Herringbone Tile Bathroom Backsplash Modern Twist on Classic Tiles

A herringbone tile bathroom backsplash brings a modern twist to this classic tile pattern. The chevron design of herringbone tiles creates visual interest and brings movement to your backsplash. Herringbone tiles arranged in alternating directions add depth and make the space look larger. While herringbone backsplash tiles provide a traditional look, pairing them with modern materials, colors, and styles creates an updated contemporary style. There are endless possibilities to customize a herringbone backsplash and make it your own.

Why Choose a Herringbone Tile Backsplash

Herringbone tiles have been used in design for centuries but remain a popular option for backsplashes today. Here are some of the benefits of using herringbone tiles for your backsplash:

  • Timeless and classic pattern that doesn’t go out of style
  • Adds visual interest and texture with the zigzag design
  • Makes a small space appear larger
  • Draws the eye up and makes the room feel more open
  • Available in many sizes, materials, colors and finishes
  • Works in many design aesthetics from traditional to modern
  • Easy to install in a do-it-yourself project
  • Very versatile – can be dressed up or down easily

Herringbone doesn’t need much to make a statement. The zigzag pattern itself creates movement and interest. However, you have many options to customize the look by playing with color, tile material, grout color, and arrangement.

Modern Twist: Materials and Finishes

One way to give a herringbone backsplash a modern feel is to choose contemporary materials and finishes.

Glass subway tiles – Glass tiles reflect light and add a sleek, shiny look. Using glass herringbone tiles in a subway size has a modern vibe. Mix glass with marble for contrast.

Metallics – Metallic backsplashes are trendy. Go for gold, brass, copper or silver tiles or metallic glazes on ceramic or porcelain tiles. Metallics add glamour and shine.

Bold colors – Use vibrant colors like dark teal or navy blue for a pop of drama. Glossy tiles in bold colors seem modern and fresh.

Mosaics – Small mosaic tiles set in herringbone patterns feel glamorous and current. Use shimmery tiles like mosaic glass or metallic mosaics.

Large format tiles – Oversized tiles set in herringbone layouts can create a contemporary statement. Use porcelain slab tiles or large rectangular tiles.

Natural stone mosaics – Materials like marble, travertine and quartzite bring organic texture. Stone mosaics in soft neutral colors give an earthy modern feel.

Concrete – Concrete tiles lend an urban loft vibe. The matte look provides contrast to polished surfaces. Use in soft grey for modern industrial.

Wood look – Wood-look porcelain or ceramic tiles have beautiful natural grain patterns that feel modern and sleek. Use extra-long planks for dramatic effect.

Modern Twist: Stylish Color Palettes

Color choices can transform the look of a herringbone backsplash from classic to contemporary. Some modern color combinations include:

Black and white – A black and white herringbone backsplash makes a bold graphic statement. Use high-contrast for modern punch.

Soft neutrals – Stick with a neutral palette of whites, tans and warm greys for an earthy modern feel. Mix tile sizes and textures.

Dark and moody – Deep dramatic colors like navy, charcoal grey and even black create an elegant modern look. Match metals and fixtures.

Bold contrasts – Contrasting colors like navy and brass, or teal and copper make the herringbone pattern pop. Match one color to cabinetry.

All-white – A stunning all-white kitchen with white herringbone backsplash tiles looks ultra-modern. Use white grout and minimalist fixtures for full effect.

Two-tone – Pair two colors in the same family like light and dark grey, or warm and cool whites. Use one color for most tiles and the other for accent.

Earth tones – Natural terra-cotta, light tans and greys beautifully coordinate with natural wood cabinetry and furnishings for an organic modern style.

Vintage colors – Modern takes on retro color combinations like mint green, pale yellow, or blush pink give off a hip, modern cottage vibe when used with herringbone tile.

Metallic sheen – Shimmery metallic backsplashes in silver, gold, pewter, nickel or bronze catch the light for glamour. Mix metals for extra pop.

