Why Subway Tiles Are Always On Trend


Subway tiles are a timeless addition to any home. They bridge the gap between traditional and ultra-modern, landing somewhere comfortably in the middle – which suits most renovators. Although subway tiles are timeless, this doesn’t mean they’re boring. The humble subway has been reinvented many times over the years, and most subway collections offer multiple colours, size, and finish options to suit any interior style. Subways are also celebrated for the variety of tile laying patterns available. Virtually any pattern you can think of can be created with subway tiles – from brickbond to herringbone.

Want to know more about why subway tiles are so popular? Keep reading as we explore the benefits of subways.

Benefit #1 – Versatility  

The term ‘subway tile’ originated in 1904 when these tiles were literally used to clad the inside of the New York City subway system. Two architects were tasked with designing a tile specifically for the subway system that was distinctive, bright, and easy to clean. They settled on a white 7×15 cm tile that was laid in a brickbond pattern, and the ‘subway tile’ was born.

These days, subway tile is generally used to refer to any small-format, rectangular tile. Popular subway sizes include 75×300, 75×150, 65×200, 60×246, and 50x150mm.

Subway tiles are an incredibly popular choice for decorating bathrooms, kitchens, and laundries. You can find a subway tile to suit just about any interior style. For example, soft-coloured subway tiles laid in a vertical stackbond pattern, paired with brass tapware, is an easy design choice for creating a coastal style bathroom.  

On the flip side, a dark-coloured subway laid in an offset pattern is a great way to evoke a more traditional or heritage feel, like the bathroom below. Our Urban Subway collection is the perfect base for a stylish heritage bathroom:

Benefit #2 – Unlimited colour options

At Designer Tile Company, we have over 120 different subway tiles to choose from – and they’re available in just about any colour you can imagine. We’ve got subways in soft neutrals like white, cream, and beige, as well as moody tones like charcoal and black.

Light and Bright: a medley of pastel-coloured subway tiles from our La Riviera series.

Dark and moody, laid in a vertical offset pattern: Coco Black Hat Matt 50x150mm

And if you’re after something more unique and pigmented, we stock a range of colourful subway tiles in blue, green, pink, and orange, in our La Riviera and Tribeca collections.

There are also plenty of muted tones available like terracotta, sky blue, and khaki green in our Coco and Argile collections.

Mediterranean-inspired terracotta tiles in a stackbond pattern: Argile Cotto (Terracotta) Matt 60x246mm Subway Tiles

Benefit #3 – Unique laying patterns

The rectangular shape of subway tiles enables them to be laid in a huge variety of patterns. Some of our favourite laying patterns include:

  • Brickbond (the traditional subway pattern)
  • Stackbond (where tiles are stacked on top of one another)
  • Herringbone
  • Basketweave

The possibilities are almost endless. The tile laying pattern you choose can define your space, acting as a hero piece or perhaps as a complementary element to your overall design.

Create a nature-inspired look in your kitchen with sage green herringbone tiles: Tribeca Sage Green Gloss 60×246 Porcelain Subway Wall Tiles

Want to stand out? Consider a basket-weave pattern: Tribeca Oatmeal Gloss 60×246 Porcelain Subway Wall Tiles

The perfect pair: combine our Lodge White Matt tiles in 75×150 and 150×150 to create this irregular offset pattern.

Pictured: Lodge Matt White Subway Tiles in 75x150mm and 150x150mm

All-in-all, subway tiles offer versatility. The unlimited range of colour options and tile laying patterns available to subway tiles can allow for the creation of truly unique designs. It also allows subway tiles to be used in a range of interior styles, from contemporary coastal to heritage style homes.

You can browse our extensive range of Subway Tiles online or visit our showroom to see them all in person. When visiting in-store, you can discuss your requirements and design ideas with our team of tile experts. They’ll be able assist with you planning your design, as well as colour consultation, grout selection and more. The task of selecting tiles won’t feel so daunting with our team by your side – come and say hello at 1664-1666 Centre Road, Springvale.

P.S. Looking for more inspiration on how to use Subway Tiles in your home? Read more about subway tile laying pattern ideas and our favourite Australian tile trends.


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