Hot Trend: Subway Tiles

As you are probably aware, subway tiles get their name from the tiles that were found on New York City subway stations in the eighties. These rectangular tiles can be arranged in a variety of creative patterns on walls. Once installed, they are super easy to keep clean with the grout firmly in place. Although they have been around for quite some time, they still are popular as wall tile and they come in so many different kinds of materials including marble and travertine. And don’t forget glass – for a sleek, modern look.

Subway tiles are quite affordable and go with many decor styles. They can be made to look fancy or less bold (read on for further designs). Make them a focal point or use them to tone down a busy looking kitchen. A popular look is the classic white on white (white tile on white grout) or choose a bright color for a more dramatic look. Pair them with traditional or modern pieces. Whatever style you’re thinking for your kitchen or bath, subway tile works.

It’s worth saying again, that subway tiles are incredibly affordable. That, combined with the fact that the tiles are available in a wide variety of materials and even different sizes make them and ideal choice.

  1. In a kitchen, use it as a backsplash or as a statement piece (backsplash for under the hood vent). If your kitchen has white cabinets a dark colored tile with white grout is a gorgeous way to make a statement.
  2. Use it in a bathroom halfway up the wall. A beautiful shiny white or marble veined would look incredible here. Or use it for the entire shower area in a dark color for a clean, modern look.
  3. In a bathroom, tie in the backsplash color to the tub surround. A travertine would work well here.
Image Source: Indulgy.com

Image Source: Indulgy.com

But before you dismiss this as a collection of basic subway tile ideas, check out our “off the wall” ideas with subway tile. While the classic style of subway tile is placed horizontally provides a modern and classic look both at the same time, there are other ways you can change up the style as well.  Check out Apartment Therapy for some interesting images of subway tile uses.

– Try a herringbone design. Note that this does require some advanced knowledge of tile layout.

– Angle the tiles at 45 degrees for a chic backsplash design.

– Instead of the classic brick layout, do the exact opposite. Lay the tiles vertically instead.

Tip: when choosing grout to go with white tile, avoid using beiges and browns as it makes the tile look dirty.