How vital are Grout Colors in Subway Tiles?

Some users erroneously perceive white subway tiles to be uninteresting. But that cannot be farther from the truth because it only indicates that such people have not optimized the benefits of this color. Using a primary color of subway tile provides an ample opportunity to maximize the grout color and still create the intended design. In other words, when the subway tiles are essential, it means the designer has a wide range of color choices to optimize space.

At the same time, matching white subway tile patterns to the grout is the real deal and not necessarily the dullness of white. Therefore, if you find the right color of grout with all its admissible contrast, you could just have made a massive difference with every stroke. The target of the combination is a centerpiece of attraction for designs that can blend in around it. To help you make the right choices, this article analyses the available options to designers.

5 Steps to Selecting your Grout

Before you choose your grout, specific questions need to be answered as sincerely and quickly as possible. Below are some of the steps you need to make about tiles and the arrangement.

  1. Make a decision on the tiles

The choice of subway tiles comes before selecting grout and not the other way round. When you have chosen your tile, it becomes much easier to pick the suitable grout with it. For example, picking the right design can hardly be done without having a good feel of your paint color and other applications. 

  1. What is essential about your grout – blending in or standing out?

When you install your subway tiles with similar grout color, then what you are trying to do is blend in. This blend implies that you can create a uniform surface with the two elements on your surface. On the other hand, if you choose the contrasting path, then the grout’s color must be darker to create a contrast with the subway tiles, maybe white. As an option, you may consider a light grey or black grout on a set of white subway tiles. 

  1. How about the maintenance?

Except you are not cut in for regular maintenance of subway tiles and their grout, you also need to put the matter of upkeep at heart. For example, you can enhance the chances of selecting a darker tone with perfect contrast. This way, you can focus on cleaning one of the two elements from any spill or splash that may have stained it over the time of use. 

For the same maintenance and upkeep, you may also want to consider an upgrade of your grout to a resin-based one or a cementitious grout. These two standard types of grout have a very high level of stain resistance and a low maintenance cost. The reason is due to the upgraded technologies that they work with and their suitability with practically any grout size. 

  1. Will it be a spontaneous or traditional design?

There are two types of satisfaction that you can have when you finally look at your installed subway tiles. The first feeling is creating an intuitive design, which often accommodates the designer’s creativity and flair for art. 

On the other hand, you can see a traditional or old-fashioned look with its own particular style. So, if you like to keep the overall design timeless, then use a classic grout color for installing your subway tiles. But if you prefer it trendy, use a colorful dimension grout with its own uniqueness. 

  1. Decide on using a sanded or non-sanded grout

Apart from the grout color, you also need to decide whether you prefer a sanded grout or a non-sanded one. Knowing the most suitable one for your surface design and subway tile size is a measure of your experience. And if you find it difficult, you can consult a professional to tell you more about each type or recommend one of the two. 

Maintain a Neutral Look with White Grout Lines

One of the best parts of installing subway tiles is keeping the design as classic as possible, especially if you find a matching grout. This flexibility of the grout color is an excellent combination with the white subway tiles, with a much pretty exquisite choice in a lighter space. White grout is a great starting point, but it is not the only option that the designer has. 

Apart from the timelessness of white grout to the overall design, it also helps create a spacious look. In order words, one feels light when you use white grout to lay subway tiles. And when you don’t intend to continually make changes to a room, you can promote the furniture in the room with this combination. 

Grey and Black gives you the Right Contrast

Rather than blending the color of the grout with the color of the subway tiles, you may prefer a contrast. And the two common types of grout that can give you a remarkable difference are black and grey grout colors. Meanwhile, you can try any of the shades of these two colors; you will still get a similar result. 

Similarly, you can have a complementary contrast to the overall design, rather than a blend of uniformity of colors. Below are some classic combinations that illustrate this contrast between the grout and the white subway tiles.

Black Subway Tile Grout

The black color of grout on white subway tiles gives the most significant contrast. This way, it can outline the shapes and styles of tiles in the overall grand scheme of space. This combination also keeps away stains and splashes to realize your dream. Click here to get more about black subway tiles.

