How to lay metro tiles and ways to install subway tiles
Advice, Interiors

10 Ways to Lay Metro Tiles

10 Ways to Lay Metro Tiles

Metro tiles date back to the early 20th century, first created for the underground in major cities such as London, New York, and Paris. What started as a practical wall surface for public spaces has now become an iconic style for homes, seen in kitchens and bathrooms alike. This small format subway tile is now widely available in different colours and styles and can be laid in various layouts. In this post we’re sharing 10 ways to lay metro tiles to elevate any space - whether used as a kitchen splashback or bathroom wall tiles.

1. Horizontal Brick Bond

Let’s start with the classics. Quite possibly the most famous way to lay metro tiles, a horizontal brick bond, also known as a running bond or stretcher bond, is a common pattern used in tiling whereby the metro tiles are staggered by a half in length - a common yet timeless laying format. Seen below, the Primrose Smoke gloss metro tiles offer a neutral grey in a consistent shade and glossy finish.

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metro tiles horizontal brick bond

2. Horizontal Stacked Bond

Another classic, but with a slightly modern touch, a horizontal stacked bond is where each tile sits directly on top of another with no staggering of the grout joints - a laying format that works well with both matt and gloss metro tiles. The Pastello Peony gloss brick tiles are a lovely example of a stacked horizontal bond, achieving a simple but effective look.

Metro Stacked Horizontal Bond

metro tile ideas gloss pink metro tiles

3. Vertical Brick Bond

As the name suggests, this is the same ½ brick bond but flipped vertically which can give a very different look and feel. Laying metro tiles vertically can instantly create a more contemporary style, working well with statement metro tiles whether in colour or shape. The Sundae Coconut Décor metro tiles are a soft white in a curved ‘O’ tile. These can be used with a wide array of grout colours to either match or contrast the tile or for a pop of colour.

metro tile patterns white metro tiles

4. Vertical Stacked Bond

A popular way to lay metro tiles currently is using a vertical stacked bond. This laying format achieves very clean grout lines and is particularly effective with matt or textured tiles for a modern and contemporary bathroom tile scheme. The Orkney Terracotta is a favourite for its on-trend terracotta colour, matt finish, and ability to work with plainer tiles, or combined with terrazzo tiles for a retro style.

Metro Stacked Vertical Bond

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5. Vertical Herringbone

Herringbone tiles have always been a wonderful format to enhance any wall tile and they seem to be having their moment with a resurgence of the herringbone tile look. The most familiar example of achieving this format is with a vertical herringbone whereby the tiles are angled at 45 degrees, creating a linear upward pattern. The Nori Forest metro tiles carry varying hues of green in a high gloss finish, offering a moody bathroom or kitchen wall tile.

ways to lay metro tiles green herringbone tiles

Metro Vertical Herringbone

6. Horizontal Herringbone

Another method of laying herringbone tiles is horizontally, which follows the same way of the tiles being installed at 45 degrees but creating a running pattern across. Although it is simply rotating the direction of the herringbone, this is highly effective to give a different feel. Opt for the Orkney White matt metro tiles for an understated but contemporary look or choose bolder and brighter coloured metro tiles for a statement bathroom.

Metro Horizontal Herringbone
white metro tile herringbone tiles

7. Diagonal Herringbone

The final round up for ways to lay herringbone tiles is a diagonal herringbone, although less common, a diagonal herringbone can really add interest to a bathroom tile scheme. Instead of a linear or arrow design, this creates more of a staggered step effect with every metro tile sitting horizontally or vertically next to each other. The Zellige Grey metro tiles offer a high gloss Zellige style tile in a classic grey hue.

ways to lay metro tiles grey herringbone tiles

Metro Diagonal Herringbone

8. Double Weave

The double weave pattern is a metro tile laying trend we love for its wonderful ability to add a creative and decorative feel to the simplest of spaces. Inspired by basket weave tiles, majority of classic metro tiles work perfectly with this format whereby the length is double the width, meaning the tiles can be laid vertically and then horizontally in pairs. The Arta Rosewater is a delicate glazed pink tile with a handmade, artisanal feeling, with the dimensions of the tile enabling an effortless double weave pattern.

how to lay metro tiles basket weave double weave tiles
how to lay metro tiles basket weave double weave tiles

9. Horizontal Third Bond

Concluding the 10 ways to lay metro tiles, a third bond is very similar to a brick bond, but as the name suggests, the tiles are staggered by ⅓ rather than ½. The Pastello Pistachio in a matt finish works effectively as a third bond, with its variation of green tiles blending beautifully. 

metro tile inspiration green brick tiles

metro tiles third bond tiles

10. Vertical Third Bond

Finally, the third bond laying format can also be used vertically for a more modern look, creating straight linear lines. The Zellige Blue is a pastel blue glazed tile adding a playful pop of colour to contemporary bathroom spaces.

metro verticle third bond
how to lay metro tiles blue gloss metro tiles