Next stop: Dream kitchen – Alternatives to subway tile

Oct 04,19 Tom Piplack
Next stop: Dream kitchen – Alternatives to subway tile

It’s everywhere: For the past century, subway tile has been a staple of American kitchens. White and arranged in a brick pattern, it is found in homes across the nation and beyond. In fact, chances are, you have never had a kitchen without this obligatory feature, and it seems like such a must-have that you may not even think much about your walls. Ready to let go of your good ol’ white subway tile? Let’s look at alternatives and explore the wondrous world of wall tiles!

The easiest way to change things up is replacing the plain white with color. Either commit to one (black tile with white grout is hot right now,) or go with a theme – Different tones of the same palette combine for an extraordinary effect. Not only can colorful kitchens look absolutely stunning, by using subway tiles with exotic textures, the whole atmosphere of the room changes. Zellige, the hottest tile of 2019, are a perfect example: Also known as Moroccan tile, they are hand-shaped, fired and glazed in an ancient, artisanal process, giving them a unique texture that surely adds character to any home.

Speaking of texture: Material matters. No matter if beautifully painted cement, the vibrant and shiny colors of glass, classical elegance of marble or earthy ruggedness of terracotta, what your tiles are made of heavily influences the vibe they give off and therefore how your kitchen looks and feels. No matter your preferred style, there is a plethora of options to choose from!

Terracotta, Marble and Glass tiles

Another great way of refreshing your walls without fully abandoning your beloved subway tile is switching up the actual pattern. Instead of stacking them like bricks, try a running bond or basket weave. Or, probably the most intriguing, the amazing herringbone! For a truly unique look, combine interesting colors with an out-of-the-box pattern.

From left to right: Brick, running, basket weave and herringbone patterns

Feeling even more adventurous? Let’s examine different shapes. Of course, you could stay classic and go with basic squares or elongated subway tiles. But why not get wild while you’re at it? There are many possibilities: Triangles, hexagons, even tiles shaped like fish scales! And you always have the option to personalize your walls even more by embedding individual showpiece tiles or using custom mosaics!

Arabesque tiles (pictured above) are a good way to switch things up. Or, embed custom showpieces for a unique effect:

As you can see, there are plenty alternatives to plain white subway tile. Each of them has its own unique vibe and the potential to add character to your kitchen. Lay tiles of elegant shapes and textures in exciting patterns for eye-catching effects! For more advice on tiles, styles and anything else home remodel, call us now at 562.439.5294!


Zieba Builders has the experience, expertise, and passion to make your next home project a success. Ready to get started on your design & build project? Give us a call or email us today!