Bathroom metro tile ideas – or subway tiles in America – continue to be one of the most searched for type of bathroom tile ideas (opens in new tab).
Designed to resemble the tiling found in classic underground stations, metro tiles have popped up from the underground, and made their way into modern bathrooms (opens in new tab).
Metro tiles have become increasingly popular, owing to their versatility. They suit both modern and traditional homes, and are often found in contemporary bathroom schemes despite being around since the early 1900s.
The uniformity of metro tiles makes them perfect for use in a contemporary setting, as they create a neat, grid-like backdrop.
The brick-style pattern is able to blend in with industrial schemes, as well as the more rustic, minimal and elegant styles.
As metro tiles are usually glossy, they can also help bounce light around a room, making them perfect for small bathrooms.
Finally, with their simple rectangular shape they're not just limited to the simple subway grid; mix them with a contrasting coloured tile, or arrange the tiles in a more modern formation like a herringbone or chevron pattern.
1. Metro tile feature wall
This bathroom has a contemporary feel with its clean grid-like lines. Only one wall is tiled, but it's enough to create an impact.
2. Frame metro tiles with a contrast stripe
Floor-to-ceiling metro tiles and a Victorian-style floor put a period spin on this modern wet room. We particularly love the contrast stripe in black metro tiles, adding visual interest and complementing the bathroom floor tiles (opens in new tab).
3. Arrange metro tiles in a herringbone pattern
Large metro tiles in herringbone formation give this modern bathroom (opens in new tab) a fresh look, while copper-coloured grouting ties in with the copper bathroom fixtures and fittings.
The bathroom has an industrial edge, thanks to the exposed bulb pendant to the copper taps and retro reclaimed vanity unit.
There’s a freestanding shower too, featuring the same industrial-style copper scheme.
4. Use metro tiles to conceal built-in loos
In this metro tiled bathroom, the tiles even wrap around the back-to-wall loo, helping to blend it in with the rest of the scheme.
5. Opt for white grout for a restful scheme
White grouting makes these white metro tiles blend into the background, and is more restful on the eye.
The white metro tiles along this back wall below completely blend into the background, offering a simple, bright wipe-down surface that lets the Crittall style doors and encaustic tiles do the talking.
6. Boutique hotel inspired
Slate flooring sets a dark and moody backdrop for this hotel-style bathroom. Black grouting and black brassware pull the look together.
7. Rustic vibe
This small bathroom idea features a counter-top sink, traditional taps and weathered wood touches, giving it a distinctly rustic vibe. White tiles and black grout keep the look modern and fresh.
8. Black & white contrast
The black window frame below creates a cool contrast against the white tiles, and ties in with the black freestanding bath (opens in new tab).
9. Metro tiles in chevron formation
Here, metro tiles have been configured into a more modern chevron style pattern. Hexagonal floor tiles offer a nice contrast.
10. Glam factor
Metro tiled bathrooms can look glam too, as this city bathroom proves. Gold taps, towel rails and cabinet handles all add a bit of glam, but the freestanding bath is the piece de resistance.
11. Tiles up to dado height
This monochrome bathroom (opens in new tab)’s black and white colour scheme feels über-chic. The metro tiles only climb halfway up the wall, and offers a bright contrast to the wall colour, which actually helps make the room feel larger. The tiles are also a practical and easy way to keep this room clean.
Similarly, metro tiles in a herringbone pattern were taken just up to dado height in the bathroom below. A metal framed mirror, industrial-style tap and a vanity unit that’s seemingly on wheels pulls together this industrial theme.
12. Add a contrast brick
In the bathroom below, white metro tiles have been broken up with contrasting pops of black for a unique and funky look.
This chic shower room (opens in new tab) is free of a shower tray, and separated by a simple glass screen, giving it a clean, minimalist look. Simple white metro tiles with dark grouting, black taps, towel rail and hooks add to the minimalist vibe.
14. Tile your alcoves
This metro tiled shower has a handy built-in alcove shelf for keeping toiletries at close hand.
15. Create a uniform look
Simple metro tiles along the vanity area and shower create a uniform backdrop.
What is a metro tile?
A metro tile – or subway tile in America – is a rectangular shaped tile inspired by he tiling found in classic underground / subway stations. The style has made its way into modern interiors, with white metro tiles being one of the most in-demand tile styles for bathrooms. A modern take on this look is arranging rectangular metro tiles in a chevron or herringbone formation, instead of the classic grid-like look.
What grout colour is best for metro tiles?
To make a feature out of your tiles, you'll want to make them stand out with a contrast grouting – a medium to dark grey is a popular choice, or a softer grey for a more subtle look. You could also choose white grouting, although this will make the metro tile pattern less obvious and will blend them into the background, not drawing too much attention. White grouting works well for spa-inspired bathrooms and relaxing, restful schemes.
Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.
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