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The Emergence of Subway Tile

Born into existence in the heart of the bustling streets of New York City, subway tile has recently reemerged onto the scene, gaining momentous popularity among designers and those seeking to remodel their home. Originally created to line the walls of subway stations and platforms, subway tile was designed by Christopher Grant La Farge and George C. Heins in 1904 in conjunction with New York’s very first station.

The quintessential 3-by-6-inch rectangular tiles inject a little piece of American history into the businesses and homes across the nation. The tiles pay homage to the Victorian-era fixation with cleanliness and hygiene as they are fashioned from a material that is notorious for its strain-free properties. Ironically, many people associate subway tile with the actual transportation system and consider the material to be quite tarnished and unclean.

However, seeing as the idea of underground transportation was an entirely new arena for New Yorkers during this time, they held an entirely different perspective on the glossy, pristine tiles. The shiny surfaces of the tiles also maintain their squeaky-clean ambiance due to their ability to reflect light, flooding the underground platforms with pearly-white light.

After their successful debut across subway stations, the tile was quickly adopted in other interior designs. From kitchens and bathrooms to retailers and local mom-and-pop shops, subway tile appeared in a myriad of locations as a technique for exhibiting a style prized for being immaculately spotless. Remember, this was before the grimy, rat-infested stereotype of these subterranean quarters came into play. The image of the subway system as a breeding ground for pollution was not prevalent until the 1970s–1980s when the underground chambers were no longer considered to be in mint condition.

While subway tile never permanently vanished, it only recently regained a tremendous amount of popularity. Recreating the turn-of-the-century feeling can be easily achieved in your bathroom or kitchen areas. Try pairing classic white subway tiles with retro elements, like a pedestal sink, for a look of refined sophistication and elegance. You can also harness bold, vibrant colored tiles in a contemporary kitchen to breathe some life into the otherwise traditional pattern.

Colorful backsplashes are not the only way to shatter expectations and create some excitement for your home. Classic subway tiles can also be arranged in a way that alternates patterns. Known as the brickwork pattern, this style is perhaps the most popular, and simplest, ways to leverage these tiles. Brickwork patterns place a regular-sized tile next to a row of tiles that only measure half the size of the neighboring tile length.

Whether a newfound nostalgia has resurrected the current popularity of the subway tile or a more old-fashioned style is satiating design palates, the subway tile is versatile and can be easily adapted to fit any home.

What is Textured Tile?

In our technology-driven marketplace, it’s no surprise that manufacturers are leveraging new tech to amplify their product design and diversify their stylings. When it comes to tile, manufacturers are able to fashion texturized designs that mimic their natural counterparts. From the buyer perspective, textured tiles are gaining enormous popularity thanks to their three-dimensional build, which can infuse your home with a dramatic flair. Tile that uses textured material is praised for its durable performance, as well as its aesthetically pleasing traits.

Enlisting the help of eye-catching textured tiles can yield a look of innovation at a price point that is economically favorable. Selecting the right materials can add depth to any room, helping to transform your space into one that challenges even the finest homes displayed on HGTV. Integrating textured elements into your household is a great way to evoke some excitement in a room that has become lifeless or uninteresting. From visually appealing backsplashes to flooring styles that feel good beneath your bare toes, the following textured tiles will surely satisfy your design sweet-tooth.

Slate: Organic, earthy tones are widely sought-after when it comes to decorating or remodeling the home. Of the textured tile selections available on the market, slate offers a beautiful, natural solution for achieving the unique consistency customary to stone tiles. Each particular slab is distinct and characteristic in its own way, infusing touches of color into the primarily gray and bluish-gray slate.

Porcelain and Ceramic Wood Look Tile: For those looking for a cost-effective alternative to hardwood flooring that requires minimal maintenance, look no further than wood look ceramic or porcelain tile. These styles exemplify the textured feel of authentic wood without emptying your wallet. The wood look texture is sculpted in such a way that is silky-smooth yet has the grainy, carved appearance typically associated with real wood. When integrated into your room, wood look tile often creates a rustic ambiance that is cozy and inviting for guests and family members.

Metal: A great textured tile for accentuating the beauty of your kitchen or bathroom, the contrasting style of metal tiles can perfectly highlight your backsplash or accent wall. As with a statement piece, the sleek architecture of stainless steel tiles can introduce a contemporary feel with its lustrous architecture and smooth curves. You can also add stylistic touches to your kitchen by using a patterned copper backsplash to evoke a look that is more intimate and warm.

Mosaics: For a style that spans the centuries, you’ll want to use textured mosaic tiles in your interior design. Glass tiles are currently all the rage among design moguls, who are using glass mosaics in a myriad of ways. From vibrant statement colors to patterned artwork, glass tiles are often applied to areas of the house that require a bold accent piece. Another fashionable option is pebble mosaic tiles, which add decorative detail to any room with its organic, geometric shapes. Whether you are selecting a border for your floor or renovating your shower, pebble mosaics are a fashion-forward, tasteful option for your space.

Inject some life into your space with the three-dimensional effect of textured tiles. From traditional ambiances to ultra-modern styles, textured tiles can easily enhance any space.

About Ernest Barry