Sometimes called ‘Subway’ or ‘Brick’ tiles, Metro tiles have been gracing the underground stations of the world for more than 100 years. When the architects of the New York underground decided to install white glossy easy-to-maintain ceramic tiles into their stations, brighting up the subterranean atmosphere, the rest of the world took note and now ceramic brick-style tiles are the mainstay of most underground stations around the world. So how did they end up in our kitchens and bathrooms in such proliferation?
Well, there’s no doubt that the clean lines, ease of installation and hard-wearing qualities of these tiles is part of the reason. They are also wonderfully versatile. The previous go-to ceramic tile was normally square but a rectangular tile gave it a bit of interest and style. And so over the last 10 years, these tiles have surged in popularity and there’s little wonder why.
Working equally well in a more traditional home as in a contemporary flat, there’s a metro tile for everyone. Consider ones which are flat for a more modern look or a bevelled edge to hark back to yesteryear. They can be used for splashbacks to add a bit of interest, for fireplace surrounds, in bathrooms or on walls. It’s simple, uniform pattern means they are easy to install, making them the perfect choice for the beginning DIYer. And they are inexpensive as well. There’s little wonder now why they are so popular.
You are certainly not limited to white, either. Today’s metro tiles come in a myriad of colours and finishes – from glossy black to rustic stone finishes to glamorous marble to glass and every colour of the rainbow.
While white grout with white tiles will look classically elegant, consider the use of dark grey or black grout for a totally different look – or coloured grout to really make a statement.
And there’s other ways to install them rather than just the normal brick layout – consider creating herringbone patterns for a twist on tradition or run them vertically to add height to a smaller room.
So while metro tiles are often considered a modern day classic, there are so many options available to creating something truly unique, fresh and different.
And that’s the beauty of what might be considered a ‘new classic’ – it’s tradition reinvented for a completely new era.
How will you be using metro tiles in your home? Have a look at our huge selection of metro tiles here.
Image sources: Brittany Makes / Casework / Catherine Kwong Design via Desire to Inspire / Christine Sheldon Design via House of Turquoise / HomeDepot / Jenny Wolf Interiors / Simon Devitt for Architecture Now