Selecting Tile for Your Space: Subway Tile Design and Style



Last month’s blog post outlined several functional components when it comes to selecting tile for your space according to the best tile composition. This month’s blog post outlines selecting tile for your space based on subway tile design and style. Whether it’s your entryway, kitchen, bathroom, or bar area, there are several tile compositions to choose from that will best fit your space. Read more about the considerations and criteria regarding tile selection depending on the purpose of your space here. The fun part comes after you’ve selected the most functional tile for your space — selecting the tile according to aesthetic and design preferences!



Mortar: sets the tile

Grout: fills the joints

Caulk: seals the edges and corners

Glaze or Sealant: protects the surface


From left to right: white marble bathroom shower in vertical stack bond pattern (in partnership with Notre Maison Design & Renovations), dark marble subway tile in vertical stack bond 1/3 offset pattern


There are several components of tile design and styles to choose from to best fit your space. This blog outlines two major tile design and style choices: scale and pattern. Our talented designers at Dalton Carpet One are experts in all things tile. So, book an appointment today to learn more about tile composition and design styles from one of our designers, and get started remodeling your space with tile today!


Subway Tile Scale and Pattern


As you know, subway tile comes in several sizes and can be laid in various patterns to create different looks for any space. The most common subway tiling patterns include vertical and horizontal stack bond, herringbone and double herringbone, and 1/2 and 1/3 offset. Below are two graphics that show examples of the sizes of subway tiles and patterns you might consider in your space.


Horizontal stack bond in 1/2 offset

  • Classic pattern choice for a variety of areas in any subway tile size
  • Shown being used for dry bar, fireplace, and shower




  • Beautiful pattern choice that can elevate any space by adding contrast to an area, such as a stove backsplash, or by using throughout the entire space
  • Shown being used for upper shower tile accent, entry way flooring, and stove backsplash



Some Design Considerations as you’re Dreaming and Planning


Utilizing Two Patterns for a Cohesive Space

Another way to create a cohesive look while having a bit of contrast is by using the same scale of a tile but switching up the tiling pattern. This is commonly seen by alternating the stove backsplash in the kitchen. Shown below, you can see how this can be achieved in your kitchen by utilizing a different pattern for your stove backsplash. This project, Rustic Modern Kitchen with Peninsula, uses 2” x 6” subway tile in a herringbone pattern for the stove backsplash, while the remainder of the 2” x 6” subway tile in this kitchen is a running bond in 1/2 offset or a staggered pattern.



Utilizing Two Sizes and Patterns for a Cohesive Space

For the most cohesive, blended, and appealing space, often two tile sizes are used within spaces like showers and bathrooms, or even kitchens and bar areas. This ivory and grey color palette seen in this bathroom project below, Master Bath with Makeup Vanity, shows the importance of matching the proper tile size to the space in which it is being used. By using two different subway tile sizes, one in a herringbone pattern and the other a running bond in 1/2 offset, or a staggered pattern for the bottom portion of the shower wall moving into the flooring throughout the space. Utilizing these two sizes and patterns, we were able to translate this stunning design while building cohesion within the space.



In the shower, we chose a classic 4″ x 12″ subway tile laid in herringbone pattern for the upper portion of the shower walls to create a statement with the herringbone pattern in the smaller shower space. The affect is similar to the larger subway tile, but by choosing smaller subway tiles dimension is added to this classic design. The scale of both tiles used in this project creates a cohesive look that fits in to the rhythm of the space, by utilizing the larger 12” x 24” version of the same tile on the lower portion of the shower walls and the rest of the flooring throughout the bathroom in a running bond in 1/2 offset or a staggered pattern.


Utilizing One Size to Bring Separate Spaces Together

This cool grey color palette seen in this kitchen project, Gorgeous Grey Lake Oconee Kitchen, and butler’s pantry project below shows how utilizing one tile size throughout two separate spaces can bring them together through a cohesive design. This project uses 3” x 6” subway tile in a running bond in 1/2 offset, or staggered pattern, seen throughout the kitchen and flowing into the butler’s panty. Utilizing this cohesive size and pattern, we were able to translate the same look and stunning design across two spaces.



Using a 3” x 6” subway tile for your space offers endless options for design and layout, while maintaining a timeless look. However, a ½ offset, or staggered pattern for 3” x 6” subway tile is one of the most common, classic looks for all subway tile. Here we have two separate spaces brought together with a 1/2 offset, or staggered pattern of 3” x “6 subway tile. This kitchen and butler’s pantry uses a timeless brick-style look with the 3” x 6” subway tile, which ties these two spaces together beautifully.



When it comes to subway tile, you might utilize two sizes, two patterns, or one size and pattern throughout your space depending on the style you are aiming to achieve. Selecting tile for your space based on subway tile design and style is a creative, collaborative process for both our clients and designers. The options are endless and we are dedicated to helping you find the perfect look for your space. Book your appointment today to meet with a designer, discuss your options and style preferences, and browse our tile selection to create your perfect space!


For more information on how to select the perfect tile composition to fit your space, check last month’s blog: Selecting Tile for Your Space: Tile Composition.

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