Feb 20, 2022 | Anoushka's Blog, Interior design and decoration

Just before Christmas I wrote about tile design on the blog. This was more about how to get a look with your tile selections and how to pair tiles with each other. What I’ve been doing a lot of over the past few years is taking a simple tile and creating a pattern with it. This is a lovely way to create interest and texture without committing to a heavily patterned tile that you might regret 5 years down the track.

What do I mean by creating tile patterns? It could be as simple as taking a classic subway tile or a more modern larger subway and stacking it, or creating a herringbone pattern, or subway, or even basketweave. There are quite a few options that in themselves can create very different looks. Here’s how: 

Stacked (horizontally or vertically)

This is a very simple application that delivers on a more contemporary aesthetic. Stacking the tiles in straight lines either horizontally or vertically depending on the space can take a classic subway to another level. I like the handmade subway tiles as they tend to be irregular, however for a super modern look choose the smooth machine pressed tiles.

Glenhaven project: Stacked vertical splashback tile in laundry


Probably one of the most timeless applications for a subway style tile, and this pattern has become so popular over recent years. Something to be aware of is that you need more tiles as there is more wastage and also more costly for the tiler to lay for you. But it’s worth it!

Source: Pinterest Herringbone format subway tile

Classic Subway

If you choose to use the standard 150×75 subway tile you can create a very timeless look, this is great for a home with age and character. Some favourite colours are soft sage greens, light blues, white and warm greys. Stagger the install horizontally for that subway style.

For a more modern look choose an irregular rectangle/subway. Like these 500×50 white handmade tiles in this kitchen splashback. A super modern twist on a classic tile and install.

Rose Bay project: Classic subway tile format

Wahroonga project: Modern take on subway tiles


This is probably the most complex install of the four patterns. But very effective and I think can work in more a classic timeless and super contemporary interior. I like the regular geometric pattern this creates really make the most of the repetition of the square. You can use 3 tiles to create the square (as per below) or 2 for a smaller pattern repeat.

A word on grout choices. It’s important to think about your grout colours. You either want the grout to blend in with the tile or contrast to create a punchier patter effect. That may be a black grout on a white tile or a light grout on a darker tile. It’s also popular at the moment to use coloured grouts such as blues and greens.

Happy desinging!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This