What are subway tiles?
Subway tiles – the clue for what they are is in the name! They are literally based on the kinds of tiles found in subways across the world. But perhaps they are most famouse in the unveiling of the New York subway system in the 1900’s. Gleaming and clean, subway tile ideas emerged for home use as they provide a fantastic texture to any space, and with a bit of history and attitude to match. They’re easily intermixed with colourful mosaic-like pieces and more striking designs.
Today, subway tiles are a frequent feature in interior design as they’re hardwearing, practical and beautiful. Making themselves at home most often in kitchens and bathrooms, many types of subway tiles have been developed with unique distinctions.
There are many options, some simple and effective and others bold and quirky but no matter what subway tile ideas you take on board, you can be sure that they’ll stand the test of time with ease in both wear and style.
Established ranges of subway tile ideas:
White subway tiles are true to the 1900’s NYC originals – clean, classic and now contemporary in their style too. It’s a timelessness that tiles can provide and they’re practical too as they’re easily washed down. These are made from porcelain or ceramic and are shiney and clean.
Bevelled Subway Tile
Bevelled subway tiles are more 3D and are found in the Parisian metro. They’re a bit more stand-out, with slanted edges that give them a more dynamic shape.
Glass Subway Tile
These are luminescent and bright and come in many colours, from solid shades to gradients and textured colours. They’re often translucent and have white backs and the light plays with them gloriously.
Marble Subway Tile
Everyone loves marble! It’s an amazing material for interior design. With unique patterns, it’s hardwearing and strong. Marble subway tiles are truly elegant and suit bathrooms and kitchens equally well.
Gray Subway Tile
White isn’t always right for tiles and gray ticks boxes that white can’t – it’s slightly more modern, a more contemporary steely shade that suits chrome-fitted rooms.
Black Subway Tile
Bold and defined, black subway tiles are the ticket to coolness in your room. They’re especially contrasting with white elements and checkered designs are modern and chic to the core.
Green Subway Tile
Often overlooked, green is a lovely natural colour for a tile – think of mint, sage and other herb-like tones – they’re great in kitchens and they’re a little more unique and less common than some subway tile colours and styles.
Creative subway tiles for your kitchen
Subway tiles were initially designed to be very sophisticated and naturally clean and bright, whilst retaining an ultra-hard wearing form that is easy to clean. It’s no wonder then that they’re employed in kitchen backsplashes for these exact reasons. Kitchen backsplashes are simply the area behind sinks where water splashes back and they need to be impenetrable to moisture.
Subway tiles as a kitchen backsplash
The classic subway tile, white is timeless and classic and always succeeds in bringing an openness to a room which is clear and bright. They reflect light and display a room’s natural openness in a way which is effortlessly complementary to cabinets and appliances.
Slightly gutsier looking and modern. Gray accompanies black, white and metallic appliances really well. Cool grays are moodier than white but also have a similar cleanliness and brightness. They have a classic come futuristic look, classic in format and texture but modern in colour.
If you like colour then blue subway tiles are clean, relaxing and smooth for kitchens. They’re able to bring a pastel tone to the room which isn’t too loud.
Like blue, green is relaxing and earthy. It works well in the kitchen due to its herby colour which fits in with natural, Scandinavian style kitchens or other contemporary designs.
Darker grays really bring out metallic fittings and they’re much moodier than cooler grays, allowing your kitchen to be bold and defined.
Black is the boldest choice of all as if not carefully used, it can make a kitchen quite dark but their reflective coverings are luminous and black is an instantly modern and contemporary colour that breathes a sophistication into a kitchen which is rarely matched.
White subway tiles as kitchen backsplash
Of all the colours available to you, white is the most popular choice as it’s clean, sophisticated and timeless. White subway tiles come in many different shapes and styles and are often the most cheapest tiles available. Here are a few different ideas on how to bring the best out of your classic white subway tiles.
Dark cabinets with white backsplash
Light and dark elements in a room which are carefully balanced add a dimension which is hard to rival with other colour combos and it’s simple too. White kitchen backsplashes combine so well with dark cabinets, keeping the light reflective elements high up near windows and the bold, defined elements down low.
White subway tiles mixed with grey
Sophisticated, sleek and modern, white and gray is a surprisingly warm combination as things don’t get too bright on the eyes but instead remain just the right kind of neutral. Anthracite or slate grays have varied interactions with white, some at atmospheric and geological in form and others are more metallic and synthetic.
White mixed with wood and “metro” style Subway tiles
Wood has always been a bit of a risk in kitchens as it needs to be water hardy but recent developments have enabled wood to be treated in a way that it can withstand a lot of wear and water without negative effects. Wood and white combines to form a Scandinavian style which is really organic and natural – perfect for avid cooks who display lots of weird and wonderful ingredients throughout their kitchens.
Best kitchen subway tile ideas
White and glassy, these subway tiles are the perfect selection for maximum light reflection. They suit HDB apartments and more enclosed spaces well as they expand a room by allowing light to bounce freely off of appliances and walls.
Metallic subway tiles are a bit more unique and a more adventurous choice. They’re bold and sophisticated and very reflective. They come in many colours too, from bronze to gold, silver to grays. Between them all you can easily find something that gives your kitchen a touch of high-class luxury.
If you have big walls and a lot of space to cover then subway tiles really come into their own as you can quickly gain that tough, metropolitan look which goes incredibly well with modern black cabinets and fittings. This room is super modern and really looks like a great place to cook and eat – it’s fresh, clear, bright and looks easily cleaned.
White tiles with black grout are bold and defined. They’re the ideal hardwearing accompaniment to a kitchen backsplash. Drawing upon NYC’s classic white and black tiling, this is the timeless approach to subway tile styling. It’ll keep your kitchen in great stead for many years no matter how the design times may be a changing.