10 Herringbone Kitchen Backsplash Ideas Better Than Subway Tile

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Repeat after us: A subway tile kitchen backsplash is always a good idea. Seriously, you can't go wrong with a classic. Laid out in a linear fashion and typically featuring bright white rectangular tile, it's a look that works with a variety of design styles and is basically trend-proof. But, that being said, we are always up for pushing the envelope, too.

So if you're remodeling your kitchen, and toying with the idea of trading in your safe subway tile for a herringbone backsplash, you have our full support. Arranged in a zig-zag pattern, it's an excellent way to bring personality to your culinary space, especially when you punch it up by using tile in bold colors.

Here are 10 cook spaces that can better sell you on the idea of installing a herringbone backsplash in your own kitchen.

1. Create a backdrop for a coffee bar.

A coffee bar in the kitchen is all the rage these days, and you know what will make it look even cooler? Adding a herringbone backsplash. We love that Jude of That Homebird Life installed white tile behind floating wood shelves, completing the look of her warm and welcoming java station.

Get the look: MSI Calacatta Cressa 1" x 2" Marble Mosaic Tile, $11.19 per square foot

2. Use gray or black grout.

There's one thing that's guaranteed to level up any kitchen backsplash idea — contrasting grout. When you use a dark gray or even black color, which is what Kristin of Hunted Interior did in this cook space, the herringbone pattern will really pop, making it look modern and artful.

Get the look: Merola Tile Metro Soho Matte White 1-3/4 in. x 7-3/4 in. Porcelain Floor and Wall Subway Tile, $7.19 per square foot

3. Go with tiny tiles.

You can always choose standard-size tile for your herringbone backsplash, but we also suggest using diminutive mosaic tile. They'll create a more ornate-looking pattern, something we adore in this kitchen styled by Olivia and Katie of Hearth Home Interiors.

Get the look: Bedrosians Tile & Stone White Carrara Floor & Wall Mosaic, $13.59 per square foot

4. Be bold.

A herringbone backsplash is already pretty interesting, but we think you can even take it a step further with tile in an anything-but-shy hue. For instance, in this kitchen showcased by Mercury Mosaics, a splashy shade of green makes this space look truly one-of-a-kind.

Get the look: Mercury Mosaics 2"x6" Herringbone Pattern in "Bluegrass," $59 per square foot

5. White goes with everything.

On the other side of the spectrum, a white herringbone backsplash will absolutely go with anything in your kitchen. For example, in this space featured on Home Bunch and designed by Brandon Architects, ivory tile pairs beautifully with the light wood finishes and navy blue cabinets.

Get the look: Jeffrey Court Allegro White 3 in. x 12 in. Glossy Beveled Ceramic Wall Tile, $4.25 per square foot

6. A bit of sheen provides ample visual interest.

You can take a departure from matte kitchen backsplash ideas and embrace tile with sheen instead. That's what Lauren of Edit by Lauren did in her culinary space, and the result is a herringbone backsplash that'll turn heads and still act as a neutral.

Get the look: Traditions in Tile and Stone Ceramic Wall Tile, Price Upon Request

7. Vary the hues.

If straight-up white just isn't your style, but you're still drawn to kitchen backsplash ideas that will stand the test of time, look no further than marble tile. The natural color variation and veining will lend an assortment of color to your herringbone backsplash, something that Colette of Restyle it Wright captured in her kitchen.

Get the look: The Builder Depot Calacatta Gold Italian Marble 1x3" Herringbone Mosaic Honed, starting at $19.95 per sheet per square foot

8. Keep things light and bright.

Dreaming of an airy, light-soaked kitchen? In this case, we advise installing a white or whisper-soft gray herringbone backsplash. Zabrina of ZDesign at Home chose both hues for this breezy cook space, flawlessly complementing the white cabinetry and other light colors throughout.

Get the look: Stone Center Online Carrara White Italian Marble Herringbone Mosaic Tile 1x3, $10.95 per sheet

9. Embrace a subtle look.

Instead of using dark grout or large tile, you can opt for a toned-down aesthetic with small, white tile and white grout. Subtlety is the name of the game in this white kitchen belonging to Nicole of Work|Wear|Wander.

Get the look: Oracle Tile & Stone Thassos White Greek Marble 1 X 3 Herringbone, $14.50 per sheet

10. Pastels are a lovely choice.

For something on the surprising side that will make a kitchen look oh-so-sweet, consider a pastel herringbone backsplash. In this dreamy culinary space belonging to Lucinda of PeacockFinds, cotton candy pink tile plays nicely with the muted, mint green cabinets, patterned wallpaper, and herringbone wood flooring.

Get the look: Bert & May Herringbone Tile in Cherry Red, pricing upon request


Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.

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