Kitchen Metro Tiles: 15 Ideas to Update Your Walls

Looking for Metro Tiles for your kitchen walls? Look no further. We’ve collated the perfect roundup of inspiration and ideas or the much revered metro brick tiles. They’re the perfect choice for a timeless look in many modern kitchens, and a great choice in kitchen wall tiles.

In this post we’ll look at the variety of metro wall tiles available for your kitchen decoration or renovation project. Let’s dig in.

Metro Kitchen Tiles: The Contemporary Look for Every Kitchen Wall

Image from Walls and Floors

Clean and contemporary yet stylishly retro, metro tiles or subway tiles brings a sophisticated and understated style to any wall. You might even know them as underground tiles.

The Metro Tile, or Subway Tile as it is also known, was named after its origins of the underground stations of London and New York in the early 1900s.

Known for its narrow brick-like appearance, this tile was frequently used in prisons, hospitals and other municipal buildings due of its practicality; it was easy to clean and its white reflective appearance made the most of the light in darker spaces

However, for a tile once used for convenience and function, for many, the purpose of this new addition is not function but style. Due to this growing trend, the popularity of the metro kitchen wall tile is in resurgence.

Image: London Tiles

Used exclusively for walls, this practical brick tiles look can be used to compliment every interior design style, from industrial urban chic to traditional country cottage. Their timeless appeal works brilliantly in spaces of all sizes, and because they are so easy to clean and often appropriately sealed, they are ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, porches, hallways and conservatories.

Kitchen, Bathroom or Living Room?

Tiles from Walls and Floors

Regardless of where they might be found, metro tiles bring a certain level of sophistication to any environment.

Today, Metro Tiles, are not just limited to the white glossy standard from before, but also come in a wide variety styles to choose from; the design can be as easily be as bold as it can be understated.

However, when it comes to choice, this variety applies to size too: these include smaller sizes more convenient for the kitchen, such as the splash-back, behind the cooker or the sink. While traditionally intended for smaller spaces, with the average size of 10cm x 20cm, this tile is today used in spaces wide and large.

Due to this newfound flexibility, there are now many ways in which metro tiles can be used to create your ideal design.

White or Colour: Kitchen Metro Tiles

Arguably, the white Metro Tile remains the most popular, as it works well to reflect light and add texture to a room without overpowering its overall design.

With a range of colours available, do not be afraid to experiment. A combination of both white wall tiles and black tiles can create a look that is both monochrome and elegant, whereas more vibrant colours can elevate the atmosphere in any hallway or room.

Grey metro tiles are incredibly easy to use and becoming more and more popular.

On the other hand, pastels such as duck-egg blue offer a hint of understated design.

However, in considering these choices, never forget the grout; often the simplest changes to any look can be achieved using a quality grout product.

Metro Tiles Kitchen Ideas – Flat vs Bevelled

Image from Walls and Floors

Originally, Metro Tiles were flat as they were easy to install and maintain.

Over time, however, the design has evolved to a bevelled-edge tile, facilitating both depth and texture, ideal as kitchen tiles. For your own home design, the choice really is yours.

On the other hand, flat tiles create an edgy, on-trend effect; you can even create your own design (herringbone pattern perhaps) or artwork by organising your tiles and using different colours. Look at some of the underground stations in famous cities for inspiration.

Bevelled-edge tiles bring a softer more complete look. This choice combined with the assurance of a quality tile provider make the metro tile a flexible choice for a range of design ideas.

How To Use Metro Tiles in a Kitchen

Metro Tiles from Original Style

There are lots of ways to use your metro tiles, in a kitchen and beyond, for example. Add metro tiles as a kitchen splashback, using coloured grout and more. You can even use them for floor tiles. 

Metro tiles in a kitchen in particular, look great laid out in a brick-style as this naturally compliments their traditional shape, but do not rule out other layouts.

A herringbone pattern, where the tiles are laid in interlocking L-shapes, is an extremely popular choice destined to impress. While considered uncontemporary by some, the ability of quality-sourced subway tiles to match your most daring of designs makes the metro tile a flexible choice to make.

