How many ways can you lay subways?

“We like all kinds of subway tiles, we would lay them for miles and miles. And we will lay them herringbone, and we will lay them on their own. We will lay them with other styles, we just can’t get enough of these tiles. We will use them here and there. Heck! we will use them anywhere!”*

Hey guys! Subway tiles really are that versatile! They got their name from the iconic ceramic wall tiles used in New York Subway Stations in the 1920s, then made their way into residential homes and continue to be a popular choice today. There have been whispers in the design world over the past few years about subway tiles going out of style, but we think they’re a classic and are here to stay. There are good reasons why subways have transcended the decades – they’re well-priced, easy to lay in so many different ways and they keep reinventing themselves with different colours and finishes.

Subway (S)tile Guide

Speaking of colours and finishes, we’ve been lusting over Tile Cloud’s extensive range of subway tiles. They’ve got everything from traditional white gloss, to matt finishes, gorgeous textures, pastel hues and bold blues. 

When shopping for Tile Cloud subways for your project, my best tip is to keep your vision board close by! It’s easy to stray from the vision you’re creating when you’ve got so many beautiful tiles to pick from. #tilecrush #keepyoureyesontheprize


Have you picked your favourite subways? Just when you thought you’d made enough decisions, next you’ll need to decide how to lay them.

10 ways to lay!

subway tile patterns

Getting to grips with grout

Once you’ve nailed your colour combo and pattern, you’ll need to choose your grout. No pressure, but this can make or break the look of your tiles. It really does change the end result. The three Cs (together with your vision board!) should help you decide which colour to pick: 

1. Contrast: If you want to make a statement, use contrasting grout to make your tiles POP. We’re talking black grout on white subway tiles, in your face, no hiding from anyone.

2. Complement: Perhaps you’re using a gorgeous multi-coloured patterned tile? Then you’re going to need to choose a grout colour that complements the palette. You can’t match them all, so which will colour will you choose to pull out? 

3. Camouflage: If you’re not so brave, or want your tiles to blend seamlessly to look like one big piece, you can camouflage your grout, so you’ll hardly know it’s there at all. 

Still can’t decide? We always set up a few tiles on the ground and rub dry grout powder into the cracks to see what the end result will look like. 

To learn more about the nitty gritty details of grouting… read this!


“Hey guys… guess what? Wait, there’s more… you can also use subway tiles outdoor!
You can lay them on a gate, you can lay them angled or straight,
You can use them here or there, you really can use subways EVERYWHERE!”*

White subway tiles are a great go-to when you’re on a tight budget. You can save even more cash in materials and labour if you tile just 1200mm up the wall (except in the shower cubicle of course). Once the wall above the tile is painted, the finished result will still deliver amazing results.

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Article re-blogged, original on ThreeBirdsRenovations

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