The Iconic Subway Tile - Where It All Began

These days it's hard to find a bathroom, kitchen or downstairs loo that doesn't feature a subway tile. At TileStyle we see interior trends come and go but the Subway or Metro tile is timeless and a constant staple, it's one of our most popular tiles. The iconic white bevelled tile has a retro look that never dates. 

An American classic

The history of this classic tile begins in New York City in the early 20th century with the creation of the first subway station in 1904. The bright white 3"x 6" tiles were designed specifically for these new subway stations. Their rectangular shape allowing them to be easily installed around the arches of these new underground transport tunnels. The first NYC subway stations were tiled, for ease of maintenance, cleanliness and durability.

The style quickly became popular internationally and was replicated in London's Tube stations and the Metro in Paris and so also became known as the Metro tile.

Cleanliness and hygiene were of particular concern for Victorians at this time. This clean, glossy white tile with a sanitary look gained popularity, not just in subways but hospitals, butchers and eventually private homes. The design of the tile was popular with homeowners and was also hygienic and easily maintained. The Subway tile became a symbol of modernity. 

A timeless icon and design mainstay

The Subway tile has been a mainstay for architects, interior designers and homeowners for over a century! Retro, vintage and nostalgic, yet modern and contemporary is what makes the Subway tile such a design icon. This little tile packs a serious punch, has stood the test of time and yet still has huge appeal.

Flexible and adaptable

The Subway tile has so many possibilities. It's flexible and adaptable in terms of configuration. You can choose herringbone, vertical or traditional brick layouts and transform your design and overall look with coloured grouts. It's available in a wide variety of colours and can have a bevelled or flat edge with matt or gloss finish.

For more inspiration and ideas take a look at our gorgeous selection of Subway tiles here Contact a member of our sales team on 01-855 5200 or visit our showroom in Ballymount, Exit 10 off M50.


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