Gray or Light Gray Subway Tile Grout 

Instead of creating the highest level of contrast, you can simply make the tile pop out, howbeit in a less drastic way. You can then use a gray, medium gray grout, or a light gray grout that is punch-worthy. It also has a perfect match for stepping out your subway tile design in the overall theme. 

Dark Subway Tile Grout

Dark grout with a bold black look contrasts with the overall design. However, you can consider the other options related to it. A typical example is a brown grout that can work with the white subway tile. 

What You Probably Didn’t Know About Subway Tiles until Now

Yes, you have heard so much about subway tiles, and you wonder, what’s more, to learn? As much as you admire having subway tiles around you, the best application may not be far from the original intention when created. For instance, you may want to answer why subway tiles are so-called. Our perspective in this article will be from answering some uncommon questions under each category of unusual facts.

For example, in learning the basic information about subway tiles, we will answer how to cut, install and clean them. However, let us start from the beginning to define subway tiles.

What are Subway tiles?

Subway tiles got their name from the first place where it was first used, in the underground subway station. They often have a rectangular shape of about 3 x 6 inches laid horizontally with a 50% offset. The tiles can be made into square shapes in rare cases but retain the offset percentage to create the subway design. Subway tiles are also often made from ceramic tiles and are chosen for their timeless style and enviable durability. 

What is in the name “Subway”?

The direct answer is that these tiles were first used in the New York subway stations. The initial task given to the designers was to build a low-maintenance material that was bright for the first-ever subway station in 1904. The result is what we know as the subway tiles today. Due to the priority given to hygiene, these tiles were made stain-resistant, easy to clean, and resistant to bacteria infestation. 

It became natural that this particular kind of ceramic tiles could meet those needs. Perhaps, the reason for the typical white subway tiles is that the first set of subway tiles was made glossy and in white color. You will also expect that these surfaces reflect a great design within a sanitary surface for all passengers using the subway. 

The Subway Tiles Twists

The modern application of subway tiles challenges contemporary home interior designs‘ very essence and boundaries. So, when we tamper with the standard layout pattern, we must create new ways. Such are the following creative ways of installing subway tiles. 

Subway Tiles with One-Third Offset

Apart from the traditional offset degree of 50% that you use when laying subway tiles, we can also employ a one-third offset. This variation is a way to create a unique pattern using the subway tiles.

Subway Tiles with one-fourth offset

It is one thing to have a 50% offset or a one-third offset; another feature is the one-fourth offset of 25% staggering. Besides, it appears as if the subway tiles are climbing up and down on your wall surface. 

Subway Tiles in a vertical grid

You can turn the subway tiles also into a vertical grid when you turn each tile sideways. The vertical grid pattern becomes evident as you stack each tile atop another. In addition, the vertical subway tiles show a great way to prolong a backsplash or wall while drawing the eye in the right direction. If you like to mix things up a bit, you can use the traditional layout style and rotate it at an angle of 45 degrees. The result is a diagonal pattern that is similar to the herringbone. 

Subway Tiles in a horizontal grid

You get the horizontal grid pattern if you remove the entire offset from your subway arrangement. This classic look also presents its own chance to enjoy the utmost attraction. 

Subway Tiles in a Herringbone Pattern

The peculiarity of the herringbone pattern of laying ceramic tiles is the sense of movement it creates on the surface. It also allows diverse offset angles, but the most common is the indirect 450. This offset is indirect because the tiles are slanted against each other, starting from one end to another. And this pattern has a way of creating a unique effect that defies the typical style.

Creative Ways to Use the Subway Tiles

Perhaps you feel you have already explored some of the best tricks with the subway tiles. Here are some fantastic and creative ways to revamp your subway tiles layout to make it stand out.

  • Add a color twist

We often emphasize using the color of grouts to change our design. But these days, it is not a rule to stick to white-colored subway tiles. Who even says it only has to be white? Therefore, you can use colored tiles to create a fun-filled design and twist. Perhaps this twist is the way to recreate excitement for your kitchen, bathroom, or wherever you desire in the home. While a neutral beige subway tile has been tried exclusively for kitchen backsplash, no color is actually unusable in this wise.

  • What if you just sprinkle other colors?

