Design Dilemma: Subway Tiles with a Twist
If there’s one classic element that has been back on the design scene in a big way in recent years, it has to be subway tiles. The white rectangular tiles that are standard in New York subway stations have long been a staple, as well, in American kitchens and bathrooms.
What’s made these tiles so popular? Well, they can go either modern or classic. They’re easy to clean, and easy on the eye. Because they’ve been around so long (since the early 1900s) they are never going to be deemed a fad. The fact that they’re used in subways gives them a certain hip urbanity with industrial allusions.
Still, we’re seeing so much of subway tile these days that it gets a little boring. How can you add some excitement?
Try dark grout with white tile.
In it’s most classic manifestation, subway tile generally incorporates white or at least very light grout. See below:
But if you’re looking for more drama, try black or gray grout. Instantly, you’ve got a look that is graphic and punchy. It can look modern or weathered and aged, depending on the context.
The above kitchen incorporates thick black grout. But you can also add some modernity by working with thinner dark grout that could be gray or black. Like below:
And here’s another kitchen with darker grout. A big plus — dark grout won’t show dirt and dust the way a lighter grout would.
Use colored subway tiles.
There’s no reason why you have to stick to white when it comes to subway tiles. They can look great in colors too and a little less classic.
Change the orientation.
What about subway tiles hung vertically?
It’s definitely a modern take on a classic look.
Check out metal subway tiles.
Subway tiles come in many colors and also different materials. A metal subway tile hung vertically, below, is a chic and modern rendition of a tried and true form.
So just because you see subway tile everywhere, don’t feel like you can’t play around with new colors, materials and grout. You’ll discover that a classic look can seem as young and fresh as you like!