Get Your FREE Quotation Now! Click Here
Singapore's Leading Renovation & Interior Design Site

7 Timeless Bathroom Surface Alternatives to the White Subway Tile

The white subway tile is iconic, inexpensive and practical, making it an obvious choice for a bathroom surface. Homeowners in Singapore have fully embraced this rectangle-shaped tile, which first appeared on the walls of subway (train) stations in New York back in the early 20th century. Because of its timeless appeal, it is pretty much everywhere. So if you’re looking to up your game on the design front and stand out from a sea of white subway tiles, opt for these equally classic bathroom surface alternatives instead.


1. Wood-like Tiles

Wood has always held timeless appeal. It’s neutral, yet interesting enough thanks to the varying hues and the differing grain patterns. Real wood in a humid environment like the bathroom isn’t advisable though, so opt for wood-like tiles that offer the feel and look of the real thing minus the maintenance nightmare.

Design: Akihaus

Tip: To prevent your wood-clad bathroom from appearing outdated 10 years down the road, the various tiles used should come in more or less similar wood tones so that your space appears more polished rather than rustic.


2. Hexagon Tiles

Hexagon tiles can offer a geometric punch to your bathroom, but the six-edge shape is simple enough that it still feels timeless if you choose to go with a neutral or monochromatic palette. Our choice for an elegant, classic vibe? Basic white hex tiles with black grouting. Keep them to either your bathroom walls or flooring, rather than have them on all the surfaces.

Design: Richfield Integrated


3. Marble-like Tiles

If you think timelessness is synonymous with luxury, then marble should be your bathroom surface of choice. However, take caution as like with wood, real marble isn’t easy to upkeep and the material is porous, requiring regular sealing. Instead, opt for tiles that feature marble patterns. Play it safe with white, grey or beige marble and make sure the veins are subtle rather than conspicuous so that it’s timeless rather than tacky.

Design: Project Guru


4. Basic Square

If there’s anything more basic and timeless than the subway tile, it’s the functional square tile. If you’re trying to save on your renovation budget, take note that this is an affordable alternative too. We like the contrast of a white square tile with black grout lines, which while incredibly fashionable of late, still manages to retain that classic appeal.

Design: Third Avenue Studio


5. Neutral Mosaics

Mosaic tiles don’t just come in shimmering, bright patterns. They can be wonderfully neutral and timeless too. Here, white mosaic tiles, featuring a slight sheen, clad the surfaces of this resale HDB bathroom, presenting a bright, clean and fuss-free feel. Choose a glossier surface to make wiping down the tiles a lot easier.

Design: The Local Inn.terior


6. Penny Tiles

For a classic vintage flair, white-and-black penny tiles are a good option. But they also come in a variety of colours and finishes to offer up a different vibe to your bathroom space. Another timeless option we like is to have them in a mother-of-pearl finish with light-coloured grouting to lend a bit of texture and dimension to the bathroom.

Design: Design Neu


7. Slate-like Tiles

Slate, which is a kind of metamorphic rock, can offer add a resort, Zen vibe to your space. The neutral-looking material usually features a textured charcoal grey surface that is great for blending into the background, so it’s a look that can definitely last through the ages. Because the material is rather porous unless sealed periodically, it’s a lot more economical to invest in slate-like tiles that look just like the real thing without the upkeep.

Design: The Interior Design Enterprise

Still want to stick with white subway tiles? Change things up by laying them out in an interesting herringbone pattern like in this mid-century style bathroom. The tile is classic enough that even when laid in an unusual pattern, it doesn’t appear overly trendy and still looks timeless.

Design: Icon Interior Design


Start meeting IDs to discuss your home design and compare quotes:

  • Complete this form and we will recommend you a list of reputable interior design firms that fit your renovation requirements. It's free! Note: This form is not applicable for repair works request.
  • My Property

  • Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, ppt, jpeg, Max. file size: 2 MB.
    We recommend to attach your floor plan for a better estimate. File must less than 2MB.
  • Project Info

  • $
  • My Contact Details


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get Quotation -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

six + seven =