Bathroom metro tile ideas – 15 metro tile ideas for a modern look

With these stylish metro tile ideas, it should be no surprise that metro tiles continue to be one of the most in demand bathroom tile styles of all time...

bathroom metro tile ideas
(Image credit: Future)

Bathroom metro tile ideas – or subway tiles in America – continue to be one of the most searched for type of bathroom tile ideas.

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.

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.

metro tiles

Get the look The bathroom cabinet was designed by Stephen Akehurst. Try CP Hart for similar. Head to Mandarin Stone for limestone floor tiles. The Jade lamp table (used as a stool) is by Wilhelmina McCarroll for Zuster in Melbourne. Try Objekten for similar.

(Image credit: Lisa Cohen)

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.

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look: The metro tiles are by Walls and Floors. The floor tiles were bought from Tons of Tiles. This is a Burlington pedestal basin.

(Image credit: Future)

3. Arrange metro tiles in a herringbone pattern

Large metro tiles in herringbone formation give this modern bathroom a fresh look, while copper-coloured grouting ties in with the copper bathroom fixtures and fittings. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

The bathroom has an industrial edge, thanks to the exposed bulb pendant to the copper taps and retro reclaimed vanity unit.

bathroom metro tile ideas

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

There’s a freestanding shower too, featuring the same industrial-style copper scheme.

bathroom metro tile ideas

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

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.

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look Bath, ebay. Tiles, Walls & Floors.

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

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. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look The floor tiles are by Home Depot.

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

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. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look: The steel and glass wall is by Space Exploration Design. Try Mosaic del Sur for similar floor tiles. The cabinets are bespoke. The taps and shower are by Barber Wilsons & Co. The bath is vintage – try The Albion Bath Company for a similar style.

(Image credit: Future)

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. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look The metro brick tiles are from Material Plans. For a similar bath, try CP Hart. The bath towel by Khadi and Co is available at The Conran Shop and Aesop’s hand wash is from Twentytwentyone.

(Image credit: Future)

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. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look The basin and mixer taps are from Aston Matthews. The tiles come from The Reject Tile Shop. The wall light is by Trinity Marine.

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

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.

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look The bath is from CP Hart. The wall and floor tiles are from World’s End Tiles

(Image credit: Ben Anders)

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.

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look: The floor tiles are from Tiles Direct. Kast Concrete Basins made the basin and RCC Furniture created the vanity unit. These are Orlanda wall sconces by Industville.

(Image credit: Future)

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.

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look: The wall tiles are from Waterworks, the roll top bath is from Sunrise Speciality and the tap is from Waterworks. The sink unit was custom-made, the basin is by Kohler and the Henry tap is by Waterworks.

(Image credit: Future)

11. Tiles up to dado height

This monochrome bathroom’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. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look: The Dyad sconce above the mirror is by Apparatus.

(Image credit: Future)

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. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look The tiles are from Tons of Tiles.

(Image credit: Future)

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. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look: For wall and floor tiles like these, try Tile Magic.

(Image credit: Future)

13. Minimalist

This chic shower room 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.

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look The tiles are from Tons of Tiles. The taps are from homary.com. The bath mat is from Urban Outfitters.

(Image credit: Future)

14. Tile your alcoves

This metro tiled shower has a handy built-in alcove shelf for keeping toiletries at close hand. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look Find similar tiles at Topps Tiles.

(Image credit: Future)

15. Create a uniform look

Simple metro tiles along the vanity area and shower create a uniform backdrop. 

bathroom metro tile ideas

Get the look: The basin and shower are from Heritage Bathrooms. The smaller mirror is an antique Venetian design from The Mint List Interior Design. The Tarovine wallpaper, soap dispenser and tumbler are by House of Hackney.

(Image credit: Future)

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 Brouwer
Lotte Brouwer

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.