14 Home Decor Ideas that Use Subway Tile with Black Grout

Christine Steuber
Jun 15, 2022
Wondering how subway tiles would look paired with black grout in your interior? Here are some unique designs to inspire your vision!

Do you think subway tiles are boring and you can’t do much with them? Well, I wouldn’t be that adamant.

Although these tiles might look basic, they are actually a great choice that can perfectly fit all types of interiors and make them look unique.

In case you are planning to renovate your home, but the classic all-white designs look too monotonous to you, I suggest you consider adding contrast using black grout instead of white. Choosing the right subway tile grout color can make a huge difference and bring your design to the next level.

If you are looking for the best ideas to incorporate this style of tiles in your home, you’ve come to the right place! I’ll show you some of the fantastic options available for both the bathroom and kitchen so that you can easily make your decision.

Let’s get started!

What Are Subway Tiles?

Subway tiles are a variety of ceramic tiles that people often use on the floor and walls in their bathrooms, kitchen, entryways, laundry rooms, and wherever they want to have an easy-to-clean surface.

Typically, these tiles come in a rectangular shape and are colored white with a glossy finish, but today we can find them in all colors and variants.

The standard dimension of subway tiles is 10 x 20 cm, but you can also find the ones in the dimensions of 10 x 30 cm.

One of the reasons people use these tiles for interior design is their stain-resistant surface. However, in addition to high resistance to stains, there are various other positive sides of this material and, of course, some disadvantages. Let’s break them down next.

The pros and cons of choosing black grout for subway tiles

When choosing grout for your subway tiles, color is an essential factor that strongly impacts the final look. For instance, if you use subway tiles and black grout combination, this can look fantastic and transform the whole room. But before you decide whether you want to install the black grout in your home, let me list the pros and cons.


  • Black color can hide the dirt and make it less visible.
  • It helps white tiles look even lighter and cleaner.
  • It will never go out of style.
  • You can use it as an alternative for more demanding materials and decors like shiplap

Although black grout with white tile looks absolutely fabulous after you install it, you can still expect some problems with it later. Here are some of them:


  • Black grout fades over time.
  • Although it hides dark dirt, black grout is very sensitive to limescale, especially in bathrooms.
  • It might be challenging to clean the grout during the application process, and if you don’t do it properly, it might stain the white subway tiles.

To sum it up, black grout is an excellent option if you have enough will (and nerves) to maintain its original looks over time. In that case, you can expect a stunning look of your subway tiles as well.

7 Ideas for the Bathroom

Okay, my dear readers. Now that we know all the necessary information, let me inspire you with some awesome ideas for using the subway tiles with black grout in the bathrooms.

This is undoubtedly a super-savvy way to add a personal touch to even the smallest rooms. You’ll learn in which position to attach your tiles and which shapes to use to make your bathroom look more spacious, fresh, and stylish.

Idea #1: Make the contrast between floors and walls

Let’s start our section with one modern, urban bathroom that stands out thanks to the white subway tiles on the wall and black honeycomb tiles on the floor.

Black and white look perfect together. Black absorbs, while white reflects, so this is the unmistakable choice for the bathroom. White subway tiles cover the entire shower cabin surface, making this cramped space visually larger and more spacious.

Take a look at this stunning white subway tile and dark grout design:

Bathroom design white subway tiles black grout black floor
Credit: Pinterest

As we can see in the picture above, a wooden vanity is also part of the decoration, and it fits perfectly to break up the monotony and bring a touch of warmth into the interior.

Idea #2: Combine different types of tiles

Who says all tiles have to be the same? Let’s experiment with different forms of tiles that will fit your subway style.

The following example is very similar to the previous one, but if you look closer, you’ll notice a masonry shelf for the shampoos in the middle of the wall. Behind it, we can see a mix of bold and graphic black and white accent tiles:

What I particularly like about this design is the uniqueness and courage to mix different styles that look fantastic together. The floor tiles are hexagon-shaped with geometric flowers, adding even more charm to this chic bathroom!

Idea #3: Tile a bathroom wall from top to the bottom

In the following example, we see another beautiful bathroom with a subtly luxurious touch. The bright and modern surface of subway tiles covers all the walls from top to bottom, creating perfect continuity this way. Meanwhile, black grout provides a refreshing base and gives this bathroom “the finish “it needs.

