How to Update Your Kitchen with Classic Metro Tiles

Article Written by Alison Davidson from Alison Adding Style

The humble Metro or Subway tile has been with us for many years, back to the start of the 20th Century in fact, when the world was changing dramatically. TheLondon Underground, New York City Subway and Paris Metro were all being built as part of a new and exciting world order at the start of a new century. Designers working on the new Underground wanted something new to express this, and the Metro tile was born. Typically made from ceramic and finished in white gloss, they are simple, hard-wearing, and light bounces off them giving a clean, fresh look. They carried on being used but jumped into the spotlight once more in the early 1990’s when people were converting lofts and other post-industrial buildings and wanted a simple and practical look. At that time you couldn’t go into a London kitchen without seeing a wall of white Metro tiles!


They have continued to evolve as all tiles have, but the versatility of them has made them a timeless choice - they can be laid in different patterns, colours can be mixed, they can have straight or bevelled edges, surfaces can be changed - to create a multitude of different looks. 

The classic Metro Brick White Gloss Bevelled tile. Here it has been laid in a vertical block pattern with white grout, so it’s simple but stylish. Thinner, white vertical tiles have been laid above it as a contrast, whilst keeping the white theme. It’s a classic use of the Metro tile.

White Metro Brick Tiles

Metro Brick White Gloss Bevelled Tile, 200 x 100mm, £14.99 m2

Tiles are great for bringing in a block of colour to a room and this kitchen splashback looks wonderful using the Poitiers Azure Blue Gloss tile, £49.99 m2 which is laid in a herringbone design, achieving colour and pattern. These tiles are longer and thinner than the ones above at 300 x 75 mm.

Azure Blue Kitchen Gloss Poitiers Tiles
Poitiers Azure Blue Gloss Tile - 300 x 75mm - £54.99 per m2


A similar look but these tiles have been laid in a brick design but vertically. Again they add a block of colour which enhances the pink kitchen units, and the vertical design gives them a totally different look. The tiles have an undulating finish which works well in a traditional kitchen.

Red Poitiers Bordeaux Tiles
Poitiers Bordeaux Gloss Tile, 300 x 75mm, £49.99 m2.


Mix up the colours for an individual style, again laid in a vertical block design, and using different shades of the same colour. The crackle-effect finish on the tiles gives them an aged look which would work well in a period property. They are also a smaller size – 200 x 65mm so would be a good choice for a small kitchen.

Purple Kitchen Wall Tiles

Dyroy Aubergine gloss tiles 200 x 65mm, £24.67 m2

Why not cover the entire wall with tiles? It makes it a whole lot easier to clean and it will stand the test of time. These Metro Brick tiles in Dark Grey Gloss 200x100 mm £15.99 m2 have a bevelled edge and have been laid in a random pattern, so although it’s all one colour, the bevelled edges and the pattern creates interest. Grey grout has been used for a complete look.

Dark Grey Metro Brick Tiles
Dark Grey Gloss Metro Brick Tile - 200 x 100mm - £14.99 per m2

There was a lot of interest at the tile trends trade show, Cersaie, in Bologna this year, in which designers were extending floor tiles onto the wall or onto a kitchen island. It’s a great way to make a statement of a kitchen island and to make it individual, as shown here with the Dyroy Green tile 200 x 65mm, £49.99 m2 being used on the island. The tile is then picked up on the far wall in Blue for a colourful look. Who said blue and green should never be seen?

Dark Grey Metro Brick Tiles
Dyroy Green Tiles - 200 x 65mm - £54.99 per m2

So that is our round up of the many uses of Metro tiles - adaptable for any style, they have stood the test of time and continue to evolve with emerging trends.

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