout

Rebecca Rollins

Black grout lines are a wonderful way to add a lot of visual interest to your kitchen. It gives a space a modern, industrial vibe and can create a rich, eye-catching pattern against a simple white kitchen.

Black grout will fade overtime, so be sure to seal it properly and be prepared to touch it up after a few years.

08 of 21

Pair With Color

Kitchen with blue paint

Maite Granda

If you want to play around with a bold cabinet color such as blue, consider keeping your backsplash simple and classic. A standard horizontal subway tile with white grout acts as an understated canvas for the rest of the look in this space.

09 of 21

Add Natural Wood

Kitchen with green cabinets

Ashley Webb Interiors

Brown kitchens are back in a big way. Embrace the Scandi look with a rich wood island or cabinets, and keep your backsplash traditional to avoid any competing tones.

10 of 21

Consider Marble

Kitchen with marble tiles

Ashley Webb Interiors

Marble backsplash instantly elevates any kitchen and gives it a high-end look and feel. Consider a simple marble subway tile for the best of both worlds.

11 of 21

Opt for a Beveled Edge

Black kitchen with beveled subway tiles

Ashley Montgomery Design

A beveled edge can add more depth to a standard subway tile and is a great way to add a touch of texture to your kitchen. If the rest of your space is neutral and understated, consider opting for a beveled edge subway to tile to keep your space visually interesting.

12 of 21

Go for Black

Kitchen with black subway tiles

Burchard Design Co.

Black is a bold, modern choice for kitchens and is a great option if your space is full of light. A black subway tile can be a great way to add depth to an open-concept kitchen and can help define a space.

13 of 21

Add a Hint of Warmth

Kitchen with beige subway tile

Brophy Interiors

Neutral doesn't have to mean boring. Though a stark white subway tile can instantly lighten up a space, consider a beige or off-white color instead if you want to add a hint of warmth to your kitchen.

This is a great choice for large, open spaces that can feel too sterile with an all-white color palette.

14 of 21

Pair With Open Shelving

Kitchen with open shelving

Calimia Home

Open shelving is trendy for a reason—it can instantly elevate your kitchen and give it a designer look and feel. White subway tile is a great backsplash for open shelving because it won't look overly busy next to your dishes and kitchen gear.

15 of 21

Consider Chevron Stripes

Kitchen with chevron stripes

Charlie Interior Design

One simple way to mix up the subway tile look is to change up the design. Here, a standard white subway tile is laid in a chevron-style pattern to upgrade the look and give it a modern flair.

16 of 21

Mix in Black Cabinets

Black cabinets with subway tiles

Charlie Interior Design

Black cabinets are a beautiful way to upgrade any kitchen and we love pairing them with a simple white subway tile laid either horizontally or vertically. White subway tile can create a wonderful contrast against a rich, moody cabinet color.

17 of 21

Add an Accent Behind the Range

Kitchen with gray cabinets

Victoria Bell Design

If you want to create a focal point in your kitchen, consider adding an accent tile behind your range. If you opt for a simple white backsplash, you can play around with fun patterns and colors behind your range without overwhelming the space.

18 of 21

Go for Stacked Bond

Kitchen with stacked bond subway tiles

Sarah Fultz Interiors

Want to get a clean and classic look in your kitchen? Instead of laying your subway tiles in a traditional running bond pattern, consider a horizontal bond instead.

Not only does a stacked bond create a more modern look, but it can reduce any unnecessary visual clutter and keep the focus on the rest of your kitchen.

19 of 21

Add Dimension

Kitchen with gray tiles stacked bond

Two Gals Interiors

On the other hand, if subway tiles don't give you the visual interest and dimension you're looking for, consider laying various shades of white and light gray tiles to create a simple pattern.

20 of 21

Opt for Gray Subway Tiles

White kitchen with gray backsplash

Victoria Bell Design

It's easy to make a case for a lovely gray kitchen, but if you can't part with your white cabinets, consider going gray on your backsplash instead. Gray subway tiles can add a lovely touch of warmth and texture without taking away from a neutral look.

21 of 21

Try Speckled Tiles

Black kitchen with soapstone counter

Whittney Parkinson

Instead of picking a crisp white subway tile, consider one with a little edge to it. These speckled subway tiles add a lovely rustic feel to this beautiful butler's pantry but still keep the look classic.