Why Are Metro Tiles So Popular?

Posted: 12th Sep 2017

Step in to a cafe or bathroom and one of the first things you’ll likely notice are the tiles. The past few years has seen a huge resurgence in one tile in particular, the metro tile. This tile has been experiencing huge popularity thanks to its slightly vintage and minimalist look, making it perfect for creating that sought after retro aesthetic.


The reason that metro tiles give that gorgeous vintage design is due to their rich historical value. Metro tiles have been around for longer than you might think, dating back to the early 1900s. The metro tile was first used in places such as hospitals and prisons, thanks to their non-offensive design and easy to clean abilities. Essentially, it was the everyman of the tiling world - as such, they were subsequently used on the London Underground. It is here that they were first noticed as a design feature compared to their practical uses in the past. Their heavy use in subway stations across the world saw them rise to the iconic status they enjoy today.


Metro tiles are currently experiencing a period of rejuvenation in interiors thanks to the constant development and manufacturing of tiles. This means that there are now more metro tiles on offer than ever before, giving you a versatile choice in both design, finish and colour. It's therefore unlikely that you won't be able to find one that is perfect for your home or the look you’re trying to create. A big trend currently is to use a white metro tile with a black grout. This contrast really makes the tile pop and gives it that slightly unconventional edge that works beautifully for a vintage design. Similarly, you can use a black metro tile with a white grout for the same effect. Whatever colour you opt for, a classic metro look will use a gloss finish on the tile. This shine bounces light and adds the easy to clean properties we mentioned earlier.


Traditionally, the metro tile is installed horizontally in a typical tile layout. This can be either in a stack bond or brick bond. A stack bond sees the tiles installed horizontally, on top of each other, and in a straight line, almost like a grid. Alternatively, the brick bond installation uses the tiles in fluidic alternating lines. For example, one tile line will go across the wall, while the line below will be slightly off, creating an almost zigzag pattern with the grout lines. This creates a look identical to that typically used with bricks. Both of these are classic metro tile layouts and will give you that retro look seamlessly.

Alternatively, there is the herringbone layout, which has earned itself the top spot for homeowners and designers when it comes to tiles. The chevron inspired layout gives your metro tiles a slightly modern twist for both a classic and contemporary look. The herringbone design adds a sense of pattern and flow to your wall or floor and will propel your home to professional status by giving it a trendy and beautiful finish.

Metro tiles are a stunning way of transforming a bathroom or kitchen to give your home a new lease of life. The vintage trend doesn’t look as though it is slowing down anytime soon, so if you can’t beat them, join them. The metro tile isn’t just a passing trend - if anything, its popularity and versatility since the 1900s shows you will be investing in a timeless and gorgeous tile for your home.