Spicing Up Subway Tile
December 12, 2012
Mid week greetings friends! Today I bring you a topic we all love to chat about, home improvement that beautifies spaces! I’ve invited contributing writer Liz from It’s Great to Be Home back to share her insight on spicing up a design classic: subway tile. You all know Liz as a talented home remodeler, and she’s a wealth of information on everything from structural changes to cosmetic upgrades. Please welcome back Liz!
“Hey there, peeps. Let’s talk tile today! It seems that you can hardly look at a kitchen or bathroom in a design magazine or on without seeing subway tile. That little 3 x 6 inch white tile has a well-earned reputation for being the “little black dress” of tile – it goes with everything, never goes out of style, and can be dressed up or down. Sounds pretty great to me!
Traditionally, subway tile is installed in an offset brick pattern, end on end in staggered rows.
While this is a timeless look, what do you do if you want to spice up your space with a fresh twist? Here are six options!
1. Changing the color of the grout that surrounds your subway tile is one option which makes a graphic statement.
Tip: Use a shade of gray for the grout – darker gray will have a more dramatic impact but will also highlight any imperfections in your tile job. Avoid grout in shades of tan when working with subway tile – it will just look dirty. (I may have learned this one the hard way!)
2. Even though a brick pattern is the traditional way to install subway tile, who says you have to stick with tradition? If you go bold with pattern I can guarantee your backsplash will look much cooler than your neighbor’s. Stack the tiles for a linear, modern look or try a beautiful herringbone sign.
3. Traditionally, subway tile is crisp white in color, but if you’re craving something dramatic and different, subway tile comes in an endless variety of colorways. A soft gray or taupe would be gorgeous with white cabinets paired with white grout, or you could go bolder with any color of the rainbow that appeals to you.
4. One size doesn’t fit all – so go ahead and switch up the size of your subway tile my making them mini! Petite 1 x 2 inch subway tiles on a mesh backing are a great way to embrace the mosaic tile trend while still maintaining an understated look.
5. If tiny tiles aren’t your thing, long and linear subway tiles lend an interesting twist to any design, or even oversized subway tile. And remember, the larger the tile, the less grout you have to clean in the shower.
6. Part of subway tile’s allure is the fact that it is incredibly affordable, although some varieties skyrocket in price. If you love the 3 x 6 inch profile of subway tile but want to upgrade from the typical ceramic variety, natural stone (such as carrera marble) is an absolutely beautiful choice. And don’t forget glass – sleek glass subway tile works seamlessly with pretty much any design style.
And have you seen beveled subway tile? It’s a subtle detail that looks equally awesome in both modern and vintage designs. Consider mixing it up by installing it both horizontally and vertically as a backsplash for a traditional touch with modern appeal!
What’s your preference with subway tile? Do you like it in traditional white or prefer it spiced up in one of the ways mentioned?
*Catch up with Liz and her adventures in home remodeling and flipping houses over at her blog It’s Great to Be Home.