It's ubiquitous for a reason: subway tile is low-budget, easy to install, durable, and no maintenance. The only trouble is that it's everywhere. And that gets boring. My family bathroom - which sees hard use - was subway tiled eight years ago and looks brand new (thanks to diligent squeegy-ing and obsessive grout cleaning). I'm actually kind of hoping for a crack or something to happen so I'll have an excuse to redo it.
For value and timelessness it's hard to beat, but let's shake things up a bit, shall we?
I kind of love this. The vertical running bond pattern looks totally modern, kind of masculine, and altogether different from the usual horizontal offset installation. This will make ceilings soar - so great for small spaces and basements. Dark grout plays up the pattern and ties in the dark floor.
Subway tile comes in all kinds of sizes and shapes, but the one we usually think of is the 3" by 6" brick. This awesome herringbone pattern uses a longer, elegant 3" by 12" rectangle. Once again, dark grout really accentuates the pattern.
Here you can really see the difference grout can make to a project. High contrast Vs no contrast.
The stacked bond pattern looks simple and modern. You could also run this pattern vertically.
Mixing large and small tiles looks amazing. The beaded pencil tile makes the transition beautiful.
Here we have the regular offset installation looking super interesting because it used square subway tiles.
Floor to ceiling 3" by 6" tile in a vertical offset pattern in this tiny powder room really draws the eye up and up and up.
A sort-of herringbone pattern turned sideways looks fantastically interesting in this gorgeous bathroom.