Subway tiles have early beginnings in New York in the 1900s and have been an enduring and popular style for decades since. They are now available in every style, colour and finish you can imagine and are a brilliant feature tile. It’s not only their colour options that make them popular, but the variety of ways to install them. Here, we’ve broken down 6 of the most common and effective ways to install your subway tile!
1. HORIZONTAL BRICKBOND
Horizontal brickbond (which is often just called brick) is the most classic style of installation. Common in traditional homes, it can work equally well in modern farmhouse or styles with a bit of a classic twist. We love this look with a simple gloss white subway or with some of the beautiful textured and coloured glazed tiles available today!
This is often a great style for a splashback since it fits nicely between upper and lower cabinets, and the patter helps to disguise any tile cuts, like the picture below.
2. HORIZONTAL STACK
This is a more modern take on brickbond, and works particularly well on splashbacks. We love the cleaner lines of this style but just be mindful if you’re going for a handmade tile that they may be “sizey” (i.e. the tiles vary in length or width which means they won’t line up!).
3. VERTICAL STACK
Vertical stack installation for subway tile is definitely having a moment! It’s a great way to add height to your bathroom, and works beautifully in modern homes. We love introducing a vertical stack subway feature wall to add texture in a modern coastal or Mediterranean style bathroom, or even as an accent in an industrial style bathroom.
Again, check your tiles to make sure they aren’t sizey – if they are you may want a wider grout joint to accommodate the variation in sizes.
4. VERTICAL BRICKBOND
Vertical brickbond subway installation is somehow the perfect combination of traditional and modern styles. It gives you the classic influence of a brickbond install but a fresh modern take by running it vertical. It’s a great way to add interest to a standard white subway tile, or to really highlight a textured handmade look.
5. VERTICAL OFFSET
Vertical Offset is one of the less common installation methods but it works beautifully. This is an easy installation style that will give you a slightly quirkier feel and add some height to the space.
This probably isn’t the best choice for a splashback as you only see two rows of tiles in a typical laundry or kitchen splashback which means you won’t get the impact from the brickbond pattern.
Herringbone has been a big trend in the last few years, and it’s definitely striking. We find this look has been particularly popular in classic homes as well as modern coastal styles. This is a style that will definitely cost you more in installation due to the time and technique involved, so make sure you discuss this one with your builder or tiler so there isn’t any nasty price suprises!
A BONUS – CREATE YOUR OWN!
There’s no rules in design so have a play and create your own pattern. We love this style of alternating vertical and horizontal rows for something different!
As always, have fun with design and don’t be afraid to reach out if you have any questions!
Anna and the Ethos team xx