If you’re into tiling and home decorating, you’ll probably be familiar with the metro tile. This popular style is also known as the subway or underground tile, and is characterised by its narrow brick-like shape.

Unsurprisingly, Metro Tiles originated in the underground stations of London and New York, and as such, they boast a timeless appeal, while at the same time channelling both clean modernity and retro cool.

Metro tiles are used exclusively for wall spaces due to their small size (typically 10cm x 20 or 30cm), but are very versatile in all other aspects – in no small part due to the sheer number of styles and finishes available. They’re also incredibly easy to keep clean, which makes them perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.

If you’re considering incorporating metro tiles into your home décor, read on to find the perfect style for your needs.

Flat vs Bevelled

The original underground tiles were completely flat, making them easy to install and keep clean. Today, a classic metro tile like our Flat White Matt lends a raw, bold simplicity to a room, giving character to a white wall without overwhelming other features.

After their introduction in the undergrounds and subways of the UK and America, metro tiles began to take on a life of their own. The preferred style moved from being completely flat to having slightly bevelled edges.

At Tons of Tiles, we love the depth and texture that a slightly bevelled edge lends to the metro style, which is why we offer our standard Metro Tile in 15 different colours and finishes, including Sky Blue and Light Cream Gloss.

In both cases, the effect is clean, bold and sophisticated – but the bevelled metro style feels a little softer and more finished, while the flat metro style is more edgy and youthful.

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Matt vs Gloss

The difference between a matt tile and a gloss tile may seem subtle when you’re holding one in each hand – but it’s another matter when they make it to your walls.

Metro tiles with a gloss finish complete the clean, polished look of the tile. Metro tiles with a matt finish, on the other hand, have a more rustic, less refined appeal.

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Plain vs Patterned

Metro tiles are not typically patterned; however, we do offer two ranges which draw on marble for their inspiration – and to startlingly different effect.

The cleaner and more minimalist your space, the better suited it will be to a plain tile such as our Mini Metro in Victorian Green Gloss.

For rooms seeking a little more texture and warmth, there’s our gorgeous Verona Metro range. With a matt finish and a slight bevel, these stone-effect tiles blend modern precision with old-world charm.

Alternatively, there’s our Metro Stone Effect Tile, which boasts a deep bevel, a distinctive marble pattern, and an eye-catching, high-gloss finish. This is a tile that just oozes luxury.

Monochrome vs Colour

If you’re looking to channel a little 60s pop art vibrancy into your home, some of our black and white Metro Tiles could be the perfect addition. For a simpler, more contemporary look, there are our Metro XL Flat tiles in White Matt.

Of course, you could also choose to inject a little colour, whether it’s a warm Aubergine or a muted Duck Egg. Don’t forget that colour has its place in every home, and that a small area of tiling in a bright hue can be the perfect way to liven up a room.

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Kitchen vs Bathroom

The beauty of the metro style is that it looks at home in both kitchens and bathrooms – as well as conservatories, porches and hallways. All our metro tiles are suitable for use in bathrooms or wetrooms when appropriately sealed, and are glazed to prevent staining.

For a kitchen space, a style such as our Mini Metro Duck Egg Gloss Flat can be fantastically useful for "splashback" areas behind the sink or stove. Slightly smaller than the standard metro tile (at 7.5cm x 15cm), these tiles are particularly well suited to small areas.

The metro tile is also a welcome addition to bathroom spaces. For large wall areas that extend into a shower or along a bath, you could try our Metro XL range. Larger than the classic metro tile (at 10cm x 30cm) these tiles fill bigger spaces easily, and boast a clean, mature vibe. As standard, our XL tiles come glossed, so if you’re seeking a matt finish, check out our Metro XL Flat range. These 10cm x 30cm flat tiles come in both matt and gloss finishes.

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Brick vs Herringbone vs Straight Lay

When choosing your tile, it can be a good idea to bear in mind how you want to arrange them on your wall space.

Because of their distinctive shape, metro tiles are most often arranged in a brick layout, which is also referred to as a running bond. This is a simple but aesthetically pleasing style that is also well suited to uneven or imperfect surfaces. As the tiles don’t line up in a brick pattern, the imperfect nature of the wall behind is more easily obscured. It’s also fairly simple to lay, making it easy for you to do at home on your own.

The more style conscious, however, may want to opt for a herringbone pattern, one of the hottest trends for 2017. This is where pairs of tiles are set together in interlocking L-shapes. This style is more tricky to achieve, but the finished effect is impressively stylish.

To minimise your workload, consider using the herringbone style for smaller tiling areas – as you’ll see from our Microline range, a herringbone splashback with a zigzag outline can be a unique addition to a kitchen space.

The simplest tile layout of all is straight lay, where you place the tiles on top of one another. In aesthetic terms, this is usually better suited to square tiles, but it can look clean and classy with our larger metro tiles. As a bonus, it also reduces the number of tiles that will need to be cut!

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Getting Your Space Ready for Tiling

By this point in our buying guide, you’ll have decided on your dream metro tile style. (If not, you may want to go back and read it again!) Now you know what you want, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how you’re going to incorporate your new metro tiles into your space.

The first thing to do is to measure the tiling area. Take the dimensions of the total area in centimetres (by measuring length and width) and make a note of that number. Then take the dimensions of any areas within that space that cannot be tiled – these areas must be subtracted from the total area to give you the size of the tiling space.

When you have the size of your tiling space, add on 10% (you can do this easily by multiplying the number by 1.1). This will give you a number of extra tiles, allowing for wastage during the installation.

Using this number, refer to the size of your chosen tile, or tiles, and calculate how many you will need. For ultimate ease, you can do this directly on the Tons of Tiles product pages by simply entering your dimensions (with that added 10% on top).

Whether you decide to lay your metro tiles yourself, or call in help from the professionals, just remember to take your time planning. It’ll be worth the wait.

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Buy Mini Metro 7.5x15cm Tiles

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