Why Subway Tiles Are Forever On Trend

January 31, 2023

Year after year we watch the style horizons for the signs and portents indicating what’s in, what’s out, and what’s making a comeback. Every year, we hear one or two voices whisper that subway tiles ‘might be’ on their way out. But we’re here to say a loud ‘non-possible’! Not gonna happen. They are the tile equivalent of the little black dress. Always delicious. Always desirable.

Of all the tile types in the world, subway tiles, aka metro tiles, are “the eternal children” of the style world (as our interior design diva, CEO of Chapters Interiors Melanie Ewing says) ... forever young and fresh. They never date. They are easy to lay, they are well-priced, and they just keep on reinventing themselves, in size, in texture/finish, in colour and in installation patterns.

The original and humble 3 x 6 inch white gloss bevelled subway tile laid in a brick or staggered or offset or running bond format – all different descriptions for the same effect – represents the ultimate timeless, vintage wallscape. And if that’s the look you’re going for, you’re an unapologetic classicist. We salute you for staying true to tradition. Rock that never-outdated look with our bevelled 100 x 200 Metro Blanco Biselado Gloss Glazed Ceramic Wall Tile or our Alfaro Blanco Matt Glazed Ceramic Wall Tile 75 x 150mm in matt.


If you’re excited about turning tradition on its head and staying on trend, consider moving away from classic white and dive into colour, different sizes and fresh, exciting, eye-catching installation patterns. Every year, something different and totally divine.


Italtile offers an incredible selection of colourways, from white and black, through the pale neutrals like Aria Ice, into deliciously daring Bevelled mini subways; Cappuccino and Gun Metal Glass Subways and mediterranean brights! If you’re not risk-averse, you can even consider mixing your subway colours! So many options; try not to get giddy when you browse the ranges here.


Not only does Italtile offer the traditional 100 x 200 subway tile size; you’ll also find utterly exquizz 100 x 300 elongated supermodels as well as cute-as-a-button mini subways. Subway mosaics (in pre-staggered sheets). Literally sheets and sheets of these little beauties, including a mini subway marble! Then, not officially a subway but subway-like ... our almost edible KitKats. Skinny-malinky finger tile versions of their chunkier subway sisters. Then, for something entirely different, artisanal and textural: our Morroccotto brick ranges.

Way to Lay. Jazz up Your Installation Pattern.

Right. Once you’ve picked your colour and your texture and your shape, it’s time to consider the way to lay that suits your style, your space and your appetite for adventure.

!Trend Alert! The Stacked Subway. Our current #tilecrush of 2023. Also called grid pattern. A modern twist for subway installation. Basically, laid without an offset. One on top of the other, in a stack. Clean and sleek. Perfect for a smaller bathroom or kitchen splashback. Think about stacking your shower stall or one entire bathroom wall. FYI, it’s a look that absolutely slays on a curved wall.

Will you be drawn to a horizontal stack or a vertical stack? Horizontal stacks elongate or widen the space under tile. Vertical stacks make narrower spaces feel roomier and – if you’re looking to be right at the head of the trend – vertical stacks are killing it out there right now!

Can’t decide which way to go? Go both ways, and break a wall space with a section of horizontals next to a stack of verticals. Exciting beyond. But needs professional help.

Vertical offset. Think traditional subway brick-style installation. Only vertical!

Then with professional installation help, consider Herringbone, Diagonal Herringbone and Crosshatch. Talkability for days.

 Grout will help you out.

The ultimate differentiator in the subway game is your grout. Match your grout to your subway colour, choose a slightly different shade of your chosen colour, select a complementary colour or contrast with an opposite hue. For e.g. White with white. Black with white. White with Black. Grey with pink. Cream with khaki. Or

you could go full jazzy with glitter grout (think gold grout with a marble mini-subway)!

The wonderful world of subways is forever-changing; let us be your guides – we’re interior-design certified and love to roll our sleeves up. Bring us your mood boards and colour canvas and we’ll help you find your way through this most shape-shifting of eternal trends, without tears, frustration and expensive mistakes.

Subway your way and live beautifully, forever on trend!