These are not your grandmother’s subway tiles

When you hear the phrase “subway tile” what comes to mind?  Dirty subways, old-fashioned tile, time to renovate?  If any of these words define subway tile for you then you, my friend, are in for a big surprise.

For those of you who’s first thought was dirty subways, you are partially correct.  The tiles were named after the white wall tiles found in underground train stations (subways) in the early twentieth century.  At the time they were white in color, made of ceramic and rectangular in shape, 3″x6″ to be exact.  And oh so practical–easy to clean, heat resistant and light reflecting–they soon became the go-to surface for use in kitchen and bathrooms.  So, based on this information I guess those who felt the proper word is old-fashioned would also be partially correct.  But for those who think subway tiles means it is time to renovate–you might want to think again.

Today’s version of subway tiles are available in any color imaginable and crafted in ceramic, glass and even metal.  Edges can be beveled and various sizes make them so versatile.  These tiles are being installed in kitchens and baths as well as mudrooms, laundry spaces and fireplace surrounds.  And they are equally at home in a contemporary high-rise as they are in a traditional bungalow, in a beach cottage or a rustic slopeside retreat.  Feast your eyes on these beautiful subway tiles and then let me know if your definition has changed:

Clean and reflective, white subway tiles and white grout are the perfect choice for this traditional bathroom.  Nothing old-fashioned about this room!

Shelter Island Beach House


Metal subway tile backsplash turns what would be an OK kitchen into a real show-stopper
div>Chicago Net Positive Luxury Home

Turquoise glass subway tiles add a jaw dropping pop of color to this white kitchen
Cabinets, Kitchens and Bathrooms

I did say subway tiles are finding their way into other rooms in the home and this laundry/craft room is a shining example of this.  The use of white subway tile throughout is a wise choice since they will resist moisture and are heat and stain resistant. I wouldn’t mind spending all day in this space.

Lido Isle Home


My own contemporary kitchen with white subway tile and white grout.  The perfect complement to glossy white cabinetry and stainless hardware.

Do any of these gorgeous spaces alter your opinion of subway tiles?  Would love to see how you have used subway tile in your own home or design projects.

About hayniedi

What about me? In a nutshell I am a middle-aged interior designer and freelance writer, mother of an amazing 27 year old daughter, wife to my semi-retired lawyer husband and step-grandma to two delicious babies. From my earliest memories I have been fascinated with interior decorating and love to share my passion for beautiful rooms with anyone who will listen. Join me on this blog as my husband and I enter our empty nest years and move back into the first home we bought when we were first married that has been a rental for the past 15 years. I will share our experience with remodeling as well as other ideas and thoughts that I hope will inspire you.
This entry was posted in Decorating and remodeling tips and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Would love to hear your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s