1904 gave birth to the official Subway Tile thanks to Architects  George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge.   Heins and La Farge are credited with Designing New York Interborough Rapid Transit Stations, better known today as the New York Subway Stations.

The Original 3×6 Subway Tile brought beauty, brightness and ease of care to an otherwise dark and unattractive, but necessary place.  Because of the Subway Tile’s simple but functional form and its penchant for being easy to clean, it made a fast transition into bathrooms, kitchens and commercial spaces in the 1920’s and 30’s.  Some would say the height of Subway Tile popularity, that is until its resurgence in the past decade.

Today the iconic 3×6 tile staple has morphed and changed with the times.  We have seen the classic idea of the Subway Tile updated by its dimensions — 2×8, 3×12, 4×10 and beyond.  The updated tile dimensions lend themselves to not only a classic brick pattern, but herringbone, 1/3 stagger and stacked formats as well as basketweaves and mosaics.  The options are endless and give clients the opportunity to create a space that is unique and wonderful. 

Along with the change in dimensions there is also myriad of colors such as beautiful blues, greens, greiges, ombres and watercolors that keep the look fresh; subway tile in materials such as clay, marble and cement also keep Subway Tile moving forward.

One of the biggest changes for Subway Tile are both textured and patterned formats.  We are seeing handmade looks with movement -not a perfectly flat tile, which makes it look expensive and a bit more traditional.  We are also seeing three dimensional designs that are very modern in various shapes and sizes in subtle colors but bold in their statement, as well as beveled and inverted styles that make a stacked pattern fascinating! 

Some have asked, is the Subway Tile on its way out?  We would reply that not only is the original white 3×6 a timeless classic that will never go out of style, but all of our updated and interesting subways give us so many  options that we will keep them as our go-to tile of choice, creating timeless looks for years to come.


If you are building a custom home or remodeling your current home in Wilmette, IL, Delafield, WI or Lake Geneva, WI, you should visit our showroom in the area.  Our showrooms are filled with marble, ceramic, porcelain, terracotta and cement tiles for uses on floors, walls, backsplashes, fireplace surrounds and more. We also offer custom tile and interior design services.  Our clients rely on us for interior design help when they build their custom home or are working on a remodel. Call any of our showrooms today for an appointment.