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7 Uncommon Subway Tile Patterns that Catch the Eye

Subway Tile Patterns

Subway tiles are one of the most practical and attractive ways to tile your kitchen or bathroom. 

They are waterproof, polished, and elegantly even. Of course, you don't want your remodel to look like every other subway tile installation.

Every kitchen or bathroom deserves some personality, and your tile design is the perfect place to build that with an understated yet eye-catching tile pattern.


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The Usual Subway Tile Patterns for Kitchen & Bath:

  • Alternating Horizontal Tiles
  • Herringbone Tiles (any direction)
  • Geometric Tesselation

When it comes to subway tiles, there are three standard ways to arrange your tiles. For rectangular tiles. Alternating horizontal tiles are the typical brick-laying appearance with horizontal lines of rectangles across your walls and backsplashes.

Herringbone arranges the tiles in alternating diagonal pieces to make a 'woven' look. Geometric tesselation takes a simple regular geometric tile (ex: hexagon) and repeat the tile over the entire space. These are your standard tiles. Now for ideas that are a little more fun.  


Unusual Rectangular Subway Tile Patterns

  • Interrupting Patterns
  • Color Stripes
  • Striated Patterns
  • Vertical Lines
  • Boldly Tiled Sections

1 Interrupting Patterns 

Don't let one tile pattern define your project, especially if you are tiling an entire wall or floor. Create stripes of different tile partners that intersect each other in an interesting and eye-catching way.

2 Color Stripes and Striated Palettes

Speaking of stripes, use different colors and even shapes of tile to create striated patterns over your tiled space. Define the change with color and lines.

3 Vertical Pillar Tile Patterns

Instead of the typical horizontal rectangles, point your subway tiles upward in a vertical line. This draws your eye up toward the ceiling or upper cabinetry and can give a kitchen or bathroom a fresh, uplifting feel.

4 Bold Sectional Tiling

Create sections of your tile with color and pattern. Define a square here, a diamond there, or radiating angles from a central point. Let the tiles guide your sense of aesthetic pattern design.


Unusual Geometric Subway Tile Patterns

  • Geometric Patterns with Geometric Tiles
  • Diagonal Geometric Stripes and Lines
  • Drawing with Geometric Tile Colors

5 Geometric Patterns with Geometric Tiles

Instead of simply tesselating, (repeating the same shape the same way), invent new shapes with your geometric tiles. Diamonds can become cubes, triangles become cubes, stars, and arrows.

Design whole new geometry ideas from the tiles at hand and allow their natural shape to define the flow. Remember that you can also cut your geometric tiles to fill any small spaces left by the artistic margin.

6 Diagonal Geometric Stripes and Lines

Create your own lines that draw the eye and change the tile pattern with your geometric tiles. Create a diagonal line with angled tiles that arcs through the room instead of across it. Or create shapes within shapes using the natural geometry of your tiles.

7 Drawing with Geometric Tile Colors

Using simple tesselation or mosaic, you can also draw with geometric tiles. Take a wall of hexagonal tiles, then exchange tiles for a different color hex to draw a picture or define a shape.

You can draw a star in the center of the shower or paw-prints to the bathtub. You can speckle your dark-blue tiles with a landscape of stars made from triangles or diamonds. When you have small tiles in different colors, it's your chance to express your own creativity and vision.


Subway tiles don't have to be laid in the same way everyone else lays them. This is your remodel, do something unique that reflects your own design style that makes your kitchen or bathroom somewhere special to be. Contact us to talk about how you can design subway tiles in a new and interesting way.

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