Monday, October 11, 2010


Covering the walls of the New York City Subway System, rectangular, white ceramic tile was introduced to the world in 1904. Quickly gaining popularity, designers started regularly using 3” x 6” white subway tile to create timeless designs in many kitchen backsplashes, bathroom walls and even fireplace surrounds. The trend of using subway tile in many areas of the home continued for decades; evolving into much more than white 3” x 6” ceramic tile.
Image: HGTV
With a classic material and layout on the floor, the 2” x 8” natural stone subway in a herringbone pattern keeps the soft classic traditional element in the room. While, stacking a longer subway tile on the walls, the 2” x 12” glass quickly turns the bathroom into a classic modern design. (All shown in image above)
Image: Walker Zanger
Using the original 3” x 6” ceramic tile with a splash of color and a beveled edge, subway tile quickly added a subtle texture and dimension to this kitchen backsplash. Once again, giving subway tile the ‘All Around Classic’ title.
A few more quick thoughts….
· Think vertical instead of horizontal
· Stacked instead of staggered
· Herringbone (as seen in the above photo)
· 12” x 24” isn’t too big! They are great for floors and shower walls!
· Try a longer rectangle like a 2” x 12” or 3” x 8” to create that classic modern design
· Mix sizes…every other row can be 2” x 12” alternating with 4” x 8”
· While ceramic will always be the original subway tile keep in mind other materials. They might be just what you need to create the exact look you are going for! Take a look at last weeks post – TILE: IT’S NOT WHAT IT USE TO BE to give you more ideas on what materials are available
· Natural Stone – Travertine, Marble, Slate, Granite and Limestone
· Glass and Metal
ALL AROUND CLASSIC explains why subway tile has been a favorite for designers for so many decades and continues to make its presence known. While 3” x 6” ceramic subway tile is still very commonly used in many homes to create that classic design; don’t be afraid to venture out and see all the other possibilities! Please email me if you are looking for that timeless design, I would love to help!

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