Although the classic New York City subway tile was first designed in 1904 for the city’s fledgling train system, it has been enjoying a recent surge in interior design popularity. Homeowners are naturally drawn to the unfussy clean look, and we’re starting to see creative folks make some interesting choices to set their spaces apart.

SEE IT FROM ANOTHER ANGLE

Simple and beautiful, the classic white 3 x 6 inch standard white subway tile holds many possible configurations to explore with your contractor. Playing with 90 degree turns between tiles, or even going with a diagonal alignment can bring interest and life to a bathroom or backsplash. These simple shapes offer a number of unique pattern opportunities for any homeowner to explore.

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FRESH COLORS

The options are truly endless when you factor in a world of color to choose from with your tile. — And even then, a custom grout color or alternating colors between tiles opens things up even more. For the daring and bold among us, deliberate color clashes are another option to explore for turning tile into the central design feature of a room.

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ALL TILES GREAT AND SMALL

Another important area we like to consider; subways tile now comes in a variety of sizes these days. An oversized tile can give a room a little more breath, and an open, cleaner feel. Small tiles can be good in measured doses to create intricate backsplashes or wash areas. The adventurous will want to combine the two for a unique harmony in contrast.

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GO REFLECTIVE

We’re also starting to see the material of subway tile evolve. Two contemporary variants that can give a tiled space a good dose of “wow” are aluminum and stainless steel. The reflective surface is super sleek, and could even be considered in tandem with lighting that may play off of the tiles.

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THE NEXT BEVEL

You’ve picked your colors, your configuration and your material, now it’s time to “bevel up”. Okay, we admit the pun is terrible, but tile beveling adds a whole new dynamic that can give even the most mundane subway tile a fresh look. Give a wall or backsplash a sense of tangible depth as it plays with the room’s lighting and draws the eye to these more “sculpturized” pieces. If beveling is too extreme, you can play with these new “eased edges”, which splits the difference between flat tile and beveled.

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