Source: Zillow Digs

Renovating a bathroom can be a costly and time-consuming process. Many homeowners use generic building materials readily available at “big box” stores to keep supply costs down. This is a sensible money-saving solution — but one that can result in a bathroom that looks generic, too.

With a little creativity, it’s possible to get the best of both worlds. For example, standard three-inch by six-inch white subway tiles typically cost less than $2 per square foot at big box hardware stores. Arranging them in clever patterns allows you to create a customized look. Installation takes a little longer — but not much. And when you’re finished, you’ll have a bathroom that feels anything but generic.

Here are a few of the patterns you can create with subway tiles.

Vertical stack: clean and contemporary

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 Herringbone: a modern twist on a traditional pattern

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Perpendicular: intriguing angles

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Pinwheel: a classic spin

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Depending on the pattern you choose, you can install it throughout the bathroom or, for a subtler effect, just use it as an inset in a shower stall to give your bathroom a little more pop.

Arranging subway tiles in a pattern is a terrific way to personalize your bathroom without spending a fortune on materials. The best part is that by using a timeless classic like the three-inch by six-inch subway tile, you add character without making your bathroom so stylized that you’ll want to renovate it again next year.

Check out more gorgeous bathroom ideas.


Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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