Mentors Ian Wrightson and Steven Stewart, Principals of Wrightson Stewart, share tips on using subway tile!
We have an addiction to Subway Tiles!
Matte white, gloss white, a combination of both, hand glazed, gloss black, alabaster – this classic 200mm x 100mm tile adds an almost industrial aesthetic to a contemporary interior.
The classic Subway Tile was introduced to the world in 1904, synonymous with the opening of the New York Subway System. Laid in a common brick pattern, the rectangular, white, ceramic tile was a durable and easy care solution for finishing the Subway walls.
Subway Tiles offer the perfect solution for all heavy duty areas, kitchen splashbacks, laundries and bathroom walls. Tiled bulkheads, stairwells and architraves provide an unexpected use of the Subway Tile, creating an architectural design detail to the space.
Where the Subway Tile comes into its’ own is by the various tile layouts that can be achieved with this simple 200mm x 100mm block.
The obvious layout choice would be Running Bond, where the units below support 1/2 the unit above.
Where it becomes fun is through Offset Running Bond patterns, which can be created by spanning 1/3 and 2/3 or 1/4 and 3/4.
Add a 200mm x 200mm square tile to the mix and the layout possibilities are exhausting!
Note: make sure you hand select your tiles as generally the various sized tiles will come from different colour batches.
A design feature to the Subway Tile layout is always in the selection of grout colour.
A darker charcoal-coloured grout with a white Subway Tile highlights the pattern layout, while white grout with white Subway Tiles provides a soft textured detail to the walls.
A gloss black Subway Tile with white grout is just stunning!
Thinking commercially, I recently came across a bathroom in a restaurant with black gloss Subway Tiles and yellow grout.
We are currently working on a commercial project where we are using turquoise grout on a gloss black tile.
Remember, you are only as good as your tradespeople and a good tile layout relies on perfect installation!
Wrightson Stewart, author of this feature, is a full service Interior Design firm in Brisbane, Australia. Ian and Steven would love to talk to you about designing a space expressly for you.
You can also find a full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.