Check out how amazing it looks:

Bathroom design white subway tiles black grout wooden ceiling
Credit: Pinterest

The bold accents like the mirror, shower stall frame, and wall lamps work perfectly with these tiles. You can also see how the small details like the gold faucet and a tall plant completely transform this industrial room into a luxurious one.

Idea #4: Mix different styles

If you can’t decide between a trendy marble and classic subway tile, why not combine them? This combination brings many advantages, and you can’t go wrong with it. First, there is less grout to clean. Second, your bathroom instantly becomes unique and stylish. Thirdly, this combo brings the gilded shower faucets to the fore.

Take a look:

These subway tiles pair excellently with the window pane shower door and turn your bathroom into a lovely little oasis. The abundance of light makes the bathroom look clean, fresh, and airy. As in the example above, I advise you to insert a few gold or bronze details to bring warmth into the black and white space.

Idea #5: Use the 3D tiles

If you are a fan of a more rustic style, then opt for 3D subway tiles that do not look like the ones I showed in previous examples. They are not completely flat and sanded but have a relief surface. That’s why they look more like bricks than tiles. Also, between each tile, we see a black grout that makes a perfect contrast in the interspace. Black grout for shower walls can look absolutely stunning, and here’s the actual proof:

I especially like that the homeowner decided to run away from strictly black and white shades in this interior. We can see one wall in pastel pink with a colorful art painting.

Idea #6: Dare to go with all black

And now, we are moving from bright, airy, and sunny bathrooms to a completely dark one. Would you have the courage to line the entire bathroom with black subway tiles and black grout? I honestly wouldn’t dare make a move like this, but even though this style deviates from my preferences, I have to admit it looks spectacular. Take a look:

Bathroom design black subway tiles black grout
Credit: Pinterest

Even the classic shower faucet, which goes unnoticed in standard bathrooms, shows the maximum of its beauty in such an interior. We can also spot small indentations for shampoos, scrubs, hair masks, and everything else we need in the bathroom. 

If you decide on this idea, I advise you to clean with gentle products without bleach to not destroy the surface and fade the color of your tiles and grout. You need to be especially careful if your tiles and grout are subsequently painted. 

What do I mean here?

Well, if you want to have the bathroom like this, you can also try to paint your white tiles and grout with black spray paint and save money that way.

Idea #7: Add a bit of color to your space

For all of you who are not fans of white spaces, but black is still too much for you, I have prepared an example you’ll love.

Dark grout and the green tiles provide a dramatic look in this bathroom. So if you are looking for a bold and sophisticated style, this would be an excellent option for your home. Check out this glam bathroom that pairs perfectly with gold details:

Bathroom design greem subway tiles black grout gold details
Credit: Pinterest

The mirror is simple and black but also very stunning due to its size, covering a large part of the wall. The wash basin has an unusual shape, and its white color breaks the dark tones of this interior. If you ask me, every little detail is perfect here!

7 Ideas for the Kitchen

Since the subway tiles are endlessly versatile and easy to clean, they are probably one of the most popular and timeless options for the kitchen, especially backsplashes.

But if you opt for white grout, it is more likely to turn yellow quickly because of cooking. That is why black grout is a great option in this case. I have singled out the seven best examples to make it easier for you to transform your kitchen.

Let’s start.

Idea #1: Classic white backsplash

We will start our list with a classic example of a subway tile backsplash. These high-gloss tiles lined with black grout pair perfectly with the glass-front cabinets and the marble work surface. Take a look:

Kitchen design white subway tile black grout classic backsplash
Credit: decorpad

Although the grout is black, you shouldn’t have any maintenance problems. Unlike the bathroom, where the tiles are often exposed to water, this is not the case in the kitchen, so you can expect a minimum of limescale that will disappear quickly with proper care and maintenance. 

Also, in completely white kitchens like this, it’s always a good idea to add a little wood detail to bring a touch of warmth to a room.

Idea #2: Diagonal subway tiles

If you want to achieve a unique subway tile design, I recommend using a diagonal lay pattern. This tile pattern for a kitchen backsplash is similar to the traditional offset, but the only difference is laying the tiles at a 45-degree angle instead of a horizontal line.

