Home Decor

Eight ways to use subway tiles for your backsplash

One tile, eight ways to apply it. Our expert guide to finding the best layout for your space.

Photo, Sian Richards. Design, Julie Charbonneau.

Photo, Sian Richards. Design, Julie Charbonneau.

1. Stacked horizontal

The orderly symmetrical grid of this pattern makes it well suited to minimal, contemporary homes. Choose a matching grout so the pattern all but disappears.

stacked horizontal kitchen subway tiles2. Stacked vertical

Often seen in European homes and commercial spaces, stacked vertical tiles have a decidedly urban look about them.


3. Offset brick

Offset brick, sometimes referred to as running bond, is the most common subway-tile pattern. A contrasting grout makes this style more edgy and industrial in feel.


4. Offset brick vertical

If you love the look of the traditional offset pattern but want something a little different, run the tiles vertically. It works especially well for tall expanses.


5. Herringbone

This pattern is often used for flooring, but it looks equally good on a wall. If you want to emphasize the graphic look of this pattern, use a contrasting grout.


6. Diagonal herringbone

Shifting a standard herringbone diagonally gives this pattern a whole new look. Try it on a full wall where you have the space to let it shine.


7. Perpendicular

Rectilinear to the core. If you love rectangles, this is the look for you. Alternating groups of three tiles make up this pattern.


8. Windmill

Dynamic and exciting, this whirlwind pattern will bring a wall to life. For this design you will need a tile cutter to cut the centre tile, which is half the width of a regular tile.