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Posted on July 1, 2015 by Frank John Garcia in Tile

The History and Resurgence of Subway Tile

Subway Sink (1)

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Subway tiles were conceived in 1904 by artists George Heins and Christopher LaFarge to specifically address the New York City subways’ need for durable, yet visually appealing, wall tile. More than a century later, this iconic 3-by-6-inch subway tile captured the public’s imagination and quickly moved from the public domain into private homes as a decorative and functional design element.

The rectangular subway tiles are enjoying a well-deserved resurgence for use in bathrooms, kitchens, backsplashes, and other home design elements. These versatile tiles add texture to long walls, creating an artistic visual element without expanding the room’s color pallet. Their design is well-suited to a variety of installation patterns, which adds to the creative choices they bring to your new-build or renovation projects. For smaller spaces, a traditional tile layout is often recommended since each row of tiles is typically offset by half a tile width and results in long, horizontal lines. This pattern can make a room appear wider, which is perfect for half-baths and laundry rooms. The rectangular tiles can also be used in combination with standard square tiles for even more options and effects.

Glass Adds Character

Traditionally, these tiles are made of ceramic but they are now also available with glass as random inserts or for an entire area, which offers the classic, time-tested look of New York subway tile with a contemporary twist. Glass subway tile comes in a variety of colors which gives you exceptional decorating choices to let your personality shine through. Your color choices range from deep and striking, such as burgundy, red, dark blue and green, to subtle yet compelling, including sage, gray, and olive. Since glass is a versatile medium, your color options are nearly unlimited. Today’s subway tiles can be used for classic or modern designs, or anything in between.


Subway Tile Patterns Photoshop (1)

Various Patterns for Subway Tile

There are several additional features which allow you to further customize the look and style of your home. Accentuating trim pieces are available to give a clean finish and stylish look to your walls. Glazes can be matte or glossy, crackle or smooth to help you create the unique look and ambiance you want for your home. While these options provide wonderful choices, don’t overlook the striking appeal of the classic black and white tile scheme.

Whether glass or ceramic, subway tiles give you a multitude of design element options that can enhance the look and feel of nearly every room in your home. Beautiful and easy to care for, their use is only limited by your imagination.

Contact Gulf Tile and Cabinetry today and let’s work together to make your home beautiful one room at a time!

Subway Tile Gallery

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