Subway Tile: Creating Your World

Part of our job here at The Cabinetry is to be innovative.  That being said, I wanted to try and find some exciting new ways to use classic pieces in your home.  Subway tile has been around since the early 1900’s and has a classic timeless feel.  It is a decorative staple.

Subway tile was first used in 1904 when the New York City subways needed long lasting and durable material that was also nice to look at.  Subway tile is stain resistant (goodbye graffiti!) and its bright white color worked well in the dark underground tunnels. The tiles were 3″ x 6″ and stations often had sections that were accented in colored mosaics with station names or buildings in the area. The tiles were arranged in a brick pattern.

NYC subway tile

NYC Subway tile

White Subway Tile is a classic way to dress up a kitchen but there are so many ways to use it.  It is resistant to both heat and moisture, making it an ideal choice for both bathrooms and kitchens.

Here are some intriguing ways to dress up your tile:

subway tile

Instead of the traditional horizontal brick pattern, this designer has turned the tile on its side and added visual interest by creating an unusual pattern.  The tiles are still the classic white giving the room a bright and clean feel.

It’s not normally what you’d expect when walking into a shower but it’s effective and stunning. If you wanted to add more interest or contrast to the pattern, you can use colored grout vs. the traditional white.

subway tile

These tiles were flipped to create a pattern resembling chevron.  You could use black and white tiles, or do a contrasting color on the cabinets to really make the design pop.

subway tile

This designer also turned the tile on its side and added schluter at varying intervals to give the design a kick in the pants. Schluter are strips of metal commonly used to help form the edges on tiled walls.  They can also be used as a decorative element within a pattern.

subway tile

This designer used black tiles instead of the traditional white to create a lovely contrast. The kitchen feels sparkling and elegant.  I can picture Audrey Hepburn dining in this kitchen in her little black dress and tiara.

Traditionally the tiles were sold in white but now they can be found in most colors and sizes.

subway tile

This is by far my favorite. The designer had custom concrete subway tile made to create a rustic look in this kitchen.  They also added reclaimed wood and a farm sink to give it a country feel.

SubwayTile6

This design plays around with different color subway tiles giving the room a playful and textural appearance.  You can choose orange, red, purple, black… pretty much any color you can think of to make your space pop.

subway tile

The tile was extended past the backsplash and incorporated into a custom  hood.  It gives the room an unexpected bohemian feel and is evocative of that early 1900’s subway.

Why not have fun with your space? Why not make it sharp, innovative, intriguing…why not make it shine? It’s your expression and it’s your world. Create it and love it!

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