A Closer Look At Subway Tile Applications In Bathroom Showers

Dual rain showerheads frame a wall of vertical striped tiles in shades of beige and grey, adding a touch of elegance to this modern bathroom.

Have you ever been curious about the charm of subway tile showers in modern bathrooms? Let me take you through why this design choice is so popular. Originally inspired by the iconic white, rectangular tiles from early 20th-century subway stations, subway tiles have seamlessly transitioned into an ideal bathroom decor. They blend perfectly with both modern and classic designs due to their versatile and timeless nature.

What makes subway tiles a favorite among homeowners is their ability to make spaces appear larger and brighter by reflecting light. You can also choose from a palette of colors and finishes to introduce an element of sophistication to your bathroom. But it's not all about looks; these ceramic or porcelain tiles are also incredibly easy to clean. Their non-porous surfaces mean you can keep your bathroom looking pristine with minimal effort. Interested in how to style subway tiles in your shower, mix and match with other tiles, or explore creative installation ideas? I've crafted a detailed guide to help you master the use of subway tiles in your bathroom.


Brass rain showerheads accentuate the glossy, vertically-laid grey tiles in this sleek and modern shower, complemented by a built-in shelf and marble lower walls.


A Guide For Installing Subway Tile In Your Shower 

Bypass the overhyped peel-and-stick options for shower tiling! Opting for subway tiles might appear challenging, but it's definitely manageable with some careful planning and the appropriate equipment. First off, assemble your essentials. You will need subway tiles, grout, a trowel, a tile cutter, a level, a sponge, and it’s wise to keep a bucket of water handy for quick cleanups.

Kick off the installation by spreading a thin-set mortar layer on your shower wall using the trowel. Begin placing the subway tiles at the lowest part, pressing them firmly into the mortar and progressing upwards. Insert spacers as you go to maintain uniform gaps between the tiles. After you’ve positioned all the tiles, allow the mortar to set and dry for 24 hours. Following this, apply grout across the tiles with a grout float, ensuring all spaces are completely filled. Remove any excess grout with a wet sponge and then allow it to cure for an additional 24 hours.

Precision and patience are crucial when installing subway tiles, so it’s vital to proceed slowly, ensuring all tiles are aligned and level. For the best results, considering a professional’s help is a wise choice.


A luxurious bathroom featuring a glass-enclosed shower with emerald green tiles, a freestanding tub with scenic views, and modern fixtures against light stone walls


Reasons To Opt For Subway Tile In Your Shower 

Ceramic or porcelain subway tiles are an outstanding option for your shower, combining durability and style in a way that stands the test of time. Their robust nature is perfect for the high-moisture setting of a bathroom. These tiles are also resistant to cracks and chips, boasting a smooth surface that repels mold and mildew, making them a breeze to maintain.

Their appeal doesn't stop at practicality; subway tiles are also highly adaptable. Available in a plethora of colors and finishes, they empower you to craft the exact ambiance you desire for your bathroom. Whether you're drawn to the understated elegance of classic white, the sleek sophistication of chic grey, or the dramatic flair of bold black marble, there’s a subway tile that matches your aesthetic and complements your shower floor tiles.

One of the most compelling reasons to choose subway tiles is their enduring charm. Having graced interiors for over a hundred years, subway tiles continue to be a beloved choice due to their timeless look and the sophisticated atmosphere they lend to any space. Whether your bathroom design leans towards modern minimalism, rustic farmhouse, or opulent spa-like tranquility, subway tiles are a versatile choice that can elevate your bathroom’s design:

Use White Subway Tile For A Sleek Shower Area

White subway tiles remain a timeless option for shower enclosures, prized for their ability to imbue any bathroom with a clean, crisp aesthetic. When matched with white grout, these tiles foster a unified appearance, enhancing the spatial perception of your bathroom and making it look more expansive. Opting for darker grout, on the other hand, frames each tile distinctly, offering striking depth and a bold contrast that can intensify the overall effect.

The adaptability of white subway tile extends to its application in a variety of layouts. Whether you prefer the classic staggered brick layout, a sophisticated herringbone, or a dynamic chevron pattern, these tiles can accommodate. They also pair beautifully with other tile styles, such as using white subway tiles on the shower walls while featuring a decorative tile on the floor for an artistic flair.

Beyond their aesthetic versatility, white subway tiles made of ceramic or porcelain are notably practical. They are easy to clean and maintain, a major plus for any bathroom environment. Their durability and stain resistance ensure that they maintain their pristine appearance, continuing to serve as a stylish and functional choice for years to come.

Try the Classic Pair of White Subway Tile with Black Grout

Exploring the timeless elegance of white subway tiles paired with black grout can transform your bathroom into a visual masterpiece. This iconic duo not only enhances the contrast and depth within your space but also ensures your subway tile shower becomes a striking focal point.

