Trend Watch: Subway Tile Alternatives

We all know the subway tile trend has been a long and popular one for years now. The classic style started off in the underground and their easy good looks combined with low-cost means that it’s a tile we see nearly everywhere these days – from your corner coffee shop to your mother’s kitchen to your favourite restaurant’s bathrooms, as well as all the #inspo we see across Instagram and Pinterest.

While it may at times seem like it’s the default option for any tiling project, there are plenty of other tile designs that are certainly worth considering and ones we feel have staying power and won’t go out of fashion any time soon. Here are our picks of tiles trends you might want to consider after subway tiles.

Change Up the Layout

Sarah Akwisombe Bathroom Mixed Metro Tiles

Design: Sarah Akwisombe / Photo: Meg Taylor

Starting with just a slight variation when your heart is set on using subway tiles, then consider laying your tiles in a different way to the normal brick layout. Laying flat rectangular tiles in a vertically stacked layout is a big trend right now and feels fresh and current and doesn’t break the bank.

Want to get more creative? Consider other layouts that make the best use of the graphic effect your grout will make when laying tiles in different ways as in our example above.

We shared a number of different ways to change up the layout of the classic subway tile in this post for even more ideas.

Add Some Texture

Moving away from the standard gloss of the subway tile, bringing in textural elements into your home is another big trend right now. We particularly love the look of a brick-effect tile for a touch of industrial flair and these white brick tiles are the perfect compromise between the simplicity of subway style but with a warm rustic twist.

Loving this industrial vibe? Check out our post on brick-effect tiles.

We’re also seeing a move towards walls with an embossed or raised look, so if you’re looking for that clean and simple aesthetic but with a bit of added ‘oomph’, then a raised element will add something different without compromising on the clean look that subway tiles provide.

If you’d like some inspiration using textured and embossed tiles, check out this post .

Embrace Glossy Imperfection

Another big trend this year has been Moroccan-style tiles but not the pattern ones you may be familiar with. Zellige tiles have been making waves for their stunning, perfectly-imperfect features and high-gloss finish. With slightly irregular edges and a bumpy or crackled effect on the surface, light bounces off these beautifully , creating a dazzling effect without overpowering the senses.

Our Craquel wall tile range mimics the look of Zellige tiles but dispenses with the high price. They can be easily mixed or matched and have an old-world feel which means this style won’t quickly date. Like the classic subway tile, this antiquated look is back and better than ever and can be used across any number of styles – from period properties and cottages to the latest contemporary homes.

Create a Luxe Look

If you’re after the stunning classic look of the subway but want to add a dash of luxe to your space, then look no further than marble-effect tiles. Using marble in design dates back to Roman times and while real marble carries a high price as well as high levels of maintenance, the porcelain look-a-likes go a step further with a non-porous surface that simply wipes clean.

I used the Paros tiles in my own kitchen seen above which provides the classic simplicity of the common subway tile but with the soft veined patterns of marble to raise it to a luxury level.

Loving this look? Check out our post on the marble trend.

Urban Oasis

And finally, if you love the industrial vibe so often used alongside classic subway tiles, you’ll get on well with concrete-effect tiles which give you that ‘New York Loft’ look so many are enamoured with right now. The shape of our Hudson Black wall tiles is one we see often in classic subway-tiled spaces but it raises the style stakes with the natural beauty of concrete, mimicking the easy urban vibes of a cityscape.

The deeper hue of these tiles also creates more drama in your home, providing an unusual backdrop for whatever you choose to place in front of it. We love it with crisp chrome finishes but you can warm it up with a touch of brass or copper for a more traditional feel that works perfectly in the 21st century.

Remember to check out our full range of tiles at Tile Mountain and be sure to take advantage of our free cut sample service to find the perfect tile for your next project.

You might also like these posts on the Tile Mountain blog…

How I Got the Carrara Marble Look Without The Pricetag

2018 Tile Trends: The Experts Predict What’s Next!

Trend Watch: Bohemian Style Bathrooms

As a multi-award winning interior design content creator, Kimberly Duran is an Interior Design-obsessed American ex-pat, who chronicles her decorating journey and dispenses interior design advice in her personal blog, Swoon Worthy. When she’s not helplessly drooling over all the latest trends in design, she’s adding things to the imaginary ‘shopping basket’ in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects with her partner in crime, Wayne, stalking eBay for vintage bargains and filling her home with her favourite neutral – gold.