The humble white metro tile has quite a reputation – it’s the “little black dress” of the tile world, according to those in the know. It’s easy to see why – metro tiles work with everything, never go out of fashion and can be as stark or sophisticated as you like. The perfect tile, in other words.
And it seems like we’re not the only ones in love with metro tiles – they’re the go-to ceramic of choice for interior designers and style mavens. Take a quick look on Pinterest or flick through a home magazine and you’ll see them dressing up everything from country kitchens to hip burger joints and trendy bars.
Really, it’s little wonder that subway tiles – the moniker used across the pond – are so ubiquitous. In addition to classic good looks they also offer great value for money. Lay the tiles brick bond, dress them with grey grout and we guarantee you’ll have a million dollar look for a good deal less!
One of the things we love about metro ties is how versatile they are – there’s plenty of other ways you can lay them for a little twist. So whether you have a project in mind or you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ll show you some of our favourite ways to lay these little rectangles.
We know, there’s nothing new about laying metro tiles in a brick bond fashion… But as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And when the end results are this good, why try to? Be sure to use a darker grout for a little extra detail – we don’t know exactly why but a contrasting colour will really make your tiles sing.
Cool and Contemporary
This is the kind of look we’d expect to see in a bar in Berlin or a hip hangout in Hackney. It’s hard to pin point why, but turning metro tiles on their side and laying with straight joints lends itself to a trendy, modern style. Complete the look with exposed lightbulbs and your room will be the next star on Instagram.
A Little Unusual
Did we say ‘brickbond’ earlier? My goodness, we should have used the correct term – running bond. Anyway, there’s plenty of options if you feel the classic claying pattern just isn’t quite right. One of our favourite is to lay the tiles on a 45 degree diagonal – it’s especially eye-catching with dark and dramatic black metro tiles.
For something a little more subtle, line the tiles in the usual horizontal fashion but stagger the joints slightly to one side, as shown in the second image. We’ll admit we had to look twice, but in a minimal setting it adds extra depth and personality.
If you fancy a timeless look but don’t want to lay your tiles in the classic fashion, then why not turn them 90 degrees and stagger the joints? You can choose to offset the tiles by row or column – either way, we think you’ll give your room a geometric vibe. Then add some hexagon tiles to the floor and you’ll have a room that’s full of mid-century character.
They say a pictures paints a thousand words, so we’ll keep this short and sweet. Let’s just say that if you take some metro tiles and throw in a herringbone pattern, you’ll end up with something incredibly sophisticated. Need we say more?
Well, just a few chosen words. Keep things plain and simple for a timeless look, but this is a pattern that can take colour so don’t be afraid to get a little creative.
Stacking subway tiles in a straight fashion might not be the first layout that springs to mind, but they’re a great option if you’d like to be different, just not that different…
The unbroken grout joints lend themselves to areas where space is tight – there’s less visual distraction and the clean lines increase the perception of space. Keep the contemporary vibe by opting for tiles in warm, lighter tones.
‘Take A Closer Look’
At first, it might look like we’ve seen both these vertical patterns before. But take a closer glance and you’ll notice the difference – both sets of metros run vertically up the wall then turn through 90 degrees. They go to show how easy it is to turn a pretty standard setting into something more fun and interesting.
Images credits: Lowes, Home Edit, French Fancy, Uda, Hanna’s Room, Oracle Fox, Dwell, Tile Junket, Paper Daisy Design.com and Remodelista