The use of black grout accentuates the distinct shapes and patterns of your subway tiles, injecting a layer of sophistication and complexity into your shower’s aesthetics. Its practical benefits are equally compelling, offering greater concealment of dirt and stains compared to its lighter counterparts.

However, it's worth noting that black grout demands meticulous installation due to its high visibility, which could expose any imperfections. Regular maintenance is key to keeping its bold appearance pristine. 

Combine Herringbone Subway Tile for Shower Walls and Mosaics for Shower Floors

To increase your bathroom’s style quotient, consider the chic and sophisticated pairing of a herringbone subway tile shower wall with a mosaic-tiled shower floor. The herringbone pattern, characterized by its distinctive zigzag arrangement, brings an element of classic elegance to your shower, forming a stylish “V” shape with the tiles.

Meanwhile, mosaic floor tiles, particularly those crafted from porcelain with a matte finish, introduce an additional layer of texture and visual intrigue. Available in an array of colors and patterns, these tiles offer endless customization opportunities. Whether you opt for a stark black-and-white combination, a vibrant geometric pattern, or a luxurious marble look finish, mosaic tiles can perfectly complement the sleek lines of your hinged shower tiles.

This combination not only provides a visually striking contrast but also adds depth and dimension to your bathroom. The interplay between the smooth, orderly subway tiles and the richly textured mosaic tiles crafts a bathroom that is not only functional but also a testament to timeless style and design.

Revamp Your Shower with Hexagon or Mosaic Floor Tiles

Hexagon tiles are a superb choice for injecting modernity and geometric flair into your bathroom. These tiles, available in an array of colors and materials, offer the flexibility to tailor your bathroom’s design to your tastes. Opt for a sleek white hexagon tile for a minimalist aesthetic, a luxurious black marble look for a touch of opulence, or a vibrant, colorful tile for a lively atmosphere.

Conversely, mosaic floor tiles deliver intricate beauty through their composition of numerous small tiles. The variety in arrangement options allows for limitless creative expression. Choose a subdued monochrome pattern for simplicity, an elaborate geometric array for added complexity, or a lively, colorful artwork for a bold statement.

When these matte porcelain tiles are combined with the straightforward elegance of subway tiles, the result is a compelling visual contrast. The simplicity of subway tiles complements the detailed richness of hexagon or mosaic floor tiles, achieving a stylish yet balanced bathroom environment that both soothes and inspires.

Explore the Unusual: Grey Subway Tile Designs for Your Shower

For those seeking an unconventional twist to the classic subway tile shower, grey subway tiles offer a stylish and versatile option. Grey is an exceptionally adaptive color, suitable for a multitude of bathroom decors—from sleek, modern aesthetics to more traditional, cozy atmospheres. Its neutral palette allows it to blend seamlessly with a variety of color schemes.

Not only do grey tiles bring a dash of sophistication and class to your bathroom, but they also foster a calm and tranquil environment, ideal for unwinding in a warm bath. Their darker shade contributes depth and an illusion of more space within your bathroom setting.

Moreover, grey subway tiles can be combined creatively with different colors of grout and an array of flooring tiles. For a timeless, elegant look, consider pairing them with black grout. Alternatively, match them with vibrant patterned floor tiles to inject a contemporary and eclectic flair into your bathroom. With grey tiles, the design possibilities are truly limitless!

Match Up Your Subway Tile Shower Wall with Concrete Look Tile Floors

Elevate the style of your subway tile shower by integrating concrete look tile floors. Known for their durability and distinctive flair, concrete look tiles can significantly enhance the charm and character of your bathroom. These porcelain tiles are not only robust but also boast a handcrafted appearance that adds a personalized touch to your space.

With a plethora of colors and designs available, concrete look tiles allow you to customize your bathroom’s look to your liking. Opt for a sleek, monochromatic design for a minimalist aesthetic, or select a vibrant, colorful pattern to infuse an eclectic energy into your decor. They are also an excellent complement to your bathroom vanities, tying the whole room together.

When combined with subway tiles, the versatility of concrete look tiles shines through. Consider pairing them with smooth, green subway tiles for a refreshing contrast. This combination balances the simplicity of the subway tiles with the rich texture and intricate designs of the concrete look tiles, creating a cohesive and visually appealing environment.

Combine Subway Tiles with Black Marble Look Tiles 

Enhance your bathroom to a realm of luxury and sophistication by integrating marble into your design, particularly through the use of black marble look tiles and marble look subway tiles. Marble, a symbol of opulence and timeless beauty, comes in an array of colors and unique patterns, making each installation one of a kind.

