When it comes to giving your home an update, it’s natural to want your decor changes to last longer than a passing interior design trend - which is why tiles offer a perfect solution for almost any room in the home, delivering a durable finish that will stay looking pristine for years.
Of course, longevity is a desirable quality in a tile - but there’s more to longevity than hard-wearing materials that can handle their fair share of wear and tear. At Tiles Direct, we’d say lasting beauty is just as important as durability - and sometimes, this means foregoing heavy patterns in favour of something timeless and evergreen. So, if you’re looking for tiles guaranteed to stand the test of time, we’ve got just the thing.
Our iconic range of metro tiles (otherwise known as subway tiles or underground tiles) offer an ideal way to revitalise tired interiors. From kitchens and bathrooms to living rooms and hallways, these versatile, era-bending tiles offer endless styling possibilities to bring your home’s interiors well and truly up-to-date.
With a rich history, you can find out more about the cultural roots and design potential of our metro brick tiles right here - giving you all the inspiration you need for bringing a fresh new look to kitchens, bathrooms and beyond.
What are metro tiles?
In the early 1900s, the walls of London and New York’s Underground stations were famously adorned with plain, white, brick-shaped tiles - a powerful, timeless look that birthed the name ‘metro tiles’, which is still used to this day. Due to their simple, slick, minimalist look, these popular wall tiles are among the most versatile on the market - and thanks to their iconic origins, they’re also the epitome of contemporary chic.
While many tube stations in our nation’s capital have had a modern overhaul, you don’t have to go far to see stunning examples of original metro tile designs for yourself. Whether you spot the colourful station signs at Regent’s Park and Russell Square or walk the striking white corridors at Tottenham Court Road, the beauty and visual impact of subway tiles can still be witnessed today - offering interior design inspiration even in the most practical spaces.
Instantly recognisable by their slim brick shape - generally being twice or three times as wide as they are tall - metro tiles are highly sought-after in the world of interior design, especially as they’re available in a broad spectrum of shades. As a result, this means they can be effectively paired with all kinds of colour schemes and design themes.
One thing to note, though, is that classic metro tiles are almost exclusively sold in plain designs, using block colours. This is a quality which allows them to play a powerful supporting role in a room’s overall aesthetic - be that a retro-themed kitchen or a contemporary bathroom.
Of course, traditional designs are always evolving to cater for modern styles and demands. As a result, the humble underground tile is no longer limited to the quintessential colours and styles you see in tube stations. While the dimensions and design principles have largely remained the same, you can now find an even greater choice of metro-style tiles on offer - including crackled glaze tiles, natural stone options, oxidised tiles, chevron-shaped versions and rustic styles, to name but a few of the available options.
This means even greater potential for home interior updates, as you can have all the alluring charm and characteristics of a metro tile with the added scope for incorporating different textures and finishes. Whatever home design ideas you have in mind, we’re confident there’s a metro tile to match - but if you need a little inspiration, we’ve got you covered.
Metro tiles for kitchens, bathrooms and more
Whether you’re looking to brighten up your bathroom with a striking new feature wall in an eye-catching colour or refresh your kitchen with a perfectly practical splashback, metro tiles offer a multifunctional solution to all kinds of interior decorating dilemmas that extend beyond the obvious places.
Easy-clean kitchens: The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms of the house and, naturally, the most prone to stains, splashes and other spillages - making metro kitchen tiles an ideal basis for a fuss-free splashback. Offering a winning combination of uncomplicated good looks and an easy-to-clean surface, styles like the Retro Metro range eliminate the maintenance issues typically associated with paint or wallpaper in this kind of environment.
Brilliantly practical bathrooms: The same can also be said in the bathroom, where practicality reigns and simple, enduring beauty is generally the goal of any design overhaul. Enhance the area behind your bathroom sink with metro wall tiles in a complementary colour, or introduce an accent shade by treating your shower room to a tiled border embodying the bold beauty of the Underground.
Heavenly hallways: The hallway is often the last area for consideration when it comes to interior updates, but, as the gateway to your home, it really does deserve a little TLC - and the metro tile is primed and ready for the challenge. In busy households, metro wall tiles in hallways provide the perfect remedy for mucky handprints, scuffs and general wear and tear. But, beyond the practicalities, they also give drab hallways some much-needed personality. Whether you opt for classic monochrome white brick tiles or the sorts of bold colours found in our English Victorian collection, subway tiles are guaranteed to make a lasting impression.
