Subway Tile Patterns For Creative Installations March 30, 2020

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Subway tile has long been a fan favorite in homes and businesses for its ease of maintenance, hygienic properties, and timeless look. After first hitting the scenes in New York subway stations in the early 1900s, the traditional white 3×6 glazed ceramic quickly evolved with modern collections featuring a plethora of sizes, colors, finishes, and textures.

Alongside the limitless options to choose from, one of the most loved features of subway tile is the many different ways the product can be installed. From the traditional brick set to a trendy herringbone, Garden State Tile explores 7 different subway tile patterns for your home or business.

Brick Set White Subway Tile
Project by Amber Marie Interiors

Horizontal Running Bond/Brick Set

A horizontal running bond or brick set installation is the most popular style for subway tile, and also the most traditional. The pattern itself mimics classic brickwork, and is comprised of rows of tile that are laid horizontally at an offset with staggered joints. This customary option creates a dynamic visual that is safe enough to work in almost any room setting.

Horizontal Stacked White Subway Tile
Project by Robin Winter-Bailey Designs

Horizontal Stacked Subway Tile

Horizontal stacked subway tile features a clean linear pattern with rows of tiles perfectly stacked directly upon one another. The repetition in design creates a minimalistic, grid-like look that is most often seen in midcentury and modern designs .

Vertical Running Bond Blue Subway Tile
Project by Ellsworth Design Build. Photo by Atlantic Archives Photo.

Vertical Running Bond/Brick Set

Subway tiles that are installed vertically instead of horizontally give the allusion of higher ceilings – a nice visual trick when working with small spaces. Keeping the pattern at an offset still achieves the much-loved movement of the classic horizontal installation. However, the rotated design provides more of a more unique twist! 

Green Herringbone Subway Tile
Project by LS3P


The herringbone tile pattern is affectionally named after the herring fish due to the shape it mimics. The look is achieved by installing rows of v-shaped tile at alternating 45-degree angles. The result is a trendy, arrow-like look that is perfect for making a statement.

Blue Vertical Stacked Subway Tile
The BohoRosa House by LS3P. Design by Jenny Keenan Design.

Vertical Stacked Subway Tile

Much like the horizontal stacked pattern, the vertical stacked is perfect for achieving more contemporary designs with a clean, linear look. Keeping the stacks vertical rather than horizontal also helps to elongate the room. For a bit of drama, choose a darker grout selection paired with light tile. Or, keep it fun with a vibrantly glazed collection!  

Basketweave Subway Tile
Photo and Project by Caitlin Wilson Design

Subway Tile Basket Weave

Basket weave patterns created with subway tile are a modern take on a traditional favorite, rendering it a great choice for transitional spaces. This interlocking design comes together to create squares that run in alternating directions for an intricate, yet captivating, look.   

Horizontal Herringbone Tile
Project by Robin Winter-Bailey Designs

Horizontal Herringbone

The horizontal herringbone “swims” right to left instead of up and down, resulting in an even fresher take on an already trendy design. This pattern is perfect for wide walls and larger spaces to keep the eye moving throughout the room.

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