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.