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How to Use Black Subway Tile for a Powerful Design Punch

Black subway tile, which is more commonly used in kitchens and living rooms, can also add the right decorative touch to a living room, hallway, wet bar, or even bedroom. However, it's important to use dark subway tile sparingly because it can be overwhelming in large quantities. Think of it as an accent element and you'll be heading in the right direction with your decor. Here are some more tips and ideas.

Photo features Urban Canvas in Matte Black 4 1/4 x 12 3/4, Light Smoke 4 1/4 x 12 3/4, and Multi-Gray Galaxy Accent 3 x 8 1/2 on the wall and Avenue One in Blackout 24 x 24 in a grid pattern on the floor.

Accentuate the Positive

Black subway tile is an excellent material for making a design statement. For instance, it makes a terrific headboard. Install it vertically in a bedroom, break it up with a cream-colored grout and a strip of accent tile, and frame the entire panel with a wood material that matches the bed frame. Then cover the bed with a graphic white-and-brown coverlet for a sophisticated look. Select accompanying furnishings in earth tones and you'll be on track to creating an urban oasis.

Go Mad for Plaid

Consider using subway tile to create a cream-and-black plaid pattern. The plaid tile wall can set the tone for the rest of the decor, such as a plush orange sofa, a tangerine wall, or a glossy bright tile floor. Subtly match the furnishings to the darkest tile to create a design statement that's filled with texture and intrigue.

Black subway tile is also a terrific way to anchor the bottom half of the walls in a bathroom. Try going with a lighter tile on the top half and creating a pattern using Urban Canvas in Matte Black, Light Smoke, and Galaxy for the bottom half. Repeat the scheme throughout the bathtub or shower surround. Finish with a darker tile like Avenue One in Blackout on the floor.

Go with Black Tile and White Grout

Pairing black subway tile from the Profiles line with white grout offers an elegant look for any space. Match the cabinetry and walls to the grout to elevate the contrast, and ground the entire design with woodlook tiles, such as those from the Creekwood line, to keep the black-and-white look from feeling too overwhelming. If you really want to emphasize the color black, opt for glossy tiles. Then keep the rest of the space neutral-wood floors with white walls nearby will keep dark colors in check. And for a rich look, pair it with Carrara White from the Marble and Oynx collection on the countertops.

Create a Random Pattern

For a look that's entirely playful and unexpected, create a random pattern of glossy black and white tiles on a kitchen backsplash. To keep the room spirited and light, let the white be the dominant hue. Another fun idea is to use the black-and-white tile in a staircase pattern by staggering the black tiles like risers and filling in the gaps with white subway tile.

Black subway tile can help you create a design that resembles an upscale downtown hotel spa. Use it to highlight a black clawfoot tub or shower stall, or simply use it as a backsplash. Just keep in mind that a glossy finish is more upscale, while matte is more family-friendly and inviting. In the end, however, it's hard to go wrong—regardless of the room you're designing. For more tile options to consider, visit your nearest American Olean retail dealer.