Subway tile has been a trend in America’s kitchens and bathrooms for over 100 years…and is showing no signs of slowing down! Classic and sophisticated, subway tile is characterized by its 3×6 rectangular glossy and glazed white tiles, typically installed in a running bond pattern with thin grout lines. As its name implies, subway tile originated in New York City subway train stations in 1904 due to its economical offset pattern and sanitary surface. For those same reasons it quickly became popular in homes across the country. It is both a classic and timeless look that will never appear dated.

While subway tile has withstood the test of time, many designers and homeowners are now looking to put new twists on this classic look. The streamlined nature of subway tile allows it to fit into any style, from farmhouse to modern….and today its available in many colors and sizes that allow for mixing and matching with grout color and width for countless new looks. Subway tile is now being arranged in alternate patterns such as chevron, weave and herringbone (as well as vertically instead of horizontally). We’re even seeing designer subway tiles with various textures and raised beveled edges run in the classic pattern.

Let’s take a look at examples of the classic subway tile re-imagined that are thoroughly modern while maintaining an historical flair.

Source: Studio McGee

Here, a beveled edge tile adds both texture and dimension to this neutral kitchen.

Source: Ryan Saghian

In this example the dark black subway tile with white grout contrast beautifully with the stainless steel cabinets and sleek gray countertops for a sexy look!

Marble tile with gray and white swirls in a subway pattern adds an elegant and sophisticated vibe to this kitchen.

Metallic subway tiles are a great alternative to the classic white look. Here, stainless subway tiles provide an industrial look to this kitchen.