When it comes to designing a clean, modern bathroom, subway tile is an excellent element that will give this space a classic look. These rectangular-shaped tiles are named after the tiles you see in the New York City subway system, which were first installed in 1904.

Most subway tiles are made of ceramic, but you’ll also find them made of other materials including porcelain, stone, and glass. Go for a bright white subway tile to create a clean look, opt for color to add a unique touch, or create a more dramatic look with a dark subway tile.

If you’re looking for some new inspiration for your next bathroom remodel, check out these inspiring subway tile bathroom ideas to help you create the perfect space.

A Floor-to-Ceiling Subway Tile Bathroom

In this bathroom, the subway tiles are installed from the floor to the top edge of the ceiling. This vertical stack pattern gives the bathroom a sleek yet timeless look and feel that carries the design through the entire space.

Note how the black and white checkerboard floor gives this bathroom a fun pop of contrast and different texture so it doesn’t look too overdone.

via Entrance Makleri

White Subway Tile with Black Accents

This bathroom boasts traditional white subway tile on the walls, while bold black accents give the space some added drama. The black windowpane glass shower door, black showerhead, and black vanity with a white top placed next to a black linen cabinet pop out against the tile’s classic white color.

The floor also features hexagonal white tiles, bringing this bathroom a fresh, modern finishing touch.

A white subway tile bathroom with black fixtures and a black metal shower door

Styled by Emma Fischer and Annica Clarmell, photographed by Alen Cordic, for sale via Nya Kvadrat

Vertical Subway Tile Creates Visual Interest

In a classic subway tile bathroom, the tile is installed horizontally. However, in this room, the designer chose to install the tile in a vertical position instead. This option is great for a powder room or smaller bathroom since it can help to make the space look larger.

Smaller white square tiles added to the floor draw the eye upward so that you’re focused on the room as a whole. Note that there is no vanity in this bathroom, which helps to free up floor space, making it look larger, too.

Vertical subway tile in a modern bathroom with chrome fixtures

Styled by Lotta Agaton Interiors  for Esny

Black Grout Lines Make Subway Tile Pop

The use of black grout can help make white subway tiles stand out. Not only did the designer use black grout in this tile bathroom, but they also installed some of the tiles vertically behind the bathtub and shower walls.

The tiles are also installed around the edges of the tub and cabinets to give the space a cohesive interior design.

A bathroom with white subway tile with black grout in different directions

Styled by Annica Clarmell, photographed by Jonas Berg for Stadshem

Try a Mixture of Materials

With its sharply angled walls, this unique bathroom features two different subway tile materials. The tile on the walls appears to be made of ceramic, while the same shape and size tile on the floor appears to be made of marble.

Installing marble tile adds an elegant and natural element to the bathroom. In this case, the combination brings the bathroom design a nice contrast for both the look and overall feel of the space and highlights the beautiful modern soaker tub.

An attic bathroom with white marble floor tile and white tile with grey grout on the walls and sloped ceiling

via Historiska Hem

Install Subway Tile Along a Portion of the Wall to Add Elegance

The white subway tile in this bathroom is installed along a section of the wall, but it doesn’t go all the way to the ceiling. This design adds a wainscotting-like touch, while the top half of the room features a classic, neutral paint color.

The interior designer added a thin line of trim along the very top of the subway tile and a wider section along the floor to finish it off. Small black and white floor tile adds even more dramatic flair.

A half-tile bathroom wall with white subway tile and a trim, green vanity

via Cupboard and Goods

Use White Grout for a Fresh, Clean Look

White tile in any shape makes a bathroom feel bright and vibrant. Here, the interior designers opted for white grout between the subway tile so everything looks nice and cohesive throughout the room.

The addition of more traditional black and white floors makes for a classic choice that gives this bathroom an air of elegance and simplicity. A lovely crystal chandelier installed in front of the window adds a chic and luxurious finishing touch.

A classic bathroom with white subway tile and a black and white diamond floor tile

via Entrance Makleri

Play with Patterns

In this bathroom, the classic white subway tile on the walls gives the bathroom a clean and polished look. A gray marble tub deck brings the room a sophisticated element, but it’s the use of bold black and off-white diamond-shaped tiles on the shower floor that gives it a contemporary touch.

The mixture of patterns here makes the bathroom more interesting, and the window adds natural light that highlights the playful design choice.

A spacious farmhouse bathroom with white subway tile on the walls and a checkered floor tile

Styled by Johanna Bradford, photographed by Henrik Linden for Alvhem

Install Darker Flooring to Ground the Room

The large white subway tile here is certainly timeless, but it’s the darker-colored, larger floor tile that helps to ground the space.

Note how almost every element here is white, like the vanity and walls, but the floor is featured in a much deeper, darker hue. The choice to install dark charcoal gray floor tile brings the bathroom a bold, two-toned look.

