Check out these two showers where it looks like a common white ceramic subway tile is used, but there's been some extra care taken with the details. A simple trim tile has been added to create a panelled look. I think it really amps up the style and provides more of a formal, traditional look. It's a small detail that has big impact. (The first shower is quite detailed, the second not so much.)
I think this is genius. A basic tile gets a high end look with some careful attention to detail. Yep. Details make the design.
It's also become popular to use a contrasting colour for the grout. For example, white subway tiles with dark grey grout. It works really well for an industrial, rustic or vintage (think 1970s) look.
And of course subway tiles come in a variety of colours, so you can shake things up a little by trying something other than white if you like.
This last green bathroom was designed by Kelly Wearstler. It's definitely a bold move (which is what she's known for). I like how she had some of the tile installed vertically and then framed with that white trim. Again, details are where it's at.
Image Sources: via pinterest (2 images); Design Sponge; via pinterest; Architectural Digest; via Decorpad; via pinterest (2 images)