It is one thing to use a set of uniform colored subway tiles; it is quite another to simply sprinkle other colors in-between your layout. This style can also rescue those who find it hard to stick to just one color throughout their design. Why not try out a colorful subway tile randomly or regularly, depending on your preference? I have tried this method, and it was both unique and inspiring in the kitchen, particular indoors. 

  • Pick one between Natural or Patterned Look

Modern designs have adopted many strange forms, considering that subway tiles do not have to follow a monochromatic pattern. But mixing things up may just produce a clumsy outlook rather than a beautifully crafted one. For example, you can choose from two options of a broad theme: the natural or the patterned look.

The natural look involves using marble, granite, wood, or other related materials. The patterned look involves floral, graphics, and art deco print designs. In other words, creating a vein pattern on a traditional subway tile may be all that is needed to twist your subway tiles arrangement. 

Conclusion – Go Small or Go Huge!

On a final note, depending on the size of the subway tiles that you choose, small or big, subway tiles are still great for use. The smaller tiles are more suitable for kitchen backsplashes, while the larger tiles are ideal for showers. The choice to go either way may also be inspired by what you consider more suitable for your space. On rare occasions, professional tile installers may find a way to combine the sizes and still make a stunning design. 

Top 10 Ways to Re-Introduce Black Subway Tiles into Your Home

Almost every stylish home shows off the traditional white subway tiles as the in-thing. But the actual interior decorations enthusiasts know where to draw the line when it comes to these choices. Moreover, the recent homeowners and home interior designers have added a bit of twist to the narrative. And the twist is the installation of subway tiles into the home and not outside as we found in underground stations.

Today, we can find subway tiles in bathrooms, kitchens, passageways, pool sides, living rooms, and other home interior places. And these happened because we now have designers who have believed nothing is impossible with subway tiles. All along, the traditional color for subway tiles is white, but will that also be challenged? Yes. Challenging this question has led to the invention of black subway tile patterns that bring an extra layer of drama to the room.

Since its first emergence in the early 20th century, subway tiles have proven to be here to stay. However, the use of the black color subway tiles is relatively new. Therefore, many contemporary users and designers have explored and diversified this new trend. Below are many ideas for using these black subway tiles as recommended by professionals.

Create a visual appeal to your shower

You can use black subway tiles to create visual interest to pull people towards your bathroom shower utilizing the wall. While a tile shower is reasonable, you can fit a shower from top to bottom using a black subway tile as the background. This arrangement can really add some level of specialty to your bathroom, especially if you get matte tiles. The black color of the subway tile becomes the centerpiece of the entire bathroom, bringing other elements together. 

Add depth to your living room

Yes, you read that right! If you conceive the idea of using subway tiles anywhere in the home, just try it. For instance, your living room which is not an exception, can also take subway tiles, especially the black colored ones. So, the days are gone when subway tiles are only restricted to the kitchen and bathrooms. Using them in specific places in your living room is also equally significant. 

Besides, this new application for the living room for black-colored tiles brings a modern touch to your design. For instance, adding a strip of black subway tile along the wood paneling of your living room can add a little more spice to its looks. Moreover, if you have other elements or materials in black color, it will synchronize well. For instance, you may have black sofa covers or throw pillows to enhance the look. 

How about a Black Backsplash?

I am sure you have heard and seen enough of backsplashes made of ceramic subway tiles in kitchens. But the one we are introducing to you now is a set of black subway tiles that can align behind your bar or study. If you think white subway tiles are cute as a backsplash, wait until you see black subway tiles for the same purpose. It creates an acutely unique sight with its reflective power from the glossy surface. 

Create a background for shelves

Shelves can be anywhere in the home, ranging from living rooms to study, kitchen, and bedroom. So, introducing the black-colored subway tiles as a backdrop to these shelves is another way to use them. Also, it includes those shelves that hold your home necessities and treasures. Kindly note that the best companion of black tiles is white-colored grout, which creates a contrast that is attractive to the eyes. Moreover, this combination can work for whatever material your shelves are made of, be it wood, cane, metal, and other materials. 

Do matte layer

The matte texture is another way to go if you desire to maximize the pleasure of black subway tiles. In other words, there is practically nothing that pins you to the standard subway sizing, smooth and sheen texture. To create a thicker and uneven surface, a matte finish may be the tweak you need. Besides, it becomes your way of actualizing minimalistic bathroom interior design. 

