Published on November 14, 2019

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Design by Michelle NussbaumerPhotography by Douglas Friedman

Gone are the days where a basic white subway tile backsplash is the obvious choice. Given the array of options we now have at our disposal thinking outside the box—err, rectangle—with creative combinations is becoming the norm—and we’re so here for it. From pastel ceramics and glossy, polished marble to eccentric patterns and everything else in between, going off-book has never looked better. 

To help you get started, we looked to The Tile Shop for guidance on mixing and matching shapes, shades, and materials like a pro. Here’s to upping your space’s cool factor in one shopping trip. 

If you’re not afraid to go against the grain

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Design by Michelle NussbaumerPhotography by Douglas Friedman

Take on an unapologetic scheme that puts color at the forefront of your kitchen with rich prints and a saturated hue. When it comes to the floors, go wild. An encaustic style that shares a common tone with your walls will bring on all the drama. Opt for solid-colored tile with a unique shape for the backsplash to make those other details pop.

If you want to keep it simple, but still fun

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Design by Timber Trails DC, Photography by Stoffer Photography

We’re not quite ready to say goodbye to subway tile just yet, especially when it’s a redux in a shade that’s a subtle nod to the cool blues of the ocean. Complete your bathroom with a floor tile that’s complementary, but a touch more decorative to offset the classic walls; we love this ceramic Ikat design inspired by a piece of artwork in Annie Selke’s collection.  

If you only have eyes for one type of tile

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Courtesy of The Tile Shop

You can still get creative using a single shape or silhouette. The approach is foolproof: Stick with a high-contrast scheme, whether that’s black and white or pink and blue, and an equally assertive placement—create a graphic, oversized pattern on the walls with a bigger size, then go small on the floors.

If you feel all the feels

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Courtesy of I Spy DIY

Looks aside, the textural characteristics of a tile can make a big difference. You like things pared down, so allow the surfaces to speak for themselves and mix and match tonal finishes for subtle variation. Think a ceramic hex next to a marble, glass, or matte option.

If you side with the effortlessly cool

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Courtesy of I Spy DIY

Some may call you a minimalist, but there’s nothing muted about your style—you just like to make a statement in an understated fashion. Take something basic—subway tile, if you will—and elevate it with an unexpected splash of color, like pastel pink. Then pair it with a bold floor tile that gets its personality from juxtaposing two neutrals. 

See more tile stories:
Found: The Coolest #SODomino Tile Moments
Every Major Tile Trend That Will Take 2019 By Storm
Wow, This New 4-Piece Tile Collection Can Be Arranged 16 Different Ways