Contemporary Layouts and Patterns

Herringbone doesn’t have to follow strict symmetrical designs. Get creative with the tile layout and patterns to give your backsplash a unique modern look.

Vary orientations – Mixing up herringbone rows oriented vertically and horizontally adds modern interest. Use it randomly or in panels.

Focal points – Use herringbone only on part of the backsplash as a focal point, like behind the range or around a window.

Borders – Outline sections of herringbone with borders of rectangular tiles, contrasting colors or materials to add contemporary flair.

Stacked – Instead of flat herringbone, stack tiles vertically so the points meet. This adds height and dimension.

Plank – Extra-long rectangular wood-look planks arranged in herringbone pattern create a dramatic modern statement.

Mini tiles – Tiny tiles like mosaics and hexagons make intricate interesting herringbone designs. Mix with larger tiles.

Interrupted pattern – Break up the zigzags by integrating horizontal, vertical or square tiles. Use sparingly for pops of contrast.

Three-dimensional – Add modern depth with tile spacers between herringbone rows. Grout and seal properly for defined cubic look.

Transition tiles – Transition from herringbone to another pattern like stripes using a row of rectangular tiles. Provide visual separation.

Irregular – Make random imperfections part of the design by using varied tile shapes/sizes or interrupting the pattern. Keep it subtle.

Geometric combinations – Combine herringbone with geometric shapes like hexagons or chevrons for a modern composition. Tone colors down.

Grout Color for a Modern Finish

Grout color makes a surprising impact on the look of a herringbone tile backsplash. White and light grey are popular modern choices. Consider:

  • White grout keeps things fresh and clean lined
  • Light grey grout highlights herringbone pattern details
  • Dark grey grout makes the tile colors pop from contrast
  • Colored grout coordinates with or contrasts tile colors
  • Metallic grout like bronze or silver grout adds glamour

Keep in mind lighter grout needs cleaning more often. Many homeowners seal grout repeatedly to maximize stain resistance. Match your grout color and finish to the look you want.

Backsplash Style Ideas

There are endless ways to integrate herringbone tile patterns into kitchen backsplashes. Here are some stylish modern options to spark inspiration:

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

Give a modern farmhouse kitchen warmth with natural textures like wood beams, marble countertops and subway tile backsplashes. Use a light wood stain and modern stainless appliances. Add a herringbone backsplash behind the range in marble or ceramic tile. Stick to a neutral color palette and modernize with gold accents.

Scandinavian Minimalist Kitchen

Create an airy minimalist look with two-tone cabinetry, light floors and walls, high windows and minimal decor. Contrast with a bold herringbone backsplash in black and white. Choose sleek shaker cabinets in white uppers and light wood base. Add warmth with wood countertops. Include some painted wood accents.

Industrial Modern Kitchen

Exposed ductwork, metal finishes, concrete surfaces and clean lines lend an urban industrial feel. Install concrete-look herringbone tile backsplash to tie in concrete counters. Pair with reclaimed wood shelves and dining table. Contrast with black metal hardware and lighting fixtures.

Glamorous Modern Kitchen

For serious glamour, use reflective surfaces like polished stone, glass mosaic, metal and mirrored backsplashes. Install an elegant marble herringbone backsplash with metal accents. Paint cabinets in dramatic dark colors like navy or charcoal. Add gold hardware and light fixtures. Use glass surfaces for shelving.

Modern Cottage Kitchen

Crisp white cabinetry, light wood floors and marble or quartz countertops emanate fresh cottage charm. Add a herringbone backsplash in subway tile or marble mosaics. Boost the cozy factor with open shelving, woven pendant lighting and decorative tile trim. A vintage color scheme keeps it modern.

Contemporary Kitchen

Get a sleek, polished look with a minimalist design. Use solid wood cabinetry, stone or quartz counters and a simple backsplash. Install herringbone tile behind the range as a focal point. Opt for oversized porcelain tiles or marble mosaics. Keep the color scheme neutral. Add interest with glass shelves and contemporary pendant lighting.

