Home Slider 2

Crazy For Subways!

  • Tuesday, June 16, 2015
  • Posted by Diana Di Lorenzo


Subway Tiles originated from New York subways from the early 1900’s, where they needed a product that looked timeless and would last a long time.

… Fast forward to the year 2015 and we still can’t get enough of these lovely little tile icons.

We often are asked how to use them, the most obvious spaces are kitchen splash backs and bathrooms walls.  They provide an old world feel but they are now available in so many textures and colours that there is a subway for even the most modern of spaces.   Many designers are still using the classic white 150x75 and adding a carbon or charcoal grout to give a vintage, ageless feel.  The added benefit of course is that this darker grout hides any grout discolouration over time. In contrast, by changing the grout to a lighter grey or silver it will give the space a more contemporary and spacious feel.


Retail designers are also experimenting with the subway by using coloured grouts, such as lime, reds and orange grouts to customise the space.

The great thing about subway tile is its size, so the traditional method of installation is of course brick bonding the tiles.  However we are now seeing them being laid vertically, herringbone, ¾ offset and combinations of the above.   All amazingly different ways to achieve timeless or contemporary look.


The traditional subway is white with a cushioned edge or bevelled edge, for more handmade styles there are an abundance of Spanish subways, which have irregular edges and crazed surfaces that make the tiles look like they were installed years ago.   There are also on offer exaggerated and elongated versions and mini sizes designed to give either the impression of space or intimacy.

The most common subway is the ceramic wall version with a glaze applied as well as natural stone versions in Calcutta and Carrara stones, however we are now also seeing manufactures playing with other materials, venturing into the market are porcelain versions (designed to walk on).  We are also seeing  beautiful metallic options in bronzes and coppers.

Subway tiles can be quite cost effective, they give a lot of bang for your buck – don’t listen to others when they say subways are just a trend.

History shows they are here to stay!


*main blog image from Pinterest