A penthouse bathroom with white tiles with grey grout

styled by Emma Fisher, photographed by Henrik Linden, via Alvhem

Get Creative with Funky Elements

This modern subway tile bathroom features smaller wall tiles with a slightly raised beveled edge for added character. The swirling green and white large marble floor tiles give this bathroom a funky, eclectic aesthetic.

Note that the clawfoot tub, floating vanity, and upper half of the room are white, while the subway tile has a slightly more ivory or putty tone. Compared to a classic subway tile, both the size and color tone of the tile add a unique touch to the space.

Beige bevelled subway tile in a bathroom with a green marble floor

Styled by Anna Van Keppel, photographed by Mia Borgelin, for sale via Historiska Hem

Install Subway Tile at Different Heights

Subway tile makes the ideal backdrop for a shower, but here, the designer chose to add it to the walls at varying heights. The tile covers most of the wall height inside the shower, but it’s slightly lower along another edge of the bathroom.

Since this bathroom has a clear glass shower door, opting to install the subway tile a bit lower outside of the shower helps to separate the space. The black floor tile also adds a nice dramatic contrast against the stark white walls.

A bathroom with a black floor tile and white subway tiles on the wall

Photographed by Ozolappa, styled by Lingsell for Historiska Hem

Blend Natural with Modern Materials

Ceramic subway tile adds a modern component to a bathroom, but here, the designer opted to add some wood trim to the upper half of the space. This creates a gorgeous juxtaposition of materials by blending natural elements with modern ones.

A mixture of white, black, and gray also gives this bathroom a contemporary touch, and the modern light fixtures work nicely with the large wood ceiling beams for an eye-catching blend of old and new.

White subway tile on the bottom half of the bathroom and grey wood trim on the top half

via Kvänum

Use Subway Tile to Frame a Section of the Bathroom

While many bathrooms use this classic tile to cover the walls or a shower or tub enclosure, here, it’s used to frame out the vanity area. The classic white subway tile was installed on a recessed part of the wall that holds the bathroom mirrors, lights, and double vanity.

In the rest of the room, you’ll find gray-colored wood wall trim that matches perfectly with the gray floors and vanity, while the top of the vanity also features the same white color as the tile.

Subway tile in a recessed area in the wall, paired with light grey wood panels on the rest of the bathroom walls

via Kvänum

Mix Patterns for a Playful Element

The same type of subway tile was used throughout the entire bathroom here, however, the floor tile was installed in a chic herringbone pattern. Aside from the unique combination of floor versus wall patterns, this subway tile is much narrower than its classic counterparts.

The choice to use thinner subway tile gives this bathroom a decidedly modern, updated aesthetic. Since all of the tile is the same color, it allows the sleek bathroom fixtures to stand out.

Vertical subway tile on the walls and herringbone tile flooring

Interior by Lotta Agaton for BTH Bostad

Go Big and Bold

Large white beveled subway tile is installed throughout this space, including on the bathroom walls, the wall of the laundry cubby area, and around the toilet. The bright white tile gives this bathroom a fresh, airy feel while the beveled edges bring it a splash of bold modern texture.

Notice how the grout lines are barely visible, which allows the unique style of this subway tile to be the star of the show.

Bevelled subway tile in an attic bathroom with a sloped ceiling

Styled by Copparstad, photographed by Boukari for Historiska Hem

Add Vibrant Colored Subway Tiles

Not all subway tile has to be white. For example, this bathroom features a lively green subway tile in the shower on the walls, ceiling, and shower floor. The rest of the room is lighter in color, allowing the shower to stand out while giving it a playful pop of color for a fun and funky feel.

The green subway tile is installed vertically on the shower walls to help make it look a bit larger.

A shower with a bold green subway tile installed vertically

via File under Pop

Use Subway Tile to Highlight Other Features

White is an excellent color to help draw attention to more distinctive features in a room. For example, this bathroom features white subway tile all over the walls, which helps to draw attention to the sleek gold accents including wall hooks, vanity hardware, and gold bathroom fixtures.

The white subway tile bathroom is paired with intricate detailing in the pattern on the bathroom floor, which provides the space with a characterful look.

A spacious bathroom with gold fixtures and a white subway tile on the walls

via Brspec

Bring Modern and Classic Elements Together

This bathroom boasts white subway tile around the edges of the wall for a subtle modern touch. The upper portion of the wall is painted in a neutral putty color that gives it a classic element. Combining these two accents gives the bathroom a nice mixture of slightly modern and traditional elements.

A half-tile bathroom with white subway tile and a putty wall color

via Alvhem

Get Dramatic with Darker Hues

If you need more inspiration, consider going darker. Here, shiny gray vertical subway tile with bright white grout adds a fantastic component to this contemporary bathroom. Black accents featured on the mirrors, shower door trim, and hardware tie everything together.

The white pedestal sink brings a pop of contrast, and the matching gray backsplash showcases gray tile trim that helps to give the bathroom a beautiful finish. Go for black subway tile if you want the contrasting effect even stronger.

Dramatic brown subway tile with white grout paired with chrome fixtures and a pink wall color

via Entrance Makleri

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