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5 Uncommon Subway Tile Patterns

Updated February 11, 2022

Lowe's Editorial Team

By Lowe's Editorial Team

Subway tile is typically done in a simple brick pattern, but we’re going to take this classic white tile and show you five modern and unexpected ways of using it. In our subway tile video, we used the same white 3-inch-by-8-inch ceramic tile for each bathroom.

Horizontally Stacked Tile

White subway tile with dark grout stacked horizontally in a bathroom.

For the first subway tile bathroom design, we stacked the tile horizontally. This clean and simple option works just as well for kitchen backsplashes as it does for shower walls.

We opted for white, but if you really want to make the tile stand out, use a dark gray or black grout to give the room a more industrial or masculine feel.

Vertically Stacked Tile

White subway tile stacked vertically in an offset pattern on a shower wall.

Vertical stacking of subway tile is a popular style these days. By offsetting the tile, you’re creating a unique look that can withstand the test of time.

Herringbone Tile

A bathroom with white subway tile in a stair-stepper herringbone pattern in the shower and tub area.

In this third pattern, we’ve taken a herringbone motif and turned it on its side for a stair-stepper effect. Carrying it seamlessly from the tub to the shower gives the bathroom a cohesive look.

Mixed Tile Styles

Dark blue subway tile in a brick pattern with vertically stacked white subway tile in between.

If you’re ready to mix it up, there are plenty of other tile options to choose from. Subway tile now comes in an endless assortment of colors, finishes and materials. On this backsplash, we used a brick repeat in blue subway tile, then the white ceramic subway tile was vertically stacked in between.


Don't forget to pick up the tile tools and accessories you'll need for a do-it-yourself installation.

Basket Weave Tile

Aqua and white subway tile in a basket weave pattern in a modern white bathroom.

The basket weave design is probably the most playful and updated of all the options. For a bolder look, try using two different colors of subway tile. An aqua blue or blush pink tile would pack a colorful punch on a shower wall — making it a fun choice for a kid’s bathroom.

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