Our Best Bathroom Subway Tile Ideas

Make a splash with subway tile in your bathroom using one of our favorite applications or variations.

Classic white subway tile will always add timeless appeal to any bathroom. Originally seen on the walls of subway stations, these rectangular tiles have been cemented in the bathroom tile vocabulary. But a new crop of colors and sizes brings variety to the marketplace, as do colorful grouts and inset tiles. Plus, there are so many ways to arrange subway tiles. Read on for our favorite bathroom subway tile ideas.

white subway tile bathroom clawfoot tub

Timeless Subway Tile Update

The walls of this bathroom are clad in traditionally dimensioned and colored subway tiles. The room gets a signature look thanks to a slightly tinted grout, which helps provide a smooth shift between the crisp white tile and the bold black on the shutters. A switch to hexagon tile on the floor keeps the black and white color scheme going but contrasts classic running bond subway tiles.

white subway tile bathroom with wood vanity

Accent Classic Subway Tile

Subway tiles are an affordable option for bathroom walls and surfaces, so using them for a majority of your tile application will yield a lower-cost project. But adding accent tiles can add pizzazz. The watery blue and green mosaic tile border enlivens this classic subway tile look. The jewel-tone tiles and shapely edging serve as a transition from the laid-back white subway tiles to the color-infused aqua tiles in the recessed shelves surrounding the mirror.

Seth Smoot

Colorful Bathroom Subway Tile

Explore tile finish and glazing options if you want the classic shape of subway tiles but don't want traditional white tiles. A greige finish on these glazed bathroom subway tiles adds contemporary edge around a traditional freestanding tub. White tile on the bathroom floor keeps the room grounded and timeless.

White Subway Tile

Subway Tile Shower Surround

Inherently simple, subway tiles make a statement when applied en masse. The shower surround in this bathroom is clad in subway tiles and matching white grout, creating an uninterrupted plane of white. The reliable water resistance of properly installed tile also protects the walls of the shower from moisture damage.

elegant marble shower with white and grey accents
Brittany Ambridge

Marble Subway Tile

If you love the look of subway tile but want a more refined look, consider using marble subway tiles rather than ceramic or porcelain. In this opulent bathroom, marble subway tiles climb to the ceiling and are accented with a thick border tile. Instead of relying on a thick grout line to add visual interest, variegated veining in the tiles draws attention to the walls and gives the tile a softer look.

subway tile bathroom drawer storage trough sink
Designer Celily Mendell's home in Alamo, California near San Francisco.

Square Subway Tiles

Larger subway tiles will lend a more contemporary look to a bathroom, while still retaining a sense of timelessness. Wide grout lines also add a distinguishing accent to the tile application, as does a specialty glaze or color. The tile in this bathroom embodies several of those traits, creating a memorable shower surround. In the light and airy bathroom, the bold structure of the tile design grounds the space, and the black grout coordinates with the bathroom countertop and floor.

patterned tile floor and subway tile shower
Julie Soefer Photography LLC

Pair it With a Pattern

If subway tile looks a little too conventional for your taste, don't be afraid to pair it with patterned tile. In this bathroom, the shower subway tile takes a backseat to bold floor tiles that stretch up the sides of the walls. When paired with a busy pattern, subway tile acts as a blank canvas on which to rest your eyes.

walk in shower with subway tile and dark wood accents

Black and White Subway Tile

Nothing is more classic than a black and white color scheme. Keep your subway tile looking crisp with bathroom fixtures and decor to match. The black grout in this subway tile stands out when paired with black fixtures, finishes, and hardware. A wood ceiling prevents the black and white bathroom from feeling too cold.

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