I highlighted one charming kitchen with this backsplash style. Let me show you:

Kitchen design diagonal white subway tiles black grout
Credit: houzz

In this example, we can see the lovely kitchen with stainless steel appliances, diagonal subway tiles with black grout, and a beautiful wooden floor that gives the whole space a homely and warm vibe.

Idea #3: Make the contrast

If you thought I was only a fan of white kitchens, that’s not true. In fact, I really like dark tones in kitchen interiors.

For instance, I fell in love with this dark gray kitchen and white subway tiles that add brightness to the space and make the concept of the whole kitchen visually more open.

Take a look:

Kitchen design white subway tiles black grout black kitchen cabinets
Credit: houzz

The homeowner decided on the dark cabinets, white tiles, bronze chandeliers, and wooden floors and thus created an incredible farmhouse style!

Idea #4: Vertical straight set

In case you don’t like either horizontally or diagonally placed subway tiles, then you might love the following idea! Why not try laying the tiles vertically?

Although I personally have always preferred the horizontal laying of tiles, I must admit that this example put me in doubt. I am planning to renovate my kitchen soon, and this style attracts me more and more:

The black grout lines stand out very nicely and give authenticity to the kitchen’s look. Wooden cabinets, shelves for the kitchen stuff storage, and green plants perfectly warm up the seemingly cold combination of white and black.

Idea #5: Bold tile grout

To make your kitchen backsplash look even more striking and unique, I suggest you go with the bold black grout. In this way, each tile will come to the fore individually, and your kitchen will get that special “touch.” I think this picture speaks more than a thousand words:

Kitchen design white subway tiles bold black grout
Credit: Pinterest

Now just imagine this kitchen completely white with white grout. It would look like a doctor’s office, wouldn’t it? But with a clever idea and the use of black bold tile grout, this kitchen got a unique, rustic look. In short, if you are someone who prefers white kitchens and still doesn’t want everything to look too sterile, this option will be your great solution!

Idea #6: Basketweave subway tiles

Let’s continue with a super simple and easy-to-do pattern of laying subway tiles in the kitchen. It looks more fun and unique than the basic brick-lay. This way of laying the tiles is called basketweave. It will cost you the same as classic subway tiles, and installation on the wall is not demanding at all. Just simply follow the example and pattern from the picture to attach your tiles:

Kitchen design basketweave white subway tiles black grout
Credit: Pinterest

In this example, we can also see how sensational black grout can look! If you use the white grout in this design, the position of these tiles wouldn’t be visible. Black grout walls achieve the desired result, break the monotony, and give dimension to the kitchen. Also, this pattern would be ideal to tile an outdoor table, so try to refresh your old patio furniture with this stylish coverage.

Idea #7: Dark & dramatic backsplash

And while in the previous examples, we could see the contrast between the white tiles and the black grout, in the next interior, you won’t be able to see that transition. I can’t wait to introduce you to this black beauty. Take a look first so you can understand my enthusiasm:

Kitchen design black subway tile black grout
Credit: Pinterest

The black color dominates in this kitchen, from cabinets, work surface, and shelves to tiles and black grout that connects them. Breaking the blackness was achieved by adding white dishes and green plants. This way, the room became more comfortable and warmer.

The pure white wall and a fantastic piece of art also create a great contrast to the black tiles and grout.

While this design looks attractive and modern, I still wouldn’t opt for a black kitchen. Fingerprints, dust, and limescale will be your regular guests. Still, if you really like this idea, don’t let this discourage you. Just clean and maintain it properly, and I am sure you won’t have any big problems!

Over to You

Okay, my dear readers, this concludes my article on how to incorporate subway tiles with black grout in your home design.

To sum up, the black grout can look fantastic in your kitchen and bathroom, but keep in mind that it will require extra care to maintain its hues. It creates the perfect contrast and transition between your tiles and thus makes every wall more striking and unique.

And once again – subway tiles are timeless and fit perfectly into all types of interiors. So, choose the tile pattern you like most and transform your kitchen or bathroom easily and quickly. I hope I inspired you and gave you some good ideas for your home project!

If you are interested in more creative topics and ideas for upgrading and decorating your rooms, I invite you to read my previous articles!

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