Great Ways to Include Vertical Subway Tile in Your Remodel

Great Ways to Include Vertical Subway Tile in Your Remodel 1

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Subway Tile History

In this post we will show you some great ways to include vertical subway tile in your remodel but let’s look at history first! Did you know the term “subway tile” wasn’t randomly invented?

In fact, rectangular ceramic tiles were created specifically to be used in the New York City subway system in the early 1900s.

They are clean, have that minimal look, and are rather versatile. So next time you are in New York, jumping on the train, look around, and you will see thousands of tiles making up the walls of each metro station.

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After being used exclusively in NYC subways, they transitioned to home design in the early ’20s and have maintained their popularity ever since. The most wonderful part of using subway tiles is the unlimited number of patterns you can create using different layout styles and colors.  One of the best parts about subway tile is that they’re versatile in the way that you can set them. Chevron, herringbone, horizontally or vertically, you name it, creative list goes on. 

While the horizontal, offset pattern has been used for decades in public & residential settings, vertical tile has taken the design world by storm over the last few years. 

Benefits of Laying Tile Vertically 

What happens when you use tiles vertically? For some of us, it will feel very unusual, but I would argue that vertical tile are by no means a new trend. It has been around as long as we can all remember, but it has definitely gained popularity in the past three years.

Using vertical subway tile allows you to create an optical illusion. This tiling layout is specifically suitable for wider kitchen and bathroom space with relatively less height. 

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Here are three main vertically design tile layouts: 

  1. Vertically Stacked 
  2. Vertical Stack, Offset Vertically (standing brick pattern)
  3. Vertical Stack, Offset Horizontally

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Always use vertical subway tile in tight spaces to draw the eye upward, to the sky, creating the illusion of higher walls and taller ceilings, or just because you desire a bold new look.

If your living room has a low ceiling, you can place vertical subway tile around a fireplace and it will create an elongated feel. The entire room will be affected by the placement of the vertical tiles. The vertical element adds some new unique dimensions to a smaller space.

vertical subway tile around fireplace

Vertical Tile in your Kitchen, Bathroom, and Living Room 

We went with Mercury Mosaics 3 x 12 subway tile for the backsplash in our Tonka Town Treasure project. Hand-cut, handmade, and painted custom tile, our favorite! Before the vertically stacked tile, this wall was covered in upper cabinets, and now, with open shelving, it gives the illusion of endless space.

If you have an open shelf area as part of your kitchen design, vertical tiles will look incredible behind them. In this setting, they can help your kitchen feel taller and it will be a game changer. 

Regardless of the shelving, using vertical tile as a backsplash behind your sink area, will always be a winner and make the room feel larger.

Vertical Tile, Stacked Offset 

verticale stacked tile

vertical subway tile from Tonka town treasure

Bathrooms are the best spaces to utilize vertical tiles, because they can bring the most pop. Most of us would agree that bathrooms are not large rooms. Using vertical tiles inside a shower stall can expand the feel of that space.

Vertically Stacked

vertical subway tile in shower

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If you like us, enjoy that nature feel, green could be a wonderful option. It is soothing, pleasant to look at and creates calming atmosphere. 

This vertical stacked wall tiles bring an appealing look to this bathroom and adds elegance and personality. 

green vertical subway tile from black lake

Adding vertical stacked tile can be a bold design decision, but we can safely say in any application that we’ve done it with, we’ve been more than thrilled with the results, as have our clients. 

So, our hope for you – take that leap of faith and set your tiles outside of the standard way, and consider a vertical stack pattern for your next remodel. 

c2s Projects Showcasing Stacked Subway Tile

How to Tile in a Weekend Video Tutorial


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