Mad About . . .

Mad About … Metro Tiles

16th August 2014
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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 (Corcoran.com)

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 blog.glamourdrops.com

Or here, in a paler shade of grey?


image from archintect.com

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


image from biryastikta.org

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

from homegirllondon.com

from homegirllondon.com

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



So, Mad About Metro Tiles…. are you?

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  • Sophie Palmer 21st August 2014 at 9:34 am

    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.

  • Jacinta 16th August 2014 at 10:56 pm

    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.

  • 2moiselles 16th August 2014 at 8:57 am

    Love them, metro tiles aren given a good mood to the interior!!

  • Vanessa 16th August 2014 at 8:55 am

    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.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 24th August 2014 at 5:34 pm

      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.

  • Lesley Anne Burton 16th August 2014 at 8:29 am

    I got my son to use these in his kitchen although we call them Subway tiles. Not sure about grey grout with white tiles. I’m afraid it might just look dirty!

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 24th August 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Yes it’s a moot point! I always like it in pictures but when it came to my own house I bottled it and we didn’t! Perhaps if I redecorate…..

  • Louisa Blackmore 20th May 2013 at 3:32 pm

    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

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 20th May 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Oh do send a picture … they won’t go out of fashion – it’s a classic look.

  • Desiree 8th April 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Love it!!! Metro tiles are really cool!

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