Subway tile is something that has been around for quite some time. This “trend” first made its appearance over 100 years ago when designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge placed the infamous 3 x 6 tile into a New York subway station. This simple, sleek tile quickly made its way into homes across the country and has been a staple in design ever since. Its versatility is the main reason it has remained so popular throughout the different eras. Its simplicity allows it to blend seamlessly in any design from modern to farmhouse. The most common subway tile is the standard white 3 x 6 that is laid in a brick pattern, but there are also countless ways to mix things up and be unique.
Subway tile has evolved a great deal since its first debut. There are now different styles, colors, sizes, and configurations that can be used to create a look that is perfect for every space. Instead of the basic brick pattern, tiles can now be arranged in the same pattern just vertically. They can also be arranged in a diagonal or straight herringbone patter. Those simple changes in the way a tile is laid can make a huge impact. There are many other ways to arrange tile that is different and unexpected. The options are endless. The style and size of the tile might lend itself better to a different pattern overall.
The way we install subway tile is not the only thing that has changed. The tile itself has taken on new forms. There are wider variety of sizing than there was back in the day. Subway tile can now be long and thin, it can be larger overall, or it can be the same 3 x 6 that we have come to know and love. This shift in sizing allows designers and homeowners a chance to be unique and different, while still sticking with a classic. The different textures of subway tile has also increased. There are so many more textures that make for an interesting backsplash! Hand-formed subway tile has taken over because of its authentic look and the way the light reflects off the ripples. Beveled subway tile is another popular one because of its traditional feel. There is also glass, metal, marble, and so much more! We have come a long way from the smooth, porcelain 3 x 6 tile.
Another way to dress up subway tile is the grout! Grout is so much more than a basic building material! It is an important part of the design because changing the color of the grout can have a huge impact on the space. A stark contrast between the tile and the grout is most common, but recently colored grout has taken off as a way to bring interest to the tile while still keeping it simple. The only problem with contrasting grout is that it must be done very well because any imperfections will be highly visible. This can give the space a much needed focal point or can enhance the intended style.
Subway tile has been around for over 100 years and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. This classic look has grown and evolved during that time period. There are so many options now in terms of color, sizes, material, texture, and pattern that every kitchen can be unique. Don’t be afraid to use subway for your projects because its so popular, instead make it your own!