When it comes to home renovation, many trends have a fairly short shelf life. Eventually what was once popular begins to fade and make way for the newest designs and colors. Subway tile, however, does not fall victim to that cycle. Its popularity stays constant and the tile itself remains timeless. Ubiquitous, classic and easy to work with, subway tiles provide a wealth of decorative and design options for any space residential or commercial.
The term subway tile for most people probably brings a thought of shiny white ceramic tile in a rectangular shape. But within the tile industry, the term more refers to the size and shape rather than finish and color. A subway tile can come in many different materials like marble, glass, and porcelain. It can be a solid color but it could also be a marble look or blend of colors. The typical size is a 3”x6” but 2”x4”, 3”x12” and 4”x12” are very popular variations. Here we will show you a few different styles of subway tile and explain why it continues to be a staple in the tile industry.
People have incorporated the traditional 3×6-inch rectangle pattern into their homes, kitchens, and bathrooms. It is extremely versatile, used in random or traditional patterns, and come in a wide range of colors.
Subway tiles can range from neutral grays to the deepest of cobalt blues. Selecting vibrant colors is a great way to accent your kitchen, and you can even vary the colors to create unique and beautiful patterns. Colored subway tiles are an excellent way to personalize your home.
You don’t need to place subway tile in what we refer to as a “running bond” — consider an elegant herringbone pattern. Patterns add some energy and interest to a room. Are you nervous about patterns? Consider using a pattern only in a confined area like behind the stove for a decorative flair. For a bathroom, try the running bond in a vertical pattern, or stacked.
While many subway tiles are solid color ceramic, there is a whole other world of marble, travertine, and porcelain out there. Coming in both polished and matte/honed finishes these tiles can really add depth and an earthy appeal to your home. If you are looking for a more rustic option a tumbled edge travertine can give you that old world feel. Want something sleek and modern? Try a Dolomite or Statuary polished subway tile. For a more traditional elegant look, white Carrara is a home run.
Colorful grout is a way to brighten up neutral tiles. Gray grout and gray tiles can create a contemporary look that offsets more complex designs, while a dark grey grout next to a traditional white subway tile can make it really pop. Take a blue glass tile and pair it with beige grout to create a fun contrast. We carry all 40 Laticrete grout colors in stock to create whatever look you are going for.
Subway tiles are normally a mid-sized tile, but using either much smaller or much larger tiles can dramatically change their look. You can even integrate different styles and sizes of tile into the same pattern to create something that’s entirely unique for your kitchen or bathroom. Subway tile sizes are varied enough that you can find them for virtually any application.
The subway tile pattern is not just designed for kitchens and bathrooms. Foyers, laundry rooms, and mudrooms are all excellent opportunities to take advantage of the staggered pattern. Not only is it an incredibly versatile look but the bigger 12”x24” tiles are also easy to clean and maintain. Use it for the face of a fireplace or the front of your bar. Need a new countertop but don’t want to buy a slab? Porcelain tile staggered in a subway pattern is perfect. Commercial buildings and shopping malls have taken advantage of these same qualities.
From traditional ceramic to long-lasting porcelain, there are limitless and exciting opportunities with subway tile. If you’re currently designing your bathroom, kitchen or other home space, there’s likely an area that can be elevated with these timeless tile options.
To get some more ideas and browse subway tiles, check out the products available at any of our Standard Tile showrooms!