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5 Best types of tile design for your kitchen backsplash

In this article we will explore the 5 best types of tile design for your kitchen backsplash.

Backsplash designs can make your kitchen totally stand out. At SAVU LLC we think the next 5 are one of the best that we have encountered.

 

1. Subway or brick style

Subway tile in a New York subway station today.
Subway tile in a New York subway station today
Large subway tile in a contemporary kitchen, installation by SAVU LLC.
Large subway tile in a contemporary kitchen

Subway tile are very popular nowadays, but they have been around for more than 100 years. The subway style is also known as brick style, every tile in the very next row is lined on the middle of the adjacent row.

They are usually 3″ x 6″ rectangles and white is the most common color. For some, they are considered America’s most beloved tile.

As the name suggests, subway tile was originally designed to be used in subways. Designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge used them for the very first New York’s subway station in 1904.

People in this era became obsessed with hygiene. Therefore they liked that the tile didn’t stain and was easy to clean. Contrary, people nowadays think subway tile is ‘dingy’, precisely because they think of the subway.

But for the 20th century New Yorkers, the underground transportation was a brand new concept and the tiled subway stations were a sign of cleanliness. The white tile had the additional advantage of reflecting light, brightening the subterranean stations.

Following the debut of the tile in the subway, it began to appear in all kinds of interiors: bathrooms, kitchens, restaurants— any place you would want to be especially clean.

Today, subway tile is back in vogue, although it seems that it never really went away.

The current embrace of subway tile might be part of the nostalgia permeating through home remodeling trends— vintage and rustic style are now popular all over the world.

Making new kitchens look “old” is trendy right now. Whichever way you decide to use it, subway tile is inexpensive, versatile, and has a neat history.

 

2. Vertical layout

Blue ceramic tile backsplash installation, vertical pattern
Blue ceramic tile backsplash installation, vertical pattern
Vertical straight pattern backsplash tile installation by SAVU LLC in Brookline MA
White porcelain tile backsplash, vertical pattern

In this pattern, tile (usually the same kind of tile used for the subway style) has changed the common horizontal orientation and got stacked vertically.

Subway tiles suddenly take on new life and geometric appeal in this layout.

The new look sees the tiles flipped upright and slimmer for a captivating do-over.

This visual trick emphasizes the height of your space by making your walls seem taller.

You can use vertical layout in tight spaces to draw the eye to the sky, creating the illusion of higher walls and ceilings, or simply because you desire a daring, modern look.

3. Herringbone style

Herring fish skeleton
Herring fish skeleton

This is the tile design that derives its name after the herring fish.

The herring fish skeleton resembles a V-shaped zigzag where the spine bones are alternating in 45 degree angles. 

Old herringbone style brick pavement in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Old herringbone style brick pavement in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The herringbone design was first used in the Roman Empire as a pavement system on their roads.

Romans discovered that when the planks were pointed in the direction of traffic and interlocking at 45 degrees, the roads were extremely stable; making this pattern both aesthetic and very durable.

Grayish purple ceramic tile backsplash, herringbone pattern
Grayish purple ceramic tile backsplash, herringbone pattern
Blue ceramic tile backsplash, herringbone pattern
Blue ceramic tile backsplash, herringbone pattern

Over time this stylish pattern got used more often for indoor projects such as floors and bathroom walls.

Today the herringbone design is a common choice for kitchen backsplashes, probably second to the subway style. It usually adds sophistication and richness every time it’s used.

4. Chevron style

A US Army uniform featuring chevron insignia
A US Army uniform featuring chevron insignia
Chevron pattern backsplash with marble and golden metal tile
Chevron pattern backsplash with marble and golden metal tile
The chevron pattern originates from the chevron insignia which is essentially an inverted V-shaped mark.

It can be confused with the herringbone pattern which is similar. The easiest way to differentiate the two is: Chevron is an inverted ‘V’ whereas Herringbone resembles a broken zip-zag pattern.

5. Honeycomb or hexagonal style

A regular hexagon
A regular hexagon
Busy bees building their honeycomb. Fascinating how they always make a perfect hexagon!
Busy bees building their honeycomb. Fascinating how they always make a perfect hexagon!

A hexagon is a six-sided polygon. When all angles and sides are equal it is a regular hexagon.

A honeycomb is a structure of regular hexagons, constructed from beeswax by honeybees to hold honey and larvae.

Carrara marble tile backsplash, honeycomb pattern
Carrara marble tile backsplash, honeycomb pattern
White porcelain tile backsplash, hexagonal pattern
White porcelain tile backsplash, hexagonal pattern

For tile design, honeycomb or hexagonal style is known for its elegance, yet it lacks the “drama” that other styles have.

With the backsplash being a main focal point in your kitchen, we hope you found inspiration in these 5 tile designs. While there are many other designs to choose from, these are 5 of the most popular choices today.

If you are looking for backsplash tile installers near you contact us today for a free estimate.

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