Subway tiles have become increasingly popular over the years, with these now being a top interior trend in 2022. Let’s take an in-depth look at what makes a subway tile a subway tile, and look at some creative ways these can be installed. We will also establish where these tiles are most commonly used.
First, we need to understand what exactly a subway tile is. The term “subway tile” typically refers to rectangular tiles (usually 3 x 6 inches). Made of ceramic, subway tiles are known for both their durability and their timeless style.
You might be wondering, why are subway tiles called subway tiles?
They were first used in New York subway stations in 1904, where designers were tasked with designing a surface that was low maintenance, bright, easy to clean, stain resistant and bacteria resistant. Additionally, the white and glossy design of the first subway tiles formed a highly reflective surface that helped create a safe, sanitary feeling for passengers.
Now that we have established some general characteristics of subway tiles, let’s move on to the more exciting stuff! A key feature of modern subway tiles are the pushing of boundaries to find unique new ways to showcase their design. Often, this means altering the layout pattern.
Here are some creative ways to install subway tiles:
Vertically Offset Subway Tiles
By turning your subway tile on its side to create a vertically offset or stacked pattern, elongates a backsplash or wall and draws the eye upward.
Subway Tile in a Herringbone Pattern
Above: Lacche Curcuma Ceramic
Herringbone subway tile adds a sense of movement and can be laid at different angles to different effects. Laying herringbone tile may be slightly more complicated than laying a traditional offset pattern, however the results are worth the effort.
Subway Tile in a Diagonal Basket Herringbone Pattern
Above: Lacche Bruno Ceramic
You can also lay your subway tiles in a diagonal basket herringbone pattern, to create an interesting and stylish appearance. This is great for a feature wall or to create a trendy backdrop.
Change The Colour!
Above: Drop Pink Ceramic White Tile
Using colorful subway tiles can give your design a fun and modern twist. No colour is off the table!
If you can’t choose just one color for your subway tile, multi-colour subway tiles are for you! One trend is to sprinkle tiles of a different colour into your subway tile design in a random fashion, giving you a unique look, like the one pictured above.
Change The Dimensions
Subway tile is typically 3 x 6 inches, but this backsplash proves that’s not a hard and fast rule. In a thinner and elongated size, we like to call these kit kat tiles.
Colour The Lines
We commonly see subway tile with white, gray, or black grout, but choosing colorful grout is a great way to make your subway tiles stand out. Subway tiles with coloured grout draws attention to the tile layout pattern, whereas subway tile with matching grout creates a more seamless design.
Where subway tiles are most commonly used:
Subway Tile Backsplashes
Above: Lacche Ghiaccio Ceramic
Subway Tile Feature Walls
Feature walls can show off your subway tiles. This living space opts for a bright design, with our lacche salvia ceramic tiles, matched perfectly with an emerald pallet.
Above: Lacche Salvia Ceramic
Subway Tile Fireplace Surrounds
Fireplace surrounds can benefit from subway tiles as well. Ceramic tiles are flame-resistant, so you needn’t worry about heat harming your tiles.
Subway Tile Showers
Above: Client bathroom using our essence white gloss ceramic wall tile
Subway tiles are a popular choice for showers. As mentioned above, these are water and stain resistant, easy to clean and durable.
Now it is easy to see why subway tiles are such a popular choice for interiors today, how they have endured over the years, and why they’re still used today.
Visit one of our showrooms for expert advise on subway tiles and follow us on our socials for even more creative subway tile designs to admire.