Subway tiling - the perfect choice for bathrooms and kitchens

Subway tiling - the perfect choice for bathrooms and kitchens

Subway tiling is timeless and adaptable, and a great design for any style bathroom and kitchen.

Subway tiles offer versatility. They can soften a contemporary look, or add an interesting feature to the more traditional bathrooms and kitchens. It’s no surprise that Subway tiles are still one of the most popular styles of wall tiles due to their adaptability.

Subway tiles get their name from the ceramic tiles used in London and New York City subway and tube stations, of the early Twentieth Century. Despite their historic origins, the subway tile is far from outdated.

We’ve composed the ultimate Subway tile style guide, to help bring a bit of city chic into your home.

Subway Tile Style Guide

Classic Subway

A splash back of glossy white tiles, such as our Manhattan tiles, look very much at home in any kitchen or bathroom. The clean lines provide simplicity which enables light to gently bounce around the room, contributing to an open feel space. A great design idea for smaller bathrooms and kitchens. Our Ravello tiles are a little more rustic with their uneven surface, ensuring the room doesn’t look too prim and proper, but still available in high gloss white.

Different Subway

Traditional Subway tiles offer plenty of character, but if you want to bring out your creative side, then consider some alternative options. Our Crackle range of tiles feature deep glazed cracks, to add an interesting visual element. Again these add to the rustic effect and would work well with wooden countertops and other natural elements.

Flexible Subway

Subway tiles not only offer versatility in colour, but versatility in the way that they can be laid. Rather than the standard horizontal brick formation, they can look really interesting when placed in a multitude of different configurations.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns. Positioning them in a herringbone pattern gives them a modern edge that is visually stimulating, but not enough to overwhelm the space. You can find more on herringbone tiling here.

Another great design formation is to place the tiles vertically. This will elongate the space, perfect for kitchen and bathroom backsplashes, where space is limited between the work surface and above cabinets or mirrors. Whichever way you lay them, they will still preserve their understated but stylish appearance.


(tiles supplied by Pentagon Tiles for The Office Group at Lyric Square)

Bold Subway

Be bold an opt for colours like orange, green, purple or even black subway tiles, from either our Crackle or Manhattan ranges. Below, you can see how this deep denim blue makes a statement in this contemporary bathroom, but the colour doesn’t look too overpowering with the help of the white border.

If you’re looking for a truly custom look, then get creative and choose a few different colours of the same style tiles and alternate them, shown below by our Glaze Brick tiles. This can really add to the luxury hotel bathroom feel.


Experiment with grout

More commonly, people opt for white grout for their Subway tiles, but at Pentagon Tiles we are proud to offer ARDEX-FLEX, a flexible wall and floor tile grout that’s available in 35 different colours.

When white tiles are paired with white grout in all white kitchen or bathroom, there’s too much white and nothing stands out. In this case, darker grouts such as grey and even black, are great ways to add a contrast in such a bright space.


With Subway tiles you’ll never over do it. The neatness and consistency of these tiles allows you to use them throughout the entirety of the space without looking overbearing. With this being said, small doses of this tile can look extremely elegant as a simple backsplash in the kitchen, creating a homely feel while maintaining style.