Backsplash subway tile in Kalamazoo and Schoolcraft, MI from Wenke Flooring & Design

The New Subway tile

The white 3x6 subway tile had its reign over Kitchen design for a long time. Since about 1920, the look has been a trendy choice. But, the Subway tile exploded in popularity in the last decade or so. We were putting subway tiles in showers, backsplashes, and dog washes. Subway tiles offer a traditional look that fits everyone’s pallet.

However, at the beginning of 2022, a new look captured homeowners' eyes. Designers have begun adding more color and character to spaces by choosing a tile with a hand-crafted look and much more variation. Some brands are offering styles that may have 4-10 different shades of the same color in a box.

These new “hand-crafted” tiles come in a variety of shapes and colors. 4x4 is a very popular style. Or they may take on long thin shapes like a 2x8 or a 2x10. Most commonly, 4x4s are installed straight set, meaning the squares are stacked right on top of each other. When using a size such as a 2x8 or a 3x12, we have recently
seen those being installed vertically. The grouts being paired with these tiles are generally a complementing color to not draw attention to the grout. This is a contrast to what we saw with traditional subway tiles, the most common grout color that accompanies a subway tile is black or white.

Tiles are being used on backsplashes, and in showers. Blue, greens, and off-white are popular colors we have recently been working with. They come in both glossy and matte finishes. Overall, we have seen customers gravitating to tiles that have much more character to them. The customer is straying away from the uniform look of a subway and moving towards tiles with more character.