Move Over, Subway Tile: 7 Inexpensive (and Timeless) Backsplash Ideas

White subway tile backsplashes are elegant, they’re classic, and… they’re everywhere. If you’re a little tired of the look, or you just want something different for your kitchen, look no further than this round-up of seven budget-friendly alternatives to subway tile for your backsplash.

Hex Tile

In a new shape, those familiar old ceramic tiles feel surprisingly fresh, like in this kitchen featured by Adore Home. Pair with dark grout to really emphasize the honeycomb pattern.

It may seem strange, in an article about backsplashes, that I’m recommending not having a backsplash at all, but if you use a glossy paint, or one that’s designed to be easy to clean, a painted backsplash can be a viable option for a kitchen that doesn’t see a lot of heavy-duty cooking. Plus it’s a great way to add a little color to your kitchen, like in Stephanie and Bob’s L.A. home.


Beadboard is a budget-friendly way to add a bit of country-kitchen flair. Continuing the beadboard along the back of a glass cabinet (or open shelving, as seen here on Vintage Interior: Halles Diary) is a nice effect.

Colored Square (or Subway) Tile

Why not shake things up with a little color? Using glass tile (as in this space from Entrance Makleri) makes for a particularly nice effect. If you’re having trouble finding square (or rectangular) backsplash tile in the color of your choice, check out our list of sources.


The folks at Stylizmo made this beautiful backplash from just painted plywood. The small shelf up top is a nice touch.

Tile in an Unusual Pattern

The tile in this kitchen by Hunted Interior, if you look closely, is slightly longer and thinner than a typical subway tile, but what makes it interesting is the way it’s laid, in a herringbone pattern. You can also lay classic subway tile in a less than typical pattern to shake up your look a bit. As with the hex tile, dark grout will make this look really pop.

Chalkboard Paint

You’ll probably want to use dustless chalk so you don’t have dusty food. Even so, this is probably not for more fastidious types, but if having a little chalk in your kitchen doesn’t concern you chalkboard paint can make for a budget-friendly, intriguing, and changeable backsplash like this one above on Heimatbaum.



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