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Subway (Tile) Is Leaving the Station: 8 Cooler New Looks for the Kitchen, Bathroom, and Beyond

| May 4, 2018

When a design detail works, homeowners tend to stick with it. Such is the case with subway tiles, those ubiquitous, affordable, 3-by-6-inch glazed ceramics that started off in actual tunnels beneath New York City and then migrated to every single kitchen and bathroom in America.

This classic, neutral pick might never go out of style. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t starting to feel a little tired.

“You’ll know that a tile has run its course when it becomes the least expensive option at Home Depot,” notes Justin Riordan of Spade and Archer Design Agency in Seattle. “I can’t tell you how many flips I’ve walked into over the past year and said, ‘Oh look, white subway tile.'”

So what now? Designers say it’s time to change things up—and homeowners are getting on board.

There’s a whole wide world of tile out there—beyond the subway—just waiting to be installed. Here are eight trending tile designs that’ll shake up your aesthetic.

1. Moroccan flair

Moroccan designs can transport you a world away.

Moroccan design is having a moment, thanks to homeowners who are tired of playing it safe, reports Darla DeMorrow, author of “Organizing Your Home With Sort and Succeed.”

Known for its trellis or ironwork patterns, colorful Moroccan tile can spice up your bland bathroom or vanilla kitchen, adding an exotic flair that makes you feel like you’ve been whisked away to a foreign land.

“This is usually an all-over repeating tile that features the lightness and curves of decorative ironwork,” DeMorrow explains. “And it’s a design that works well when it’s painted on a backsplash or on stair risers, as well as an all-over treatment on walls and floors.”

2. Square tile with darker grout

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