Overall, due to the ceramic tile material and easy maintenance, metro tiles or even metro effect tiles make a great choice for a variety of rooms and concept designs, from the wall to the floor.

From their early practical origins that broaden their use more than ever before to the variety of styles for every mood and setting, the metro tile has become a tactical advantage to the buyer seeking the balance between style and durability.

Metro Tiles Kitchen Inspiration: Find the Perfect Tile

There is a vast range of metro tiles suitable for a kitchen (and we may even show you how to use them in other rooms too!) so we’ve found some of our favourite to help you decide.

White Metro Tiles

White metro tiles from Walls and Floors

Everyone loves using white tiles in their kitchen, and this includes the humble metro tile. Use in this way, with a herringbone pattern and dark grout they add a contemporary touch to any kitchen. Paired with dark blue walls, blue cabinets and a stone effect floor they are incredibly striking.

Natural Stone Metro Tiles

Natural stone metro tiles from Hyperion Tiles

If you’re looking for more rustic styles in your kitchen, these porcelain tiles from Hyperion make a wonderful display, particularly on a large kitchen wall.

Using natural materials combined with kitchen cabinets is perfect in a country cottage home, yet works equally as well in a new build.

Metro Tiles for Small Spaces

Little Italy Rose Tile from Baked Tiles

Whilst white subway tiles are the epitome of style and look perfect in a small kitchen, the reflective sheen on these herringbone tiles help make a small kitchen feel bigger. Always opt for products that enhance the space and don’t be afraid of using colour, just remember your proportions and don’t overcrowd your small room.

Utility Room Metro Tiles

Image via Tile Mountain

The utility room is often overlooked but adding a metro tile to the walls around your sink and worktop area adds a classic yet contemporary look to this hard working room. 

Contemporary Metro Tiles

Image via Walls and Floors

If you love vibrant colour schemes, then you’ll adore this blue, coral and monochrome design above. The pale metro tile, in a herringbone pattern highlights the bright blue kitchen cabinets perfectly.

I’m also a fan of green tiles used in this way, particularly with sage green kitchen cabinets

Feature Splashback

Image: Walls and Floors

Image: Walls and Floors

Using feature tiles as a splashback in your kitchen, is both practical and stylish and one that the subway tile is a perfect example. 

Creative Metro Tiles

Image Walls and Floors

Use your metro tiles to create a wow factor in your kitchen or your bathroom. Contrast the colour to your kitchen cabinets, or if you love a white kitchen, add a splash of texture or sheen in your wall tiles to create the same effect, with more subtlety.

Where can metro tiles be used?

You can use your metro tiles in any room in the home that needs protection from water. They’re a classic, timeless choice that looks good used as outdoor tiles (I have them on the walls in my open porch, in a wet room, and on a bathroom wall. I particularly like them in a small bathroom where their neat proportions suit the space exceptionally well. 

Image: Tori Murphy

Image: Hyperion Tiles

What is the difference between subway and metro tiles?

Nothing. It’s just a different way of saying the same thing – both terms refer to the same product. 

Are subway tiles outdated?

Let’s face it, a trend is only outdated if you don’t like it. Yes, there are different types of wall tiles to use in a kitchen now, but the metro tile is never going out of fashion.

If you love this post then do check out 7 Ways to Decorate with Wall Tiles and Hexagonal Wall Tiles for the Kitchen

Then don’t forget to save this image to your Pinterest board to find again later


Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Leah Malschinger
    September 30, 2017 / 9:19 pm

    I’m a big fan of the gloss subway tiles, have seen them on a kitchen wall in black and they were amazing. A bold, strong look that doesn’t overpower other room features.

  2. Nick Davison
    October 2, 2017 / 6:12 pm

    I normally prefer natural slate or granite wall tiles, but i have to admit that those subway tiles look really nice as a back-splash in the kitchen with beech counter tops.

  3. Magda
    October 4, 2017 / 12:19 am

    I’ve got metro tiles in my kitchen, they look so cool! Great post, thanks for sharing! šŸ™‚

  4. Thomas Albert
    October 4, 2017 / 7:52 am

    Really a great advice on selecting tiles. These tiles really look great and can increase the aesthetic appeal of any home. Thanks for sharing such innovative and informative idea.

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