Beyond Subway Tile: 9 Totally Gorgeous Alternatives for Your Kitchen's Backsplash

Beyond Subway Tile: 9 Totally Gorgeous Alternatives for Your Kitchen's Backsplash

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Michelle Gage
Apr 20, 2018
(Image credit: Carina Romano)

While I love the look of a classic white subway tile, I can't help but get a little giddy when I see something a little bit more special. Adding a bold backsplash is a wonderful way to introduce something unexpected into your space.

Thinking about picking a stunning shape or bold color (or a stunning shape in a bold color) for a gasp-worthy backsplash that'll transform your kitchen? Here are nine perfect options to get your inspiration gears churning.

(Image credit: Carina Romano)

1. Mermaid tiles

I love a good fish scale tile, whether in a solid color or in varying shades (which creates an entirely new pattern all its own!). I especially love this use of tile in this space, which is good because it's actually my kitchen! The tiles are a custom design from Mercury Mosaics.

See more of this space: An Interior Designer's Ambitious DIY Remodel Filled with Vintage Finds at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Puustelli)

2. A statement wall of tiles

It's hard to look past those gorgeous blue cabinets in this kitchen from Scandinavian kitchen brand Puustelli, but the backsplash hardly plays second fiddle. It features a bold color, a cool pattern, and an eye-catching layout — it's a triple threat. Plus, it's sporting that totally cool unfinished look we're totally crushing on right now.

(Image credit: Fireclay Tile)

3. Black hexagons

From Fireclay Tile's Instagram feed, this moody tile breaks up all that white throughout the rest of the kitchen. It is a striking contrast against the white walls, appliances, countertops, and cabinets (although maybe these have just a hint of blue in them?). This backsplash becomes the eye-catching feature of the space.

(Image credit: Rue Mag)

4. Geometric tiles

If you are looking for a twist on the traditional hexagon shape, consider your hunt over. This stretched-out shape is the perfect way to add a little interest to your kitchen. Seen here in a kitchen via Rue Mag, homeowner and designer Melinda Faranetta turned to Tabarka Studio for their hand-painted terracotta tiles; this tile in particular is their "Picket" design.

(Image credit: Gabbe)

5. Tiles in a herringbone pattern

Try a herringbone pattern for a timeless take on a kitchen backsplash (and carry it over to the rest of the walls in your space for a totally bold, unforgettable look). Sure, you can take your beloved white subway tile and recreate the motif, but you can also give it a go in a fresh green shade and a slightly different rectangular shape, like in this kitchen from Gabbe.

(Image credit: Milk Decoration)

6. Mother of pearl tiles

The understated elegance of mother of pearl-toned square tiles is something that all kitchens should strive for. Just look at this kitchen from Milk Decoration. The subtle iridescence catches light beautifully and adds a dose of unexpected glamour to a simple space.

(Image credit: Digs Digs)

7. Simple scalloped tiles

While we are big fans of colorful kitchens, we still totally don't blame you for wanting to be a little safe and choose something more neutral for your space. The white scallop backsplash of this kitchen from Digs Digs is exceptionally elegant, and while the color is basic, the shape is a standout.

(Image credit: Centsational Girl)

8. Tiny tiles

Go ahead and go tiny! There is no need to go big with your backsplash if you favor something small. Choose a tiny tile to make a big impact in your space. The smaller, quickly repeating pattern in this kitchen from Centsational Girl feels timeless.

(Image credit: Cement Tile Shop)

9. Mismatched tiles

However, if you favor the bold and colorful things in life, pick a backsplash tile that speaks to that. This bright patterned pick from Cement Tile Shop may just be perfect for you (and a great example of how to temper a vibrant style — a little goes a long way).

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Skip the Subway Tile: 9 Totally Gorgeous Alternatives for Your Kitchen

Which one of these is your favorite? Or do you still prefer the classic look of white subway tiles?

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