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How to incorporate subway tiles into your home

James Rippon James Rippon
Matt Kitchens Modern kitchen by LWK London Kitchens Modern
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Subway tiles have without a doubt become one of the hottest bathroom and kitchen trends in recent years. Although this simple but dazzling pattern has been around for some time, they have only started making their way into homes recently in comparison. As the name suggests, this style of tile originates from the gritty subways of the New York City underground of the 20th century, with the walls of many stations in the famous subway still donning this timeless tile pattern. After having featured in commercial kitchens for some time, subway tiles are now a sought after pattern for the walls and splashbacks of kitchens, and the walls and shower units of modern bathrooms. For some ideas and inspiration on how to incorporate this simple, classic arrangement into your home, check out these timeless spaces.

All white

White matt kitchen​ design Modern kitchen by LWK London Kitchens Modern
LWK London Kitchens

White matt kitchen​ design

LWK London Kitchens

This eye-catching kitchen has drawn inspiration from elegant Scandinavian design, and uses a commanding mix of bright white with elements of black to create a wow factor through the simplicity of contrasting, monochrome colours. Subway tiles dress the splashback to great effect, and add a subtle texture to an otherwise smooth and clean kitchen setting.

Industrial charm

Polar opposite to the crisp whites of the above kitchen, this open plan kitchen and dining area of an entirely unique loft in Amsterdam employs subway tiles again for the splashback, although this time to create a completely different effect. The New York Subway has a certain grittiness and attitude, which is brought to this space thanks to the tiles that line the walls. Look closely and you will notice the garage is visible from this kitchen, adding to the industrial chic of this eclectic home.

Subtle contrasts

Kitchen Upcycle Classic style kitchen by homify Classic

Kitchen Upcycle


In this kitchen dominated by white and contrasting silver, subway tiles with white grout add an affect like no other. Their simple but effective pattern has been highlighted by downlights tucked under the joinery, adding to the composition of contrasting materials and surfaces.


Addison Grove Modern bathroom by Hamilton King Modern
Hamilton King

Addison Grove

Hamilton King

Not only are subway tiles a timeless addition to kitchens, they also look great in an array of bathroom design styles, too. This bathroom from Hamilton King uses subway tiles to great effect, lining the walls and the shower of this balanced bathroom. Using the same tile pattern throughout the whole bathroom gives an impression of more space, by not segregating each functional area. With a completely transparent shower door, the bathroom appears much bigger than it actually is.

Modern colours

In this renovated apartment in Camberwell, south London, a fresh burst of colour dons the walls and  bath of the new apartment. Aqua blue subway tiles contrast to the larger grey tiles of the floor, not just in their colour differences, but their size and pattern, too.

New York State of mind

South Slope Penthouse Addition by Ben Herzog Architect
Ben Herzog Architect

South Slope Penthouse Addition

Ben Herzog Architect

This intriguing penthouse has used subway tiles for the walls of the new bathroom of the renovated apartment; a fitting addition given its location in Brooklyn, New York. The irregular colour and details add an alluring texture and charm to the industrial style home, bringing the attitude of the streets of The Big Apple inside to create a one-of-a-kind bathroom.

Los Angeles cool

Drummonds Case Study: Loz Feliz Retreat, California Minimalist bathroom by Drummonds Bathrooms Minimalist
Drummonds Bathrooms

Drummonds Case Study: Loz Feliz Retreat, California

Drummonds Bathrooms

This luxurious bathroom in the hip Los Angeles neighbourhood of Los Feliz is a showcase of Beverley Hills' definitive style. The charming black and white colour scheme pays homage to the drama of Film Noir, whilst also drawing inspiration from the  beloved Art Deco style. Textures and patterns energetically lead our eyes around the room, with tiles of the floor inspired by the Middle East, complemented by subway tiles for the walls of the space.

Not done with bathroom inspiration? Then check out these bathroom sinks to complement your subway tiles.

Which of these 7 spaces is your favourite? Let us know in the comments.
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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