Mad About … Metro Tiles

The trend for metro tiles, brick tiles, even subway tiles if you will, remains perennially popular. Obviously I prefer them in monochrome shades of grey and white, but these days they also come in bright jewel colours, made from glass or even with a crackle glaze finish. If you’re planning to retile anywhere soon, take a look at these and see if you feel inspired.

metro tiles at The Manhattan Printing House in NYC (

This rather lovely little kitchen is a snip at $7m in Hudson Street in New York’s west village.

a subtle sheen on these white metro tiles

Or what about these?  One very popular look with white metro tiles is to use a grey grout. I have mixed feelings about this. It can look incredibly modern if, and it’s quite a big “if”, the rest of the room is styled really well and is really modern. Otherwise, it can look either dirty or municipal. So if you haven’t got the confidence to carry it off don’t try.

image from elle decor
image from elle decor

Still on the subject of grey grout; we were going to try it in one of the showers but it wasn’t until the builder started using it on the white tiles that we realised they were crackle-glazed and that the grout was being absorbed all over the while tile. Cue chipping off the tiles, re-ordering and starting again. So do check the finish on your tiles before you try anything fancy.

that crouch end photographer pix
White metro tiles in north London. Image by Paul Massey

Of course, you don’t have to stick to kitchens. What about some of these lovely bathrooms? This grey one below is particularly lovely.
image from

Or here, in a paler shade of grey?
image from

Here is another example of grey grout with white tiles, which looks fantastic.
image from

The clean lines of the bathroom below make this room stylishly functional rather than spa-like.


Another example of grey grout. This time I am not so sure. What do you think?

So, Mad About Metro Tiles…. are you?

You might also like

How to plan the perfect bathroom

Tiles: A Buyer’s Guide

How to plan the perfect kitchen

Celebrity Bathrooms

Blissful Bathrooms





Tags : bathroomskitchensmonochrometileswhite
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Metro tiles are the most popular kitchen tile (and also fab in bathrooms too) – they have taken the industry by storm! Plus there are so many choices within the metro tiles family. Personally I like the contrasting grout colour to highlight a brick-bonded or off-centre pattern. Monochrome colours are good, but Olive and Sage are also impressive.

  2. We’ve got large metro tiles and a super dark grey grout in the window display of our kitchen showroom. They’ve been in for over a year and a half and we haven’t seen their popularity diminish. The grey grout is particularly forgiving in a kitchen environment in terms of maintenance. So, practical and stylish in one.

  3. Hi Kate,
    Love your blog am new to it but really enjoy looking at homes ect, I have one question how do you keep all your open shelves clean!!! Do you have a lady who does for you .? Or do you wash everything on them every week ? I love these colours and the look but dust ,splashes from the sink would drive me nuts. But we are talking about a kitchen here. I’ve used this in my adults sons room and love it but can’t make the move to open shelves they look fantastic but the work to keep them clean is unending . Vanessa.

    1. Hi Vanessa, sorry not to reply before I have been away. So, my shelves – well I do have a lady who does but I tend to find that because the things that are kept on there are used all the time they don’t really get dusty. Well yes, the champagne glasses on the top shelves do but I deliberately kept all the plates, glasses and mugs there as well as ingredients that are used at least once a week so that it’s all constantly moving and there’s no time for dust to gather. I dust/wipe them randomly in an absent-minded fashion when I think about it! We are careful about the sink – there is one patch which needs a little repair work but I’m going to sand and seal it with decorators varnish so that shouldn’t be an issue any more. I don’t know if that helps but thank you for visiting the blog, Kate.

  4. Just ordered some for our bathroom, called duck egg but they are really just blue. nice though, great selection of images above – nice and inspiring! I hope they remain perennially popular though, if they suddenly go out of fashion next week I shall be livid! x

Comments are closed.