Metro tile bathroom ideas – jump in with these 10 inspirational looks

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  • Do you love the classic look that subway tiles offer? When it comes to subway tile bathroom ideas, there are many styles to choose from. While it’s easy to come up with bathroom tile ideas, from geometric shapes and tiny mosaics to large slabs and a plethora of patterns, tile trends are huge.

    Keeping an eye on interior trends is fun, but when it comes to long-lasting interior items, classic designs come first. After all, do you really want your bathroom tiles updated as fast as last year’s Tiktok craze? Choosing subway tile bathroom ideas offers an enduring style that will outlast any fad.

    Subway tile bathroom ideas

    “Metro tiles are a popular choice because they allow for a few different styles depending on where you place them,” says Richard Fox, Senior Designer, Ripples. “You can go for a traditional brick layout, interesting borders or a herringbone pattern. There are many options, so they are a versatile choice. Depending on the color or style you choose, subway tiles can be used for contemporary, traditional or more industrial interiors.”

    1. Give them a traditional spin

    Credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    These classic subway bathroom tile ideas have their influence on the first subway and subway stations in London, Paris and New York around the turn of the 20th century. For this reason, they are well suited as a background for items from the same period.

    Here they compensate for a beautiful traditional style freestanding slipper bath with period brass hardware. The Toulouse Lautrec print is a fun nod to the era, while the light wood flooring and modern furniture and accessories keep the space looking current.

    2. Choose a dark neutral color

    White bathroom, gray tiled half wall, double vanity, large wall mirror, dark hardwood floor

    Credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason

    Instead of white subway tile ideas, consider a darker neutral like gray with bright white grout. With a simple, elegant base, it’s easy to liven up your scheme with bold color accessories like this sunny yellow pouf and towel.

    “White and gray will always be popular color choices for classic subway tiles,” says Louisa Swannell, Head of Creative Design, Walls & Floors. “However, in recent years we have also seen an increase in rich Victorian greens, as well as pinks, as people bring more color into their homes.”

    3. Mix with a dark patterned floor

    Wetroom style bathroom with black and white floral patterned floor tiles, white wall tiles, shower and sink with chrome vanity.

    Credit: Future PLC/Alexander James

    When thinking about shower tile ideas, a classic, contemporary look is less likely. In a wet room, mixing subway tiles on the walls with modern Moroccan-style patterned tiles on the floor is a great way to achieve this.

    It’s a subtle way of introducing a trend, while at the same time dark colors reinforce a scheme. By mirroring the color of the floor tiles in the grout, you create a cohesive look.

    “You can use almost any grout color with white tiles, but if you’re looking for a particularly bold effect, a dark gray can really stand out,” he says Colin Lincoln-Evans, Buyer at Tile Mountain.

    4. Bring in a bold splash guard

    Bathroom with a freestanding bath and blue subway tiles on the bottom half of the wall and a white painted top.  Pink towels and accents.

    Credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    Of course, neutrals are the safer choice when choosing tiles. But if you love color, pick a favorite shade for a bold splash guard. If you’re only tiling a section and not an entire wall, you can be a little bolder when looking at how to tile a splash wall.

    If you choose natural colors like deep blue for your subway tile ideas, you will probably get less tired of them. Surrounding the tiles with white walls and floors allows them to stand out. Leave vibrant tones like fuchsia pink for painted alcoves or towels and accessories, as it’s much easier and cheaper to change them up.

    5. Unify your bath and shower space

    Roll top bath, cream white wall tiles, gray floor tiles, towel rail

    Credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter

    Pulling your tiles up to the ceiling creates a fully watertight space. This is ideal for a shower bath idea as you don’t have to worry about splashes.

    “Tile is a timeless choice for showers, and subway tiles seem to be the most popular,” says Louisa Swannell, Head of Creative Design, Walls & Floors. ‘Not only are they waterproof and easy to clean, but they can also be a real highlight of the room. That’s them versatile, they go well with pretty much anything. They are the perfect pairing for a bold patterned tile as the two balance each other out.’

    6. Frame with black border

    Photo credit: Waves

    Literally give your white subway tiles an edge with black trim or border tiles. If you have chosen to tile up to dado height, this is a stylish way to finish off the section. Especially if you repeat the graphic linear effect elsewhere, e.g. B. with a Crittal style shower screen or room divider and a geometric bathroom floor tile idea in the same shades.

    “Borders and dados can be used to break up the tiles and add a little interest, especially if they have color or contrast,” says Richard Fox, Senior Designer, Ripples.

    7. Color the walls

    Green tiled bathroom wall, large mirror, vanity unit, shelving unit, built-in sink, porcelain ornamental arm

    Credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Colorful bathrooms have experienced a great revival in recent years. After an entire generation distanced itself from the avocado suites of the seventies with crisp white schemes, a new era of color has returned to the bathroom.

    Indeed, it has not only crept in, it has boldly heralded itself in many modern maximalist schemes. If color is your thing, you can make an impact by tiling all your bathroom walls in your favorite shade. Natural materials such as wood go perfectly with delicate green and form a wonderful contrast.

    8. Go for gold accents

    White subway tiles with gold subway tile border and gold shower and faucets

    Credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter

    Faucets, shower fittings and fittings in warm metallics such as brass are a popular bathroom trend. Brassware with a polished finish can add a glamorous touch to a cool white and contrast with industrial-style subway tiles.

    To really up the glam factor, break up a expanse of white tile with a row of gold tiles and an alcove in the same shimmering accent tone as the brassware. “If you have a neutral scheme, you can continue that in the shower and maybe opt for a bolder tile to make the space stand out,” he says Louisa Swannell, director of creative design at Walls and Floors.

    9. Add interest with geometric shapes

    Photo credit: Waves

    The combination of white subway tiles with dark grout gives a distinctive linear look. A good way to create an interesting contrast to these graphic lines is to lay hexagonal tiles on the floor in the same dark tone.

    “The subway tile can look quite busy on walls at times, so a neutral or plain tile for contrast can help focus the eye,” says Dena Kirby, Senior Designer, Ripples. “However, if you want to stand out, patterned or geometric floor tiles are also a great combination.” Keeping things simple is also great for small bathroom tile ideas.

    10. Split color ranges

    Photo credit: Ca’ Pietra by Hyperion Tiles

    Crisp white subway tiles look gorgeous with dark colors like navy blue. Together as a splashback and painted wall they look elegant and stylish. So why not have some fun with an eye-catching pattern on the floor?

    These 3D effect tiles can be laid to create petal or starburst effects, so experiment with a style you like before laying them. Tiling is a job that could be done by an experienced handyman. As long as you have the right tools and know how to grout tiles, it’s possible to do it in a weekend.

    Why are subway tiles good for bathrooms?

    One of the reasons for the enduring appeal of subway tiles is their versatility. “They’re at home in any bathroom style,” says Colin Roby-Welford, Creative Director, Fired Earth. “Depending on how they’re styled, they can look modern or timeless and traditional.”

    Can I use subway tiles in a shower?

    “Metro tiles are like any other ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile and can work great in a shower,” says Richard Fox, senior designer at Ripples.

    Are subway tiles difficult to clean?

    The tiles themselves are easy to clean. They tend to be glazed, so shampoo and soap generally rinse right off. “Just look out for the grout joints that come with subway tiles,” says Richard Fox, Ripples. “Often a darker grout color helps with cleaning in a shower area.”

    Once you’ve settled on white grout, it’s easy to figure out how to clean grout in tiles to keep them looking their best.

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