Pop-out your entryway

Another impressive way to rejuvenate your home is to add black subway tiles to your entryway or hallway. When customers enter your office or guests visit your house, you want them to instantly have an artistic feel. This feel may also be created by adding your favorite image while enabling a blend of vintage and contemporary styles

Show off Your Stylish Bar

The sides-bar or your kitchen may also provide you with an opportunity to showcase your creativity and flair. Instead of using conventional paint, you can add a creative visual impact beyond the effects of a coat of paint. Moreover, it can revive an otherwise rusty look when you use a set of black-colored subway tiles, which are relatively uncommon. In some classic designs, these subway tiles can also fit seamlessly into the midcentury accent of arts.

Add Black Subway Tiles to Brass Accents

For those who are looking at recreating the home interiors, they can use black subway tiles for perfect fitness. Its most decorative attribute comes with various options within various materials such as metals. But have you considered using a set of subway tiles with brass accents as some expert interior decorators? After all, it turned out to be a great deal, creating a flawless effect against each other. 

Black and White Subway Tiles 

What other color would have matched well with black subway tiles if not the contrasting white tiles? Before now, some interior homeowners who got bored of repeating white subway tiles have recreated with other colors. But now, they can create a pure contrast with the black and white subway tiles, which can combine to build a lovely pattern. This combination can work for both walls and floors of home interiors, especially bathrooms and kitchens.

Use Black subway tiles as wall cover 

Finally, the tenth idea for using black subway tiles is to cover the entire wall space. This method is a straightforward way to go big and all out on the wholesome use of the black subway tiles. Depending on the size of your wall, you can choose the smaller tile sizes or, the bigger ones. Just bear in mind that using standard sizes is more suitable for smaller spaces because it can appear more significant than it really is. 

How subway tiles transitioned from underground to urban ways

Decorative elements such as subway tiling, shiplap, and barn doors are all popular in the home renovation market. As a consequence, although the latter two are more taste-specific home decor options, the surge of interest in subway tiles has resulted in a wide range of color options as well as patterns, finishes, and sizes to fit just about anyone’s preference in home décor. You may be interested in transporting a small piece of the metro into your own house. Examine some of the fascinating facts about the tile that everyone has come to know and love…

At the time of their creation, they were intended for use in the New York City subway system.

How subway tiles transitioned from underground to urban ways

The term “subway tiles” was not chosen at random; rather, it was given considerable consideration. Realistically speaking, the New York City subway system’s initial usage of subway tiles dates back to 1904, when they were created specifically for that purpose. A 3-by-6-inch (7-by-15-centimeter) tile was chosen by architects George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge for the purpose of providing the subway a distinctive look. The tile was laid out in a brick-like pattern on the tunnel walls to achieve their objective. Also advantageous was the fact that they were easy to clean, which was particularly useful in both the filthy subway system and subsequently, the usual kitchen atmosphere. Following their debut into the New York City subway system in the 1920s, they made their way into residential design, where they have maintained a consistent degree of popularity. Visit to know more detail about subway tiles in Australia.

The restrictions imposed by dimensions are becoming less stringent.

Subway tiles have historically been distinguished by a 2:1 ratio, however, according to Fasan, the trend is shifting away from that conventional ratio. The popularity of the original format has resulted in it being extended to accommodate other sizes such as 4-by-8-inch (ten by twenty centimeter), 4-by-16-inch (ten by forty centimeter), and even smaller rectangles. “Subway tiles” has evolved to refer to any small-format rectangular tile, he continues, and today “any tiny format rectangle with a typical 1:2 or 1:4 ratio is often referred to as subway tile.” According to most people, the small size and rectangular form are the most distinctive features.”

Subway tiles is not appropriate for every kind of residence.

How subway tiles transitioned from underground to urban ways

True, anybody can install subway tiles in their kitchen or bathroom (the two most popular locations), but it’s doubtful that it would look appropriate in a rural kitchen. This is owing to the fact that it is more associated with a retro or steampunk style than with a modern one. The connotation of a space that includes subway tile lends itself to Art Nouveau and other modernist design languages, according to Fasan, and the timeless product is suitable with almost any historical style. According to the designer, if you like items like Edison lighting, SMEG appliances, and/or mid-century modern furniture, subway tile is likely to be a good fit for your interior design scheme. When you think of rocking rockers and quilts, what images come to mind for you? This isn’t the case at all.

