Homes & Design Photo Credit: Western Living

7 Sleek Ways to Use Subway Tiles

How to incorporate this basic-but-beautiful-tile in your kitchen or bath.

There’s something about laying a new wall of tile that just can’t be beat. But despite our love for bold, statement-making patterns, we mustn’t overlook the rectangular (and oh-so-versatile) subway tile. Check out our favourite designer looks below.

(Photo: Janis Nicolay)

1. Classic Combo

A glossy white finish and standard inlay may have “Tile 101” written all over it, but when done right, it’s anything but ordinary. Exhibit A: This industrial Kitsilano home designed by Ami McKay.

(Photo: Colin Way)
(Photo: Colin Way)

2. On the Straight and Narrow

To prevent the rustic tiles (arranged in neat rows and columns) from overwhelming this modern-yet-traditional Calgary kitchen, designer Nam Dang-Mitchell added a marble backsplash and custom stainless steel hood fan. See more of this French-inspired kitchen here.

(Photo: Ema Peter)
(Photo: Ema Peter)

3. Angle Management

The bright aqua in this Falken Reynolds-designed kitchen may be the first thing to grab your attention, but it’s certainly not the last. Forget about the basic horizontal arrangement and instead try something angular, like this herringbone pattern. See more of this stylish Crosstown condo here.

(Photo: Martin Tessler)

4. Pump Up the Volume (and the Luxe!)

Designer Paul Lavoie injected this historic Calgary home with a handful of contemporary elements—chandeliers, mirrors, a lavender ottoman—and the oversized marble tiles in the kitchen are no exception.

(Photo: Martin Tessler)
(Photo: Martin Tessler)

5. Colour Block

It’s time to ditch the paint! Tiles can be a great source of colour, especially when paired with a vibrant art collection à la this Paul Lavoie-designed Condo.

(Photo: Janis Nicolay)

6. High Gloss

It’s hard to resist a statement-making backsplash, but this laneway house kitchen, designed by Joanna Vagelatos of The Cross Decor and Design, proves less is more. The muted colour and glossy finish are simple yet sophisticated—plus they allow other design details (like the vibrant turquoise fridge) to take centre stage.

(Photo: Ema Peter)
(Photo: Ema Peter)

7. Total Takeover

Get the most out of a product you love like homeowner Elana Cossever. She and designer Bruce Carscadden found the subway tile for this bathroom at a Vancouver outlet, and quickly decided to fill the space with it. See more of this airy, light-filled reno here.

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