6 Modern Subway Tile Patterns Ideas for Your Home

Since its debut in the New York City subway system in 1904, subway tile patterns have been popular for their versatility and durability. Though this sleek and chic tile has been around for over a century, it still feels modern. Subway tile can be used in every room and fits any design style. If you want to add subway tile to your space, here are six layouts to consider.

1. Brick style

The brick style, also known as running bond pattern, is a timeless layout that offers a versatile and classic look. In this pattern, each row of tiles is offset by half the width of the tile below it, resembling traditional brickwork. This layout is popular because it adds subtle texture and visual interest without overwhelming the space.

Brick style subway tile pattern

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2. Staggered pattern

The staggered pattern is similar to the classic brick style but with a twist. In this layout, each row of tiles is offset by a random or varying amount rather than a consistent half-tile width. This creates a more dynamic and less uniform appearance, adding a contemporary and playful element to the space. The staggered pattern maintains the traditional charm of subway tiles while offering a fresh and modern update.

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3. Vertical layout

The straight vertical layout, also known as the soldier stack, arranges subway tiles in neat, aligned columns with all tiles stacked directly above one another. This creates a clean, linear look that emphasizes height and adds a modern, sleek aesthetic to any space. This layout is ideal for creating a sense of order and sophistication, making rooms feel taller and more open.

Vertical subway tile pattern

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4. Vertical offset style

The vertical offset layout takes the traditional brick style pattern and rotates it 90 degrees, so the tiles are arranged vertically but still maintain an offset, or staggered, alignment. Each row of tiles is offset by half the height of the tile above and below it. This layout adds a modern twist to the classic look, providing a unique and visually interesting design that emphasizes vertical lines.

Vertical brick style blue ceramic tile backsplash

5. Herringbone pattern

The herringbone pattern is a sophisticated and timeless layout that adds a touch of elegance to any space. In this pattern, subway tiles are arranged in a zigzag formation, with each tile slanting at a 45-degree angle to create a V-shaped pattern. This layout offers a visually striking design that can elevate the aesthetic of both traditional and modern interiors.

Blue subway tile in herringbone pattern backsplash installation closer view

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6. Herringbone diagonal style

The herringbone diagonal pattern is a variation of the traditional herringbone layout that introduces a dynamic and captivating design element. In this arrangement, subway tiles are positioned at a 90-degree angle, forming a diagonal pattern across the surface. This unique orientation adds a sense of movement and sophistication to any space, making it a popular choice for those seeking to create a visually stunning focal point.

Diagonal herringbone pattern tile backsplash installation

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