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Be Design Different: Subway Tile Alternatives for Kitchens

updated Oct 13, 2022
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Bored with subway tile? Looking for new alternatives for your kitchen (or for anywhere else in your house)? Here are five gorgeous options, in a huge array of colors and patterns so you’re sure to find something that’s right for you.

Shown above: These grey zeillige tiles are the perfect choice for a country kitchen, from West Elm via Cle Tile. (Cle has a collection of zellige tiles in a huge variety of colors.)

(Image credit: The Jungalow)

Shiny Moroccan zellige tiles, seen here in Justina Blakeney’s kitchen, from The Jungalow, are glazed terra cotta tiles that come in a huge variety of colors.

(Image credit: Joris van Apers)

The subtle texture of zellige tiles makes them an interesting choice even in more muted colors (as seen in this kitchen by Joris van Apers).

(Image credit: Entrance Makleri)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If you’re fond of color you might also try glass tiles, whose colors have a beautiful depth and radiance. You see these a lot in very modern kitchens but they’re also at home in more traditionally styled spaces, as seen on Entrance Makleri.

(Image credit: Subway Tile Outlet)

Grey glass subway tile in a kitchen from Subway Tile Outlet.

(Image credit: Houzz)

A blue glass tile backsplash adds beauty and radiance to a kitchen from Houzz.

If you’re feeling bold, cement tile (also called encaustic tile) is the perfect way to add color and pattern to a modern kitchen, as seen on My Domaine. (If you like the look, check out our roundup of sources for encaustic tile.)

(Image credit: Lovely Life)

A patterned cement tile backsplash in a kitchen from Lovely Life.

(Image credit: The Style Files)

The colors in this kitchen from The Style Files are simple but the pattern is no less bold.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

The traditional oblong shape of subway tile, rendered in marble, adds a touch of luxury to any kitchen, as seen on Design Sponge.

(Image credit: Ohara Davies-Gaetano)

This marble tile backsplash from Ohara Davies-Gaetano contrasts beautifully with modern steel shelves.

(Image credit: Desire to Inspire)

Why not explore new shapes? Marble takes on an entirely different look with these fishscale tiles, spotted on Desire to Inspire.

(Image credit: Academy Tiles)

Diamond tiles from Academy Tiles, arranged in a tumbling block pattern, are the perfect touch for a modern kitchen.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

These little hex tiles, spotted on Design Sponge, are the perfect way to add just a little extra texture.