Lavish living rooms: While subway-style wall tiles in the living room may not seem like an obvious choice, they can be a fantastic way to add a lavish and striking feature that boasts practical benefits, too. Protecting walls from scuffs and marks from furniture, metro tiles in all shades, finishes and sizes bring a strong style statement to these social living areas. Nail the shabby-chic look with our gorgeous grey Harbour tiles; bring texture and depth with natural stone Split Face tiles available in a variety of designs; or coin a vintage-inspired look with our colourful Antic Pastels collection - offering stunning hues to complement any design theme.
Blissful bedrooms: Opting for calming and serene palettes in bedrooms is the ideal technique for achieving a great night’s sleep - but this option doesn’t have to be bland. Curate a blissful space that oozes elegance with a feature wall that uses metro wall tiles to great effect. Why not try our Crackle Glaze tiles, which come in a vibrant range of colours, for an antique vibe or achieve an attention-grabbing wall with Chevron tiles in pale tones?
Handpick metro tile designs for your home
When you’re designing and decorating a room from scratch, finding a range of truly complementary design elements - from furniture and flooring to wall art and accessories - is no easy feat. Thankfully, the simple and adaptable aesthetic of metro tiles means they’re able to bring out the best in any room - so you won’t need to start by finding tiles you love before planning everything else around them.
With colour options galore, including monochrome favourites white, grey and black, as well as bolder shades such as red, green and blue, if you’ve already begun mapping out your dream home design, your metro brick tiles will fall right into place.
The customisation options don’t stop at colour, though. When it comes to shape and size, you can also base the tiles you buy on what works best for your home. Daintier room designs are best matched with mini metro tiles - while larger alternatives, in pale colours like cream or light grey, are ideal if you’re looking to create the illusion of additional space in your modestly sized property.
You’ll also find a fantastic array of different finishes available, too - giving you all the versatility you need for your desired look. From smooth, glossy brick tiles that deliver a clean and sleek finish to oxidised metallic mosaics, crackled glaze options and even natural stone, there’s an abundance of variety, so you’re sure to find just the right tiling solution.
Top tips for accentuating your metro tiles
With effortless style guaranteed, metro-style tiles need very little in terms of added detail to make them a stand-out feature - but there are some ways you can enhance their look even further if you want to. With this in mind, we’re sharing some of our insider tips to help you along your way.
Small spaces and small tiles
As a rule, we would always recommend using larger format tiles in small spaces, as fewer grout lines are an effective way to create the illusion of extra space. However, if you have your heart set on metro brick tiles, don’t let this get in your way.
Opting for lighter shades and glossy tiles will still work wonders in brightening up a cosy kitchen or bathroom - meaning you won’t have to give up your precious metro tile design. Complement with the same colour grout or a very close match to minimise the appearance of grout lines and you’ll soon see that size doesn’t matter.
Keep things simple
Subway tiles are the masters of blending into almost any interior design theme, be that rustic, vintage, industrial-chic or contemporary. However, their potency can be lost if there’s too much going on around them - so, we’d suggest you optimise their beauty with simple surroundings that complement one another.
For instance, if you opt for bold-coloured brick tiles for your kitchen splashback, offset this with pale-coloured cabinets and walls that will let the tiles come to the fore. Alternatively, you can jazz up monochrome tiled areas with pops of bright colour or metallic accents.
Embrace the grout lines
In contrast to the first concept of using the same or similar coloured grout to minimise the appearance of grout lines, you can, in fact, highlight the lines to give a more dramatic decor style that demands to be noticed. From vibrantly coloured grout in sunshine yellow, red and blue to dark and dramatic black and grey, if you really want to deliver an impactful look with your metro tiles, this could be the way to go.
Why choose Tiles Direct?
When it comes to buying metro tiles, we’re confident that our extensive selection of both classic and contemporary designs will provide you with everything you need for sprucing up tired interiors.
With over three decades’ experience in the tile industry, we’ve forged strong relationships with quality suppliers across Europe to bring you the best tiles at the best possible prices on the market. We even offer a price match promise, so, if you find the same tile for a better price elsewhere, we’ll beat it - ensuring you get the best deal around. We’ll even throw in free delivery on any orders over £499.
Found a subway tile that suits you? Simply add them to your basket and head straight to the checkout to place your order. However, if you’re still deciding, you can order a sample online for just 99p and get a closer look before you commit to buying in bulk.
So, what are you waiting for? Explore our metro wall tiles range today to bring some classic cool into your contemporary home. Have a question about one of our products? Contact us now and our expert team will be happy to help.