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An ultimate guide to subway tile design ideas and tips

  • Tips & Tricks
Jul 07, 2023
Subway tiles in the kitchen backsplash - Beautiful Homes

Dive into the timeless elegance of subway tiles with our comprehensive guide! This guide is your go-to resource for achieving stunning results with subway tiles

Subway tiles design, a classic design element with roots tracing back to the iconic New York City subway system in the early 1900s, has stood the test of time and remains a popular choice for homeowners and designers alike. Their versatility, durability, and timeless appeal make them an ideal choice for various spaces and design aesthetics.


In this blog post, we delve into the rich history and diverse applications of these distinctive bathroom tiles design. We'll explore the myriad of design possibilities they present, from traditional subway tiles kitchen backsplashes to contemporary bathroom walls. Whether you're embarking on a full-scale renovation or a minor refresh, our comprehensive guide will equip you with the necessary insights and inspiration to effectively incorporate subway tiles design into your home interior design.


Let's begin this exciting design exploration!

Subway Tile and its Benefits

Subway tiles, with their clean, luminescent touch, bring brightness to any space while offering a blend of elegance and simplicity. These tiles are famed for their versatility, easy maintenance, and natural resistance to dirt, making them an ideal choice for high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Their glossy surface and smoothed edges make cleaning effortless.


Moreover, subway tiles are cost-effective and available in various proportions, providing endless opportunities for design creativity. They are also flame-resistant, making them a safe choice for fireplace surrounds. So, subway tiles kitchen makes a perfect choice for your kitchen backsplashes.


Tips to Select the Right Subway Tile

With a myriad of options available, picking the right subway tile can seem daunting. So, here are some important factors to consider for choosing the right subway tile.


•    Size

The size of your subway tile bathroom can significantly impact the overall look of your space. Traditional subway tile size is 3x6 inches, but they come in a variety of sizes for different design effects. Larger tiles can make a room appear more spacious, while smaller subway tile size add detail and texture. Consider the size of your space and the scale of other design elements when choosing your tile size.


•    Finish

Subway tiles are available in various finishes, from glossy to matte, and even textured. Glossy tiles reflect light and can brighten up a room, while matte tiles offer a softer, more contemporary look. Textured tiles can add depth and visual interest to a space. Your choice of subway tile bathroom should align with the desired mood and style of the room.


•    Shape

While the classic subway tile bathroom is rectangular, today's options include square, hexagonal, and even scalloped shapes. These variations can create unique patterns and focal points. Your choice of shape or subway tile pattern should complement the architectural style of your home and the other design elements in your space.


•    Layout

The layout of your subway tiles can dramatically change their appearance. Standard horizontal layouts provide a classic look, while vertical or herringbone patterns can create a more modern, dynamic feel. Experiment with different subway tile pattern layouts to find one that best suits your personal style and the character of your space.


Subway Tile Design Ideas

White subway tiles design creating monochrome in the modular kitchen - Beautiful Homes

1. Mix Old and New

Blend traditional elements with contemporary touches for a unique design. For instance, you can use classic white subway tiles in a modern herringbone pattern or pair vintage-style tiles with sleek, modern fixtures. This approach allows you to create a space that is both timeless and trendy.

2. Add Earthy Tones

Subway tiles in earthy tones like terracotta or beige can add warmth and a natural feel to your space. They work particularly well in kitchens or bathrooms, creating a calming, organic ambiance. These colours can also complement wood tones and other natural materials beautifully.

3. Gloss it Up

Glossy subway tiles reflect light, adding brightness and depth to a room. This is an excellent option for smaller or darker spaces that could benefit from some extra light. Plus, the glossy finish adds a touch of glamour and sophistication to the space.

White subway tiles design for kitchen backsplash - Beautiful Homes
Black subway tiles design for the accent wall of the kitchen - Beautiful Homes

4. Accent with Black

Using black subway tiles as an accent can create a striking contrast, especially against lighter hues. This bold choice can give your space a sophisticated, modern edge. It's also a perfect way to make a dramatic statement without overwhelming the space.

5. Make it Bold

Don't be afraid to go bold with your subway tile design. Bright colours, unusual shapes, or dynamic layouts can make a strong style statement and become a focal point in your room. This approach encourages creativity and personal expression in your design.

Bright orange subway tiles design for kitchen backsplash - Beautiful Homes

FAQs on Subway Tile


1. What are the best tiles for bathrooms apart from Subway?

Apart from subway tiles, there are several other options that can add a unique touch to your bathroom. Zellige tiles, with their imperfect finish and rich colours, can add an artisanal look. Variegated tiles offer a mix of colours and patterns for a dynamic visual effect. Shaped tiles like herringbone or tiny hexagonal ceramic tiles provide a modern twist on traditional tile designs. Marble tiles or stone slabs bring a luxurious, timeless appeal. Porcelain-backed marble tiles are also gaining popularity for their durability and elegance. Square tiles and glazed thin bricks offer fresh, classic alternatives.


2. Are subway tiles still trending?

Yes, subway tiles continue to be a popular choice due to their versatility and classic look. However, interior design trends are increasingly leaning towards more unique and personalized selections. This includes opting for alternative materials, finishes, and layouts to make a statement.


3. Is subway tile the cheapest?

Subway tile is often a budget-friendly option due to its widespread availability and the simplicity of its design. However, the cost can vary depending on factors like the material, size, and finish of the tiles. Other affordable alternatives include small-format tiles and certain types of ceramic tiles.

How can Beautiful Homes Help You with Subway Tiles?

Beautiful Homes can provide expert advice and inspiration for incorporating subway tiles into your home interior design. Whether you're aiming for a classic look or want to experiment with bold colours and unique layouts, our team of experienced interior designers can guide you through the process. We also offer a curated selection of high-quality subway tiles in various materials and finishes.


Visit Beautiful Homes stores across India, including major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore, to transform your home interior design with the timeless elegance and versatility of subway tiles. Explore our exclusive design guides for your home’s beautiful design.

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