Is it Over for Metro Tiles?
Should we ditch the ubiquitous metro tile for one of its rivals, or is it a classic that’s here to stay?
The tile: Mosaic
Why it’s a contender: It’s interesting and tactile
For a more textured feel in your bathroom or kitchen, try small mosaics like these. Sheets of tiny tiles are a tactile alternative to the smooth metro, but work just as well to form a subtle backdrop to the rest of the room.
Hexagonal mosaics like these are popping up in many well-designed homes right now, and look great on both floors and walls.
Why it’s a contender: It’s soft and shimmery
If you love the pared-back look of metro tiles, but want an even softer feel, go for a glazed finish as seen here. The shiny, uneven surface reflects the light to give a soft, shimmery look – perfect for a tranquil, traditional-style bathroom or kitchen.
The square tiles here have been laid in a brickwork pattern, so the difference between this look and a metro tile is slight – an ideal compromise for diehard fans.
Why it’s a contender: It’s the same, but different
Another compromise for metro tile enthusiasts is this alternative layout. Flat, rectangular tiles have been positioned in a herringbone pattern to give them a modern edge. The effect is stylish and interesting, and the diagonal lines tie in with the patterned design elsewhere.
A layout like this would work well in a room with a herringbone parquet floor forming a pleasing imitation of the design on the wall.
Why it’s a contender: It livens up a surface
Geometrics are continuing to pop up frequently in home design on numerous surfaces, and tiles are no exception. The diamond shapes on this wall have been laid out in an interesting formation that would provide hours of fun for the owners – are they cubes, hexagons, flowers or stars?
The design is certainly more visually stimulating than a classic metro arrangement, but the tiles are subtle enough not to overwhelm the space.
Why it’s a contender: It creates elegant curves
Not keen on straight, sharp lines? Try one of the Moroccan tile patterns that are on the market. The beautiful shapes created by a layout like this look gentle and elegant. As an easy transition from metro tiles, use them as a monochrome splashback, as the homeowners have done here, or go for an all-white design to cover the walls.
If you’re feeling brave, choose a rich colour, such as cobalt blue or emerald green, to really make a statement.
These alternatives are all beautiful in their own way, and would look gorgeous in any home. But does that mean metro tiles have had their day? See if you agree with these 5 reasons for sticking with them.
1. They’re timeless
If you’re going for a vintage look in your bathroom or kitchen, tile design can make or break the room. Take this washspace, for example – the distressed wood cabinet, the vintage chair and artwork, and the old fireplace give the room a cosy, antique feel. The metro tiles are a perfect choice to make the bath area splashproof. Their timeless look doesn’t shout modern, so the feel of the room remains beautifully old-fashioned.
In contrast to the previous vintage look, this bathroom has a distinctly contemporary style. The black-framed shower door and industrial-style vanity unit are smart and on-trend.
Versatile metro tiles work with this look as perfectly as they do with an antique design. The black grout is the key to updating them, as the sharp lines replicate the other elements in the room.
Want some pattern on your walls, but not all over? Try teaming classic metro tiles with smaller areas of pattern, as in this scheme. The soft grey metros form a frame around two recessed shelves that have been tiled with an intricate design.
The pattern would have been too busy all over the walls, but the metro tiles calm it down and help to showcase the beautiful design in the recesses.
Metro tiles are also the ideal foil for a bold floor design. By tiling the walls with a simple brickwork formation, the owners of this kitchen have been able to let loose on the floor. The white walls form a blank canvas to highlight an expanse of stunning pattern.
The exposed brick walls in this bathroom give the room some architectural character, but would have looked too busy next to an elaborate tile design. The metros echo the brickwork formation on the exposed walls, and the blue tone brings out the warm terracotta in the brick.
What are your thoughts on metro tiles? Are they yesterday’s news, or do you think of them as modern classics that are here to stay? Share your opinions in the Comments section.