It is best to store it in an enclosed space.

Subway tiles that are kept inside the home have a better chance of retaining its original look for a longer length of time. Due to the fact that modern subway tile, which is widely available for residential use, is not made of the same very durable materials as earlier subway tile, this is the case. Designed to withstand the high volume of traffic and changing weather/humidity conditions prevalent in the subway system, according to Fasan, the structure is made of high-density porcelain clay. “If it is made up of a ceramic wall body, its uses are restricted to interior wall locations only,” says the manufacturer.

Outdoor kitchens and living spaces are becoming more popular, which is driving an increase in the demand for outdoor-specific subway tiles. It is critical, however, to be certain that you have the proper kind of subway tiles before you begin installing it. Additionally, they should never be utilized as floor tile. It’s preferable to keep these tiles off the floors unless they have particular technical information like PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) ratings for glaze abrasion resistance and DCOF (dynamic coefficient of friction) values for slip resistance, as explained by the author. In terms of setup, it’s very easy. Usually, Click here to read about An overview guide on subway tiles

The majority of subway tiles projects are straightforward and need just a few basic supplies, such as grout, tile, adhesive, water, and a tile cutter, to be properly finished and installed. Also entirely up to the homeowner’s choice is the positioning of subway tiles on his or her interior wall (horizontally, vertically, L-shaped, etc.)

You should be careful not to take on too much before you have given the subject sufficient consideration. – When installing a complicated pattern like herringbone, one of the most frequent errors people make, according to Fasan, is failing to verify that the proportions are modular before starting the installation. Alternately, the smaller tiles should be divided into equal halves by the bigger tiles, and vice versa. A lack of uniform size among subway tiles results in “a lot of these subway tiles being non-modular, and something like a herringbone pattern, particularly when placed in 45° orientation, can become messy in a quick,” according to the designer. He also points out that the lines will begin to learn when the pattern drifts as a consequence of the uneven size, which will cause the pattern to lean.

Final thoughts

A recent trend is to make subway tiles truly “pop” by choosing a grout color that is drastically different from the tile itself. Consider the combination of white tile and black grout. Fasan recommends that individuals who choose this path test the grout on the tile first to ensure that there is no surface penetration owing to the deep colors used in the design.

So, this article has explained the transition of subway tiles to what we have it as today. In this regard, you can use subway tiles to notch up the interior of your home seamlessly. 

An overview guide on subway tiles

You’ve heard of and loved subway tiles, but do you truly understand what makes subway tile subway tile?

We’re here to assist you! We’ve included some historical context, basic features of conventional subway tile, innovative subway tiles installation patterns and modifications, and some suggestions for incorporating subway tile into your house.

Subway Tile – What Is It?

Generally, the phrase “subway tiles” refers to rectangular tiles (typically 3 by 6 inches) that are placed horizontally with a 50% offset. Subway tiles, which are made of ceramic tile, are renowned for their durability and timeless design. You can know more detail about subway tiles by visiting

Why Are These Tiles Called Subway Tiles?

You may be asking why subway tiles are referred to as subway tiles. They were first installed at New York City subway stations.

An overview guide on subway tiles

Subway tile was created in 1904 when designers were entrusted with creating a surface that was both low-maintenance and brilliant for the first subway station.

Victorians placed a premium on cleanliness, which is why easy-to-clean, stain-resistant, and bacteria-resistant ceramic tile was an obvious option. Additionally, the white and glossy style of the initial subway tiles created a highly reflecting surface that contributed to the creation of a safe, hygienic atmosphere for passengers who may have been concerned about subterranean transit.

Is Subway Tile Still in Fashion?

Subway tiling was introduced in 1904 and quickly spread to other transit centers around the globe. Due to its hygienic look and health advantages, it was quickly adopted for usage in areas where hygiene was a priority, such as kitchens and baths.

Today, subway tiles continue to gain popularity.

We are often asked whether subway tile is a trend. While the tremendous popularity of this tile pattern may lead you to believe it is a passing fad, its endurance is a strong indication that this is not the case. Over a century old, subway tile continues to be a popular choice for homeowners and business owners alike.

