DIY Renovations

Subway Tile Wall in the Kitchen

In this post:  Our new subway tile wall in the kitchen plus some tips and tricks we learned along the way!

So we just finished tackling a project that’s been on my wish list forever…THE SUBWAY TILE WALL in the kitchen!

diy tips subway wall in kitchen

Subway Tile Wall Rustic Coffee Bar Kitchen

When we first redid the kitchen (painting the cabinets, installing the stainless steel counters, changing the backsplash in the original part of the kitchen, flooring, light fixtures, faucet, etc.), I really wanted to do a subway tile (to the ceiling) over at the coffee/breakfast bar.

Coffee bar, chandelier, white mugs, monogram, bottle drying rack

But time and funds definitely got the better of us.

And so the project got put on hold.

Rustic floating shelves subway tile wall

But it’s finally finished.

Monogram mugs, bottle drying rack, subway tile, stainless counter

Tips for Tiling A Full Wall with Subway Tile

This isn’t your typical DIY tutorial where I tell you exactly what to buy and how to replicate our project step by step. (There are lots of good ones online.)

This is just some of  things we’ve learned over the years. Sort of like “extra lessons” or tips should you want to try this at home.


Kitchen Before Subway Tiles

Coffee bar Breakfast Bar Before Subway Tile

1. Draw straight vertical lines. If you’re not tiling from wall to wall, you need these lines to guide you in installing your bull nose tile in a nice straight line. Our tiles line up with the edge of our counters on both sides.

Draw Level Vertical Line

2. Start tiling with vertical bullnose tile. This sort of creates a box (with the counter and ceiling) to tile within. The bull nose makes a nice finished edge. (Don’t mind the giant holes – they were for the shelves before.)

Start with vertical bullnose tiles

3. After you have a “box”, start tiling at the bottom with the subway tile. Make sure you used spacers between the counter top and your bottom row of tiles.

Subway Tile Backsplash Step by Step

Backsplash Edges

4. Build up in a brick pattern from the bottom.

Subway Tile Backsplash Brick Pattern

5. Leave the cutting to last. Use full tiles all the way to the ceiling, leaving room for the tiles that will need to be cut on either end. This just helps the job go faster.

Installing white subway tile kitchen

Subway Tile wall no grout

6. Invest in a diamond tipped glass and tile drill bit if you need to drill through the tile.

We were honestly a little nervous about drilling into the tile to hang the floating shelves.

But the shelves were a must!

So Dean bought and used a diamond tipped glass and tile drill bit and he said it drilled through the tile like butter.

Much to the relief of both of us.

Open Kitchen Shelves

Coffee Bar, subway tile, open shelves, white mugs

White Subway Tile Wall, Stainless Counter, Crystal Chandelier

There are just a couple more little things I want to do in the kitchen.

But I think it’s pretty right now too!

Open Shelves, mini fridge, breakfast bar, large wall clock

Subway tile, crystal chandelier, stainless counter, open shelving

And I’m thankful for a handy hubby. 🙂


This post is of course sponsored by the lovely Home Depot Canada as part of a series by the #HDBlogSquad.


You HAVE to visit the other #HDBlogSquad bloggers too!

HDBlogSquad February Projects

Jennifer  – Rambling Renovators

Brittany – My Daily Randomness

Tim – Design Maze

Shannon & Dean – Home Made Lovely (that would be us!)

Lena – Listen to Lena (not pictured)


shannon sign off

home made lovely book on table with get it now text button

I'd love to chat with you in the comments!


  1. For the floating shelves on the white subway tile kitchen … where did you get the brackets for the floating shelf?

  2. Hi Shannon! Beautiful job! ? Curious where you found those end cap/shelf supports? I love that look but have never seen anything like that around!

    Thank you! ?

    1. Hi Grace. Dean actually made them. We are working on producing them to make them available for sale to our readers!

  3. I LOVE the open shelves and have wanted something very different…and bingo! This hardware us it! What is it and where can I find it? What about weight… like do you have to use shorter boards to compensate? Btw…this my first time to find your blog, and it really resonates with what I am discovering I like as my style (after 45 years of being married and having no style) I have one other question, did you make your own wood crates? I want to make some so much…but have to find a place to do it as I live in a mobile home and have no work space : ) Thanks for any input!

    1. Hello Shellie. That hardware is hardware we designed and made. Dean works in a sheet metal shop, so he’s worked with metal for YEARS. *Hopefully* we’ll have them available for sale soon. And yes, you do have to be careful of the weight – our brackets were screwed into studs. I’m so glad you’ve begun to find your style!!!

    1. We made them. Actually Dean made them at his work. But Ikea sells similar brackets, the difference being the shelves would need to be made from thinner wood.