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How to Reinvent your Kitchen or Bath with Subway Tile

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The original subway tile was so called because of its white, and glossy glazed finish and very thin grout lines used as the wall surface standard in New York City, New York subway train stations in the early 20th century. Used because of their economical offset pattern and sanitary surface, early homes utilized this in their bathrooms as well. Today, utilizing subway tiles are a trend that is resurfacing in bathrooms, to kitchens backsplashes in every color possible. Here are ways to reinvent your kitchen or bath with subway tile.

  • Bring out the classics: The traditional white subway tile is nostalgic as it is gorgeous. Whether you use it in your bathroom to evoke clean and crisp interiors or it outshines your stainless steel appliances in your kitchen, subway tile can do it beautifully. While the classic style is run the tile pattern horizontally in more modern interiors, designers are running the pattern vertically to give a sense of height and a twist on tradition. Either orientation subway tile makes your home feel like it has a piece of historical flair to it.
  • Colors galore: Just like any part of design, architectural or fashion history, when the style comes back it usually reinvents itself in some way. Subway tile is no exception; it now is available in every color of the rainbow to compliment any decor. In kitchens, use colored subway tile backsplashes to coordinate or contrast your countertops, kitchen cabinetry and flooring. In bathrooms, use colored subway tile in the shower, or use a wall wainscot tile from the floor up to a desired height. Be creative with color, as subway tile has opened up a new world of options!
  • Designer subway tiles: With the more recent popularity of subway tiles, the offset pattern is also a trend that we now see in more homes. Choosing a designer tile that may have a raised section, or that has an integral pattern can reinvent the traditional subway tile and give your kitchen or bathroom a whole new look. If you are curious to see how a single tile will look set into a subway tile pattern, visit online tile showrooms or visit a showroom in your geographic area. You will be pleasingly surprised how one single tile will look in a subway pattern, repeatedly.
  • Start your own trend: The beautiful part about tradition is your ability to change out parts and make them your own. While traditional subway tile used pencil thin white grout lines that matched the tile, how about using a contrasting colored grout to make the grout become the focal point? Also try varying your size and variation of your subway tiles. While traditionally they were all uniform and precise, try using smaller sized tiles and even try using varying colors that resemble natural stone! The tile world has come a long way; discover the right new style for your home!

What a gorgeous and timely material finish subway tiles are. There is something to be said about residential architectural and interior traditional elements that have withstood the test of time, and have come back and reinvented themselves to surpass past generations in beauty and in function. If you’re trying to think of a way to transform your kitchen or bath, try subway tiles in your backsplashes or shower enclosures. The look is amazing, and you never know you may create a new twist on an historical favorite!

Freshome reader’s how do you like subway tile? Have you used it in your home, and if so, we’d love to know how.

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