Tips for Installing a Herringbone Backsplash

One of the benefits of herringbone backsplash tile is it’s easy to DIY. Follow these tips for proper installation:

  • Plan tile layout carefully. Measure the space and sketch plans with tile widths indicated.
  • Use level lines for pattern consistency. Snap horizontal and vertical chalk lines on the wall.
  • Mix tiles from several boxes. Rotate tiles front to back to evenly distribute variation.
  • Cut border and edge tiles accurately for clean results. Use a wet saw for precise cuts.
  • Use tile spacers for even grout lines. Place spacers at all tile intersections.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for grout and sealant products. Applying grout and sealant properly helps tiles last.
  • Grout evenly and remove excess grout with minimal wiping and scrubbing to avoid pulling grout from tile joints.
  • Seal grout once dry according to manufacturer’s recommendations to prevent staining and discoloration.


Is herringbone tile only for traditional kitchens?

No, herringbone backsplash tile can look modern and contemporary. The classic zigzag pattern provides visual interest that works in many aesthetics. Choose modern materials like concrete, glass and metallics. Use bold contemporary colors or soft neutrals. Mix in other patterns like stripes, geometrics or mosaics. There are many creative ways to design a herringbone backsplash tile with a modern twist.

Do herringbone tile patterns make a small kitchen look bigger?

Yes, often the chevron shape and angles of a herringbone pattern can make a small kitchen appear larger and more open. The directional arrangement draws the eye up and out toward the room. Using tiles with a glossy or reflective finish enhances this effect. To maximize the illusion of spaciousness, use a tile color close to the wall color and minimal grout lines. Consistent lighting also helps.

Is it hard to install a herringbone backsplash yourself?

Installing a herringbone backsplash is intermediate in terms of DIY difficulty. The main challenges are taking exact measurements, using level lines, precisely cutting tiles, properly spacing and aligning the zigzag pattern, and applying grout smoothly. Having the right tools like a wet saw helps immensely. Overall, installing a herringbone backsplash tile is very doable for a dedicated DIYer willing to take the time to measure twice and cut once. Patience and prep work are key.

How do you clean and maintain a herringbone tile backsplash?

Gently clean herringbone tile backsplashes regularly using the temperature and cleaning solutions recommended for the specific tile type. Use mild, pH-neutral soap and water for ceramic and porcelain tiles. Avoid harsh chemicals, powders, abrasive pads or sponges. Rinse thoroughly. Check manufacturer’s care instructions. Reseal grout periodically per manufacturer directions, usually about once a year. This helps prevent staining and discoloration in grout lines. Immediately wipe up spills, splatters and water contact on backsplash tiles and grout.

Can you do a herringbone backsplash with natural stone or marbles?

Definitely. Natural stones like marble, travertine, slate, onyx and quartzite make beautiful herringbone backsplashes. Stone mosaic tiles in small sizes work especially well to create intricate herringbone designs. Larger format stone tiles can be used too. Be sure to use the recommended sealers and gentle cleaners approved for each natural stone. This helps protect the stone surfaces and grout from damage. Consider honed, flamed or tumbled stone finishes to downplay signs of wear.

Herringbone Backsplash Inspiration

The classic zigzag pattern of a herringbone tile backsplash brings visual warmth and elegance to any kitchen. With so many sizes, colors, textures and materials available, herringbone tiles can be customized to suit your personal taste and kitchen design aesthetic. Whether you favor sleek modern, cozy traditional or charming cottage styles, a herringbone backsplash is a charming choice that will bring you joy for years to come.


A herringbone tile backsplash breathes new life into a classic pattern with modern style and fresh appeal. The chevron shape adds beautiful dimension, texture and movement to your kitchen design. Tailor a herringbone backsplash to your personal taste by choosing from an array of tile materials, sizes, colors, and unique layouts. Installing a herringbone backsplash tile yourself brings immense satisfaction and cost savings. Pay close attention to careful measuring, level installation and proper grout application for stunning results you will enjoy for decades. Let your herringbone backsplash reflect your personal sense of style for a kitchen that feels creative, contemporary and uniquely you.