Subway Tile Surfaces For A New Year: An Infographic

Subway tile is a classic surface popular for decades. Here are some ideas on how to re-think subway tile and where to use it in your home this year.


When talking about subway tile, maybe you’re more likely to think about the past, and not the coming year. It’s true that subway tile is known to be a surface attached to the early 20th century getting its name from its use on the walls of the New York subways of the first years of the 1900s.

But, enduring design – well – it endures. More precisely, it can be adapted into pretty much any tradition or style that you can think of and in whichever era, too. So, seeing as we’ve got a new year on our hands, here are some ways to do just that with subway tile, based on a piece we published a while back, now in infographic form.

Take a look.


For such a seemingly basic design, subway tile proves itself to be extremely versatile. So, what are some of the key highlights here?

The past is the present is the future

One of the great things about classic design found in subway tile is that it blurs the lines between eras. Also, should you decide to replace your modern and sleek furniture choice for a classic 1920s Art Deco style, the subway tile you’ve used in your space still works. And five years from now, or even halfway through this year, when you switch back again, or move onto Mid-Century modern styles, that subway tile you’ve chosen will still serve you.

When it comes to surfacing products like tile and flooring, this is what they call establishing a base to let other elements in your space shine all the brighter. This is the sort of thing that can unlock your imagination for your spaces this coming year.

Layouts, sizing, and colors

When many think of subway tile, they think: white and rectangular. Where the rectangular aspect tends to hold, the patterning and layout of the tiles goes beyond straight symmetry. Herringbone, brick pattern, chevron patterns, and vertical layouts are just as viable as the traditional stacked layout. This is not to mention the sizing of the tiles that lends all kinds of visual effects depending on which ones you choose.

And by now, colors and even materials for subway tile have become gloriously diverse. Glass and traditional ceramic open up the possibilities for all kinds of vibrant and muted colors, or a combination of both of those. So, you can use your subway tile for that subtle effect, or make it a texture that boldly pops. The choice is yours.

Not one thing

Use of subway tile isn’t just one thing. Sure, it’s a popular way to go for backsplashes, and for good reason. But, it can be used away from kitchens and baths, too. Think about the range of colors and the various layouts that subway tile can afford you. Where else would make sense in your space that you might not have considered?

What about a subway tile accent wall on that blank wall you don’t know what to do with? How about a skirting for that hallway that looks a little bland right now? How about subway tile as an exterior surface, as skirting, or as a mosaic to brighten up the curb appeal of your home? Thinking beyond the tradition of how subway tile has been used may be your first step to an exciting process.

Subway tile and you

What are your thoughts on subway tile? Too many straight lines? A good feature for balance in a space?

What are some of your bright ideas on where to use subway tile in an interior or exterior this year?

Let us know all about it in the comments section of this post.



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