Classic subway tile (picture 3"x6") was, in fact, designed for New York City’s first subway station in 1904. They have since made their way into kitchens, bathrooms, hair salons, coffee shops, restaurants—you name it. And while the iconic oblong staggered brick design is most common, there are innumerable creative ways to maximize your subway tile design while using classic tile shapes.
Here are 6 creative patterns to make with classic Subway Tile:
Like Roman columns, stacked oblong tile, such as 2"x6"s and 3"x8"s, can create a stately and sleek look. This tile trend is growing in popularity and shows no signs of slowing down. This contemporary style is becoming the new classic. From Bohemian backsplashes to modern floors, we love this arrangement of subway tile in any setting.
2"x6" Subway Tile - 613 Black, 958 Rainforest, 1036W Bluegrass, 1025 Heirloom Silver.
Conversely, staggered square tile also creates an alternative look while using a simplistic shape. Think pizza oven, fireplace, or shower-- this subtle design adds geometric interest by doubling the vertical grout lines. While the staggered brick design is the most commonly used amongst subway tile patterns, it can be drastically modified by using different sized tile to create an interesting appeal. Browse our Subway Tile Collection to see more size options.
3"x3" Subway Tile - 220 Sooty Grey.
3. Square Diamond
Although obvious, this underrated subway tile design trick can add a vintage vibe to any kitchen or bathroom. Create a timeless look with a neutral palette or experiment with bright colors to produce a retro and colorful space. Whether you prefer a classic or modern style, we have over 100 dynamic colors to choose from. Head over to our blog "How to Pick your Tile Color" to find your perfect palette.
Another popular style, these sloping columns create a beautiful woven pattern that adds a high volume of style to any room. 2"x6"s, 2"x4"s, 3"x6"s, or 3"x8"s- any oblong tile at least twice the length of its width can be used to achieve this look. The herringbone pattern offers a unique twist on a classic shape. Get inspired by Leslie Style's romantic Blue Opal backsplash pictured below in our blog, "Herringbone Backsplash - One Room Challenge by Leslie Style."
2"x6" Subway Tile in Herringbone Pattern - 22E Blue Opal.
The crosshatch pattern is historically one of the oldest designs. The earliest abstract drawing, dating back 73,000 years, depicts the crosshatch motif, thus making it a staple for good reason. This woven look is achieved by intersecting perpendicular lines. For such a standard shape, it yields a surprisingly bold look. From 2"x4"s to 3"x12"s let your imagination fill in the blanks.
2"x4" Subway Tile - 12W Blue Bell, 12R Blue Bell
The pinwheel design was popularized in the 1920’s and 30’s during the Art Deco movement. It's the perfect creative tile design for a bungalow style home looking to preserve its historic architecture. Here we use a high variation glaze to add texture to show off this already exciting subway tile design. Adding texture and variation to a standard shape can take the overall design to the next level. Check out our blog on variation in glaze colors, "Fall in Love with the Variation of Handmade Tile."
2"x4", 2"x2" Subway Tile - 123R Patina.
See also: Our Favorite Color Blends
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