Subway tiles are probably some of the oldest style of tiles available since their use in subway systems. But they are very contemporary now and also work where you want your kitchen or bathroom to have a semi or fully traditional look. It is unusual to have a tile that can bridge both styles quite readily and not look out of place in either.
Subway tiles seem as if they were made for the kitchen as a backsplash because they just look so good in that role. We tend to think of subway tiles in white or cream colors but there are a dazzling array of colors available that will suit almost any color scheme in the kitchen. But my personal favorite will always be the white subway tile with the white or black or grey grout.
Something about the elongated rectangle just make its work in the kitchen decor. There is a vibrancy about subway tiles that is hard to match. The sleek looks and yet elegant simplicity of these tiles brings a feeling of class to almost any kitchen.
The interesting thing about subway tiles is that they are not very expensive at all and are on par with other ceramic tiles, so you really dont pay more from the extra touches of class, which looks modern, classic and clean all at the same time. They always seem to hark back to the pre war era in a traditional setting, and yet give a contemporary feel in a modern setting.
So use your subway tiles to create a relatively simple backsplash that also has a light and spacious feel in your kitchen. That comes from the subway tiles making your kitchen seem somehow wider when laid horizontally.
If you want to ramp up the luxury on your subway tiles to a whole new level consider glass subway tiles. They can be even more interesting than ceramic, although probably work better in a more minimalist or very contemporary kitchen rather than something traditional.