Subway tile is a go-to choice for nearly any home design—its enduring beauty, affordability, simplistic elegance and ease of maintenance make it a timeless choice. Its contemporary twist, stacked tile a.k.a the straight pattern, is one of the biggest interior trends that takes this traditional design to a whole new dimension—and we’re here for it! Whether you love a play on classic home design or you’re looking for a contemporary look to refresh your space, these stunning stacked tile ideas will have you planning your next renovation with flair!
Any time you're craving a design refresh but are looking for a bit of a change, stacked subway tiles make a world of a difference in any style of home. With their clean lines and linear elegance, these vertical tiles are aligned directly upon one another for a finish that’s visually appealing for lovers of order and pattern alike.
What’s more, the beauty of repetition in design is that it creates an incredibly attractive grid-like appearance that adds flair and can bring mid-century modern, contemporary, transitional, and farmhouse aesthetics up to date. Ahead, we’re talking the straight subway tile design trend and using it to create a stylish impact in your home—from kitchen backsplashes and accent walls to shower surrounds and more!
Why the Stacked Subway Design is Popular
Wondering if the straight layout is that important? Why, yes! You may not be aware of this, but your eyes subconsciously take in the arrangement of grids and lines within a room. A pattern layout that feels too busy can make any room look visually cluttered, even if all the other design elements are in place. But this design trend? It has the impressive ability to impart a sense of modernism and boldness that sets a unique tone for the entire room. Below are a few other reasons why this tile layout is popular:
If you’re looking for a polished contemporary finish, perfectly aligned tiles create a clean refresh that feels authentic to your distinctive style. Straight grout lines, as opposed to another subway tile classic, the running bond pattern, are aesthetically pleasing and create a sense of order on your walls or floors.
Subway tile itself is simple and, laid out in a stacked style, results in a sleek, modern look with clean lines that will complement interior spaces deserving of a fresh, confident feel. This is a great complement to a minimalist home or to create a simple canvas for a cluttercore aesthetic. No matter your home decor style, a neat grid pattern for your subway tile layout can complement and enhance your space!Just when you thought your bathroom design couldn’t get any better, this Nero Marquina 3x6 Honed Marble Tile, with its punchy yet sophisticated dark aesthetic, adds a distinctive touch that’s sure to endure for many years.
If you’re wondering how to make a small room look and feel bigger, laying tiles directly upon one another can change the perception of the entire space. Whether laid vertically or horizontally, the straight set creates visual continuity that widens or elongates the room, making it appear larger and more uniform than it really is. This visual cheat is a favorite of interior designers who want to make a small space appear roomy.
Since most houses aren't square, tile jobs often result in about 10-15% overage. Whether installing square or rectangular tiles, a linear design cuts down on extra materials and hassle. The reason is that the straight layout minimizes the number of cuts needed and, instead of ending up with a small cut piece at one end of the room, the pattern almost always results in a full tile on each side.
Stacked Subway Tile Design Layouts
From their humble beginnings, subway tiles have provided great versatility when it comes to home design. Better yet, they offer a world of creative ways to lay them, from the popular horizontal layout to the more unconventional vertical composition. Additionally, sticking to similar-sized white or neutral tiles in any layout of your choice allows the room's striking design elements to advance into view.
The spa-like zen of this walk-in shower is amplified by the serene lavender gray hues of our La Riviera Lavanda tiles with a handcrafted style finish - the horizontal stack protects bathrooms alls and continues inside the arched doorway to the curbless shower, while porcelain floor tiles keep the whole area water-resistant!
Much like the classic subway tile design, stacking tiles horizontally offers a neat and concise vibe while maintaining the traditional feel. This classic way of laying your tiles creates the illusion of added width to your application, making this design a suitable solution for narrow spaces while simultaneously adding flair and style.
Most homeowners picture tile laid in the usual horizontal grid, but this timeless surface finish becomes modern when rotated into a vertical line. Placing the stacks vertically up the wall adds height and interest — making it an effective option for rooms with low ceilings.
In love with both horizontal and vertical and can’t decide which direction to lay your tile? Well, mixing the two styles is a fantastic option for virtually any space! This way of laying your tiles creates an eye-catching finish. We love how varying your materials—say marble tile laid vertically complemented by glass tile laid horizontally—allows the vertical look to stand out more by being a little unexpected. You may want to keep the rest of the room fairly simple to let your application pop.
It should be quite obvious by this point that subway tile is an exceptionally versatile design element. While you can never go wrong with the standard 3x6 inches tile, we’re in awe of how embracing smaller-sized 1x3 inches rectangular tiles results in a much grander look. No need to worry about extra time when you choose a rectangular mosaic tile - these sheets of multiple smaller subway-style tiles are backed by a flexible mesh, allowing you to install larger sections with ease! These mosaics are a popular choice to add detail to a backsplash or to provide grip underfoot for a slip-resistant shower floor.
Stacked Subway Tile Applications
The clean, classic charm of subway tiles has captured the hearts of many designers and homeowners since they first debuted in New York City's subway station. With so many stunning styles to splurge on, from exquisite natural stone to colorful glass to classic ceramic, the straight bond application is an elegant pick for any area of the home.
Considering a remodel? Here are our favorite uses of this easy-to-clean, stain-resistant, light-reflective surface finish.
Stacked subway tile backsplash
For practical and aesthetic reasons, subway tiles are a versatile staple of kitchen and bathroom backsplashes. The straight bond pattern endures as a perennial favorite for creating a neat and structured backsplash design, no matter your home’s interior aesthetic. Available in a a wide range of colors, patterns, and finishes, this tile trend is an enduring favorite!
Whether you going with a horizontal or vertical arrangement, consider using glass tiles for subtle interest. Glass's ability to reflect light will make your space appear more spacious, bright, and divine overall. Add intrigue to your backsplash design by opting for colored grout!
For example, going darker with your grout on classic white ceramic subway tile creates a striking high-contrast look that draws attention to the layout. For a minimalist, no-nonsense look, you can always stick to a grout color that matches your tile. Better still, the tiles can stretch all the way to the ceiling for a visually impactful statement.
Stacked subway tile shower
In bathrooms, this trendy tile pattern is guaranteed add a modern feel to shower surrounds. To make your shower feel taller, you can opt for a vertical application on your shower walls, and go for a horizontal layout for the rest of the room’s wall surfaces to further open up the space. Going for classic white or neutral colors delivers a sophisticated finish whereas letting your imagination run wild with vibrant and enticing hues results in a bolder design that’s sure to energize you in the morning! Choose from an array of colors of glass subway tiles to add a dose of energy to your space.
Stacked subway tile accent wall
As a classic staple in kitchens and bathrooms, stacked subway tiles are also a fantastic option for accent walls in just about any area of the home. This contemporary selection is pretty much a no-brainer for creating an accent wall that easily becomes the focal point or emphasizes a striking feature within the room.
Add interest to an otherwise bland foyer, bring a subtle but eye-catching pop to a neutral living room, or accentuate the look and feel of your fireplace surround. Whatever your design intentions, straight set tiles are a sure-fire way to add visual intrigue and ever-attractive appeal to wall surfaces.
Jacy Painter Kelly Interiors used our eye-catching Mallorca Black ceramic subway tiles for this black and white contemporary bathroom with a horizontal stack backsplash accent wall.
Some trends come and go quickly, while others manage to last for a while. The stacked tile trend? This one is around for the long haul.! Whether you fancy something subtle or desire a bolder finish, Tile Club offers a range of subway tiles to create a memorable look in any area of your home.