Design Trends: Mix it up with Subway Tile Alternatives | Fireclay Tile
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Design Trends: Mix it up with Subway Tile Alternatives

By Shannon Malone

Design Trends: Mix it up with Subway Tile Alternatives

Tile shown: Picket in Mica

If you're like us you probably love subway tile–its simple, classic, and always looks good–but sometimes your space simply calls for something a little different, something a little more "you". Well, you're in luck. There are a ton of alternatives to subway tile out there, one to fit almost any design style and personality. To help you find the right fit, we've put together some of our favorite ways to challenge the backsplash status quo with color, layout, size and pattern.

Specialty Shapes

There are a variety of specialty tile shapes available that resemble the lines and pattern of a classic subway tile layout, while offering the sense of character you're looking for. One of our favorite specialty shapes we love to seen used as an alternative to subway tile is the Wave. The ocean-inspired shape is sleek, long, and lean, and when placed horizontally it provides a look similar to subway tile yet with effortless movement and texture. We love how the kitchen below uses the shape in a cool blue hue, mimicking the subtle movement of water.

Tile shown: Wave; Design; Ronan O'Dea Construction

Size and Proportion

If you love the classic look of subway tile but want to make it more modern, try experimenting with size and proportion. Subway tile is usually a standard 3 x 6 size. By choosing a longer and leaner tile size such as a 2 x 6, 2 x 8 or even an EDGE 3 x 9, the look takes on a contemporary aesthetic. Instead of placing the rectangular tile in the classic offset layout, experiment with slightly different arrangements, such as a 1/3 offset or a 1/4 offset. The slight variation in layout creates visual interest and puts a modern twist on a timeless pattern.

Glass Mosaics

Glass mosaics are the perfect way to give your kitchen backsplash a look that is completely unique. The flexibility of mosaics gives you the opportunity to experiment with size, shape and color. You can create a cohesive look with a solid color Glass mosaic similar to the kitchen below, or you can create a blend that is completely your own. We love how the 1 x 4 mosaic below resembles the classic look of subway tile, however, at a much smaller scale.

Glass shown: 1 x 4 mosaic in Prickly Pear; Image: Malcolm Fearon Photography

Straight Set

If you love the classic 3 x 6 subway tile size but want a different layout, give the size some edge with a straight set pattern. This look is modern, and chic, and works well in almost any setting. The best part? A straight set pattern is just as timeless as a subway tile layout would be.

Tile shown: 3 x 6 in Lochness

Love this look? Order free samples now. Need some help? Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.