So, what is it about subway tile that makes it so popular?

We must attribute this to the subway tile design’s intrinsic timelessness. Subway tiles have created a look that is both dramatic and simple to produce by using basic white rectangular tiles and a simple tile arrangement.

FAQs about Subway Tiles

Let us be more precise: Some commonly asked questions regarding subway tile are included below.

What is the pattern of the subway tiles? 

Subway tiles are usually placed with a 50% offset, which means that the tile’s center coincides with the borders of the two tiles above or below it. However, contemporary versions of subway tile often deviate from or even forsake this pattern entirely. Subway tile designs with an offset of one-third and one-fourth are also available.

What is the typical size of a subway tile? 

How big is a subway tile? Subway tile is typically 3 x 6 inches in dimension, and this is the most common size. However, any rectangular tile with a dimension of one to two may be used as a subway tile, as can additional subway tile sizes such as 2 x 4, 4 x 8, or 6 x 12.

Subway tile is made of what material? 

Originally, subway tiles were made of ceramic. Today, subway tiles are available in ceramic, porcelain, and glass varieties, all of which are popular for the same reason ceramic tiles were first chosen: minimal maintenance and great design.

Are subway tiles too expensive? 

Subway tiles are very inexpensive, particularly if you go with the classic white pattern.

Installation and Maintenance of Subway Tiles

An overview guide on subway tiles

Installing subway tile: Conduct research on what goes into subway tile installation for your planned use and particular requirements, such as how to install subway tile in a shower. Consider studying specifics such as how to tile a subway tile backsplash corner or how to tile a subway tile shower niche. If you lack the required expertise or equipment, we suggest hiring a trained tile installer to guarantee a high-quality installation.

The proper method to install subway tiles is as follows: Lay tiles with a 50% offset for the classic subway tile pattern. Each tile’s center should align with the borders of the two tiles above and below it. Because subway tile usually has one to two dimensions, the short side of a tile may be used to calculate the long side’s midpoint. We recommend that you do a dry layout prior to installing your tile to identify where your cuts will be required.

The proper method to cut subway tile is as follows: You may need to trim a few subway tiles to accommodate outlets and the size of your room. Certain cuts can be performed using a snap cutter and a score and snap technique, while others may need the use of a wet saw. A wet saw may be required for certain materials, such as porcelain and glass tiles. If you lack this equipment or the necessary expertise to properly use them, we suggest contacting a trained tile installation.

How long does subway tiles installation take? Subway tile installation is dependent on the size of the application to be tiled, the layout’s intricacy, and the tile installer’s expertise. However, the majority of classic subway tile applications are very fast to install, particularly in tiny sections like backsplashes.

Can subway tile be installed over drywall? Subway tiles may be installed over drywall as long as the region is not subjected to excessive dampness. Cement board supporters enhance the long-term durability of high-moisture regions (such as shower walls).

Is it possible to paint subway tiles? Except for small-scale do-it-yourself projects, painting ceramic tiles is not advised. Painting your subway tile may reduce its resistance to stains and scratches, and the pattern may become unattractive with time. A better alternative is to choose subway tiles in the desired color or pattern.

What is the proper method to clean subway tile? Subway tile may be cleaned in the same manner as any other ceramic tile: with a damp cloth. Additionally, see our Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Ceramic Tile for extra cleaning suggestions.

Subway Tiles and Grout

Grouting subway tile: To mix and apply grout, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to choose a grout color for white subway tile: Subway tile in white is often used with white, gray, or black grout. However, white subway tile — or any subway tile color, for that matter — may be used with any color of grout. 

Consider whether you want to attract attention to the layout pattern or not when choosing grout color for subway tile. Subway tile with contrasting grout draws attention to the design, while subway tile with matching grout provides a seamless appearance. Choosing a vibrant grout color may also be a fun way to personalize your white subway tile. Pro tip: Grouts that are highly contrasted with the color of your tile may also highlight any flaws in the grout line and any difference in tile size. Click here to read more about vibrant grout color.

How wide should subway tile grout lines be? Typically, 3×6 inch subway tiles have 1/16 inch grout joints, although 1/8 inch grout joints are also frequent.