We love subway tile as much as the next home cook, but it's not the end all be all when it comes to kitchen backsplash options. If you're looking for some inspiration for your soon-to-be renovated space, or you just want to ogle some pretty kitchens, check out these beautiful subway tile alternatives — in real kitchens! — and prepare to swoon.
1. Colored Glass
There are many reasons to consider a glass backsplash. For one, they're so pretty and easy to customize to any hue or pattern (you can paint the wall, the back of the glass, or place them over wallpaper). Not only that, but they're also easy to maintain (just wipe 'em down!) and relatively inexpensive to install.
See more examples: Not Your Basic Backsplash: A Lovely, Low-Maintenance Alternative to Tile at Apartment Therapy
2. Bold Floor-to-Wall Patterned Tile
Leave it to an interior designer to pull off a look this bold. In her Australian kitchen, home owner and designer Margaret Scholley opted for a saturated blue cement tile on the backsplash and floors and walls of her moody kitchen.
Tour the space: A Designer's Own Colorfully Moody Australian Abode at Apartment Therapy
3. Marble Tiles
Rectangle backsplash tiles exist in hundreds (thousands?) of different colors and materials, but this vein-y marble version might just be our favorite. The marble looks especially refreshing off of the rich dark wood cabinetry in this San Francisco studio.
See more pics: A "Polished Bohemian" San Francisco Studio at Apartment Therapy
4. Eclectic Tiles
Dual rows of gorgeous red and blue hand-painted tiles line the perimeter of this London kitchen. Homeowner Nisha sourced them herself from Istanbul, so they add a cool international, eclectic feel.
See the rest of the home: 70s-Inspired Style in South East London at Apartment Therapy
5. Countertop Material
Just because something is technically material for a countertop doesn't mean that's the only way it can be used. This London-based homeowner used Carrara marble for her counters and her backsplash for a luxe, seamless look.
See more: Jane's Patterned Family Pad in London at Apartment Therapy
7. Brick and Black Quartz
Isn't this combo so chic? In a perfect marriage of textures and old-versus-new, homeowners Eli and Luis combined old brick walls with a sleek black quartz backsplash in their Spanish abode.
See the whole space: An "Industrial Modern" Renovation of a Barcelona Apartment at Apartment Therapy
Turns out the perfect pairing for a white and wood kitchen may just be … cement? At least Audrey's SoHo apartment is making a strong case for it! We love the way the edgy material looks in the otherwise plain space.
Take a tour: Audrey's Cozy Industrial Soho Apartment at Apartment Therapy
When it comes to adding a bit of shimmer to your kitchen, a metal backsplash is a great option. Sheets of zinc or stainless steel are inexpensive and easy enough for a DIY install. If you opt for stainless steel, like in Anne and Steve's Cape Town home, you should clean it with a product similar to what you would use on your appliances. (Hint: Use vinegar and oil to clean stainless steel.)
See the space: Anne & Steve's Relaxed, Eclectic & Casual Home in Cape Town at Apartment Therapy
10. Mirrored Mosaic
What's the first thing you think of when you look at this backsplash? Is it a disco ball? Us too, which kind of makes us love it more, honestly. In Rebecca and Craig's Manhattan kitchen, the couple actually made the backsplash themselves by breaking tons of pieces of mirror from Home Depot. The backsplash bounces light around their snug kitchen, which lacks a natural light source of its own.
Check out the rest of the home: Rebecca and Craig's Family Kitchen in Manhattan at Apartment Therapy
Which one is your favorite? Or are you still Team Subway Tile?