Monday, 16 May 2016

Subway tiles suck

There. I’ve said it. Publically. I might be taking my life in my hands, but I hate subway tiles. I mean, I REALLY hate subway tiles. And every time I clean the shower in our rental house, I hate subway tiles even more. How can a person hate subway tiles, you might ask - they’re classic and timeless! Well, they’re not so classic and definitely not timeless when you’re scrubbing soap scum and dirt out of all of the grout lines between those boring white tiles.

The first thing that pops into my mind when I hear “subway tiles” is a subway station. There’s a reason why these suckers are called subway tiles… they were first used in subway stations in New York City in the early 1900s. This is the ticket office at the former City Hall subway station in New York City in 1904.

ticket stationSource

And over a hundred years later, subway tiles are still going strong in subway stations around the world.


subway 1


New York City…

subway station ig


Budapest too. Dressing them up with a fancy sign doesn’t make them look any better!

subway tile budapest

For some reason, people really liked these subway tiles, and they quickly moved from subway stations into people’s homes – and never left.

subway kitchen ig 2


subway kitchen ig


apt ther subway


Sure, these kitchens are nice, those backsplashes are so boring! With so many pretty and interesting and unique tiles to choose from, why pick boring white subway tiles?

Subway tiles are bad enough with white grout – using a dark grout makes them look doubly bad. Even triply bad. Possibly quadruply bad.

subway kitchen ig 3


rilane subway 2


For the love of god, even on the ceiling?!?!

subway 2


Why, when there are so many beautiful and interesting and unique tiles to choose from, would a person choose white subway tiles? These are some of my design projects – not a single subway tiles to be seen…

tiles 1

tiles 2

tiles 3



ensuite 2

These are big white matte tiles in the shower – easy to clean and not a lot of grout lines to clean. I highly recommend big white matte tiles for every shower!

shower half wall out[8]

OK, I have to come clean – I did use subway tiles once. But it wasn’t my fault – I was designing a bathroom on a tiny budget and in a tiny time frame. Subway tiles fit the bill because they’re cheap and easy to find, and I had to buy everything for the bathroom in one day. But I laid them in a 1/3 offset pattern to make them look a bit less subway station-ish. Plus when the star of the bathroom is massive composting toilet, subway tiles don’t look too awful. And no need to worry about cleaning grout :-)

cottage toilet

cottage subway 1

Wanna curse me and my dislike of subway tiles? I’m ready, bring it! :-D

kb logo 1a

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