Choosing subway tiles for your kitchen may add a time-honored feel, but their look never gets old. Their sleek, easy-to-maintain design is a popular choice for homeowners who are remodeling their kitchen or bath, and their appeal continues to grow.
History of Kitchen Subway Tiles
Today, subway tiles are a trendy choice, but they have a long history. In the early 1900s, as the subway stations in New York city were being built, designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge went looking for a surface that was easy to clean and had tight grout spaces. The ubiquitous 3 x 6-inch rectangles were a hit, and they were soon popping up in kitchens and bathrooms across the country.
Which Subway Tile is Right for Your Kitchen Remodel?
An attractive and affordable backsplash option, subway tiles are also versatile. They look equally at home in traditional or contemporary modern homes. And, depending on the color, size, texture, and grout color you choose, can be a neutral background or bold design statement.
The range of available styles means there’s bound to be a color or pattern that suits your taste. Here at J.T. McDermott Remodeling, we’ve been doing a lot of different patterns, including herringbone and bricklay (or offset), which is the most standard – and popular – choice.
Other patterns include:
- Chevron, which is a herringbone design turned 45-degrees.
- Offset 1/3, a variation of the bricklay pattern that creates a stair-step pattern. To create an illusion of height, rotate the tiles to run vertically.
- Crosshatch, featuring pairs of vertical tiles installed next to pairs of horizontal ones.
- Straight set, offering a more contemporary linear look.
Your design choices don’t end with layout pattern. Besides the option of elongated tiles that are 10 x 2-1/2 instead of the standard 3 x 6, you have a multitude of tile and grout color options.
- For a calm, neutral look, choose a tile and grout color that match. For a subtle variation, choose an accent strip that is slightly darker than the main tile.
- To add an upbeat, contemporary look, use a different color for the accent strip.
- Back painted glass tiles give the same layout, but look more modern than porcelain. They come in wide range of neutrals and brights, and people often choose 2 accent strips for a slightly different look.
- Keep the cabinets and countertops in mind when choosing your tile. Counters with a lot of pattern should be paired with a calmer backsplash. Unless you want a monotone palette, choose complementary colors, such as white tiles with grey counters, and so on.
- Crackle glass subway tiles like these from Walker Zanger are more expensive, but add a textured appearance that makes for a nice dimensional appearance.
The Difference Grout Color Can Make
Grout is grout, right? Nope! While there aren’t as many grout choices as there are for tile, there are enough variations that can completely change the look of your backsplash. For example, a white tile with white grout is a popular combo that is classic and timeless, giving the kitchen a clean updated look. It also makes the room appear larger. For a completely different design approach, a darker blue, grey, or even black grout gives a vintage industrial look. Many grouts, such as TEC Power Grout, don’t need sealing, which is an added bonus in the kitchen.
Much more than an afterthought, the right grout is an important part of your overall kitchen design. It creates different effects, or blends into the background, giving the tiled backsplash a smooth, seamless look. A colored grout, on the other hand, reveals the tile much more clearly and the grout itself forms an interesting pattern. Not for everyone, tinted grout can be a little more playful than the usual whites or greys.
Whichever grout you choose, keep in mind that it’s not easy to change. Be sure to choose one you truly love.
Subway tiles are a great way to achieve a timeless look! J.T. McDermott Remodeling has been doing kitchen remodeling in the Greater St. Louis area for over 20 years. If you’re ready to move forward with remodeling your kitchen and would like to learn more about subway tiles, or other backsplash options, speak with one of our designers today. We look forward to meeting with you!
Megan’s passion for design extends beyond her workplace. In her free time, Megan enjoys all types of crafts, including knitting, crocheting, and rehabbing/reupholstering furniture.