Black marble look tiles are especially effective for adding depth and a dramatic flair to your space. They transform any bathroom into a more elegant and luxurious environment. When combined with classic white subway tiles, the result is a bold, striking contrast that captivates and delights.

Alternatively, marble look subway tiles provide a more understated elegance. Their softer appearance contributes to a sophisticated, spa-like ambiance in your bathroom. Pairing these tiles with other marble features, such as marble top vanities or matching marble look floor tiles, helps to create a seamless and indulgently luxurious aesthetic.

Elevate Subway Tile Showers with Decorative Floor Tiles

Revitalize your subway tile shower by incorporating decorative floor tiles, a fantastic choice for infusing personality and visual appeal into your bathroom. These tiles offer a creative outlet to make your design stand out.

Available in a myriad of colors and patterns, these porcelain tiles provide the flexibility to craft a personalized aesthetic in your bathroom. Opt for a crisp black-and-white geometric pattern to achieve a sleek, modern look, or select a vibrant, artistic pattern to embrace a more eclectic, bohemian style. Whether your bathroom is spacious or more compact, decorative floor tiles are an effective and stylish solution to enhance its overall appearance.

Mix and Match: Hexagon Mosaic for Shower Walls and Herringbone Subway Tile for Shower Floors

Upgrade your subway tile shower by embracing the art of creative tiling with hexagon and herringbone designs. These patterns not only enhance the style of your bathroom but also introduce a unique visual texture.

Shower walls with hexagon mosaics are perfect for those seeking a modern, geometric aesthetic. The six-sided shape adds complexity and visual interest, making your shower area a standout feature. With a variety of colors and materials available, you can tailor the design to fit your personal style and bathroom decor.

On the flip side, shower floors with herringbone subway tiles bring a classic, sophisticated look. The distinctive zigzag pattern of herringbone tiling adds an element of luxury and elegance to your space. Available in materials like porcelain, herringbone patterned subway tiles allow you to create a refined and opulent environment in your bathroom.


A luxurious bathroom featuring a freestanding tub, striking marble walls, and deep blue vertical subway tiles, highlighted by gold fixtures and natural light.



Subway tiles, particularly those crafted from ceramic or porcelain, stand out as a classic and adaptable option for any shower, combining ease of maintenance with enduring style. Their high durability and easy-to-clean nature, paired with a variety of colors and finishes, allow you to customize your bathroom to your exact preferences. From the timeless elegance of marble look subway tiles to the contemporary appeal of grey subway tiles, these tiles ensure both functionality and aesthetic pleasure in your space.

Considering subway tiles for your bathroom renovation? They are a reliable and stylish choice that can enhance the value and appeal of your home. Whether you tackle the installation yourself or opt for professional assistance, subway tiles are a worthwhile investment. Visit Edward Martin’s website to discover the vast range of subway tiles available and start transforming your bathroom today!


Elegant shower with a brass rain showerhead against white marble-look subway tiles featuring intricate veining, creating a luxurious and serene ambiance.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Explore common questions about using subway tiles in shower renovations for a stylish and functional bathroom update.

Reminder: These suggestions are based on general practices. For specific installation and maintenance advice, it's best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations.


What makes subway tiles a good choice for shower renovations?

Ceramic or porcelain subway tiles are highly regarded for their versatility, durability, and timeless aesthetic. They are easy to clean and maintain, making them a practical choice for bathroom areas.

Are subway tiles available in different styles and colors?

Yes, subway tiles come in a wide range of colors and finishes, from classic white to chic grey and even elegant marble patterns. This variety allows you to customize the look of your bathroom to fit your personal style.

Are subway tiles suitable for DIY installation?

Yes, subway tiles are popular among DIY enthusiasts due to their relatively straightforward installation process. However, for optimal results, particularly for complex designs or materials, professional installation may be recommended.

How do I choose the right subway tile for my bathroom?

Consider the overall design theme of your bathroom. For a more traditional look, classic marble look or white subway is ideal, while a modern aesthetic might benefit from darker or colored tiles. Additionally, you can use our innovative AR technology to visualize how these tiles will look in your own space, helping you make the perfect choice for your renovation.

Where can I purchase subway tiles?

Subway tiles are available on our website, where you can also request high-quality 4" x 4" samples. These samples accurately reflect the color and finish of all tile sizes within each collection, ensuring you receive a true representation of our premium products. 

Can I mix and match different subway tile designs?

Yes, mixing and matching different subway tile designs can create a unique, custom look. You can pair different colors or combine different finishes like matte and glossy for a dynamic effect.

What should I consider before installing subway tiles in my shower?

Consider the size of the tiles, the color of the grout, and the complexity of the installation pattern. By choosing subway tiles for your bathroom renovation, you're opting for a functional, stylish, and enduring solution that can beautifully transform your space. Should you have any further inquiries or questions, feel free to contact us.

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