The Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Perfect Subway Tile For Your Home

May 15, 2024


As the name implies, subway tile was originally used to decorate subway stations, with 3”x6” rectangular tiles adorning the walls of New York City’s first station in 1904. Since then, the bright, reflective tiles, often placed in the iconic running vine pattern, have appeared in public institutions and private homes worldwide.

Simple, elegant, and easy to clean, subway tile has become as popular as mosaic tile and other backsplash materials for kitchens, bathrooms, and home areas.

Today, it comes in various colors, materials, and finishes and can be placed horizontally, vertically, or in a range of patterns to create your preferred aesthetic. How can you incorporate beautiful, functional subway tile in your home?


The makeup of your MSI backsplash tile is just as important as its appearance, if not more so. The right materials will deliver the function and durability you need, paired with the easy maintenance busy homeowners prefer.


Porcelain tile is an attractive option for upgrading backsplashes in your home, thanks to benefits like minimal porosity that offers hygienic appeal.

calacatta-gold-2x6-porcelain-subway-tile-Calacatta Gold Porcelain Subway

Additionally, porcelain tile can resemble a range of natural stone varieties, as with Calacatta Gold Porcelain Subway Tile, featuring a warm white background enhanced by stunning gold veining. Display it with countertops in a dark design like Marquina Noir.


Marble subway backsplash tiles elevate kitchen aesthetics with their classic elegance and natural veining, which makes them a popular choice for creating a sophisticated and inviting kitchen environment.

arabescato-venato-white-tile-4x12Arabescato Venato White Tile

Many popular kitchen designs feature a harmonious balance of bright and warm elements. Arabescato Venato White Tile in warm white and soft gray tones is ideal for pairing with white counters and pale birch cabinets. Durable marble backsplash tile delivers longevity and brings the beauty of nature into your home.


Famous structures from the Roman Colosseum to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles feature lovely and resilient travertine, a natural stone known for durability and stunning natural tone and texture.

tuscany-ivoryTuscany Ivory Subway Tile

Warm beige hues and rustic pitting are par for the course, and the lighter shades of Tuscany Ivory Subway Tile stand out against mahogany cabinets and counters in dark granite.


If you’re seeking non-porous tile for your backsplash, glass is a great solution that offers antimicrobial properties and ease of maintenance.

night-sky-subway-tile-2x6Night Sky Subway Tile

Our bold Night Sky Subway Tile, featuring agate-like designs in green, blue, and brown, adds intense visual interest to your interior design, especially with soft white and gray counters.


Whether you’re interested in intricate MSI mosaics or timeless subway tile, it’s important to consider the impact a finish can have on the overall look and feel of your interior design. Is glossy or matte better suited to your project and personal taste?

Glossy Finish

Polished and high-gloss tiles draw the eye and help to brighten home interiors by reflecting light. This type of finish will stand out next to matte surfaces and make any wall tile a focal point in your space.

renzo-sterling-3x12-glossy-subway-tileRenzo Sterling Glossy Subway Tile

It’s especially attractive in tonal designs, as with the soft, pale gray of Renzo Sterling Glossy Subway Tile in a bathroom featuring flat gray walls and gray-toned, wood-look flooring.

Matte Finish

Matte finish subway tiles provide a soft, understated look that complements this modern appeal, adding depth and texture to the design while maintaining a subtle and inviting atmosphere.

brickstone-taupe-2x10-matte-brick-subway-tileBrickstone Taupe Matte Subway Tile

With taupe and soft gray tones, Brickstone Taupe Matte Subway Tile is an ideal example, adding breezy tranquility to a chic bathroom space featuring heavy-grained, dark wood flooring and a midcentury-style vanity.

Popular Colors

Finding the right subway tile style for your home remodel depends on several factors. To begin, consider colors that suit your personal taste and strike a balance between trending and timeless appeal.


Bright Whites

There’s a reason why pristine white surfaces endure as a popular option for kitchen and bathroom spaces—they make any room feel bright, clean, and spacious.

ice-4x12-subway-tileIce Subway Tile

Capture this enduring aesthetic with classic Ice Subway Tile in cool white. These glossy glass tiles are stunning with white counter surfaces and black fixtures.

Moody Grays

Neutral gray tones remain a great choice to pair with cool or warm palettes, as they can transition between the two.

oyster-gray-subway-tile-2x4Oyster Gray Subway Tile

For a permanent addition like a subway tile backsplash, Oyster Gray Subway Tile in a uniform, medium gray tone offers the on-trend versatility to offset cabinets in rich, dark wood and expressive granite in white and brown shades.

Neutral Tones

Neutral hues are ideal for foundational design elements, allowing you to change your palette and style through colorful accessories.

aria-oro-subway-tile-2x4Aria Oro Subway Tile

With Aria Oro Subway Tile in soft beige and white, beige countertops, and white cabinets, you’ll enjoy a calming kitchen environment and opportunities to play with colorful appliances, dishware, and other accents.

Blue Hues

Subway tiles in shades of blue have surged in popularity for their vibrant splash of color and clean, classic look, making them ideal for spaces that blend timeless style with a modern, colorful flair.

marza-cobalt-subway-tileMarza Cobalt Subway Tile

Our Marza Cobalt Subway Tile is characterized by vibrant blue tones tempered by earthy brown markings. This eye-catching wall tile infuses your space with personality and charm, especially when paired with contrasting floori tile and fixtures.

Maintenance and Care

Cleaning and maintaining subway tile backsplashes depends somewhat on materials but usually only takes warm water and gentle soap paired with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. Make sure to scrub grout periodically and reseal natural stone regularly.

MSI Subway Tile Is Stunning and Versatile

With a range of durable materials, sophisticated finishes, and timeless color trends, you’ll find the MSI subway tile perfect for your next kitchen, bathroom, or other home upgrade.

Are you ready to start the process? Live chat with an MSI representative now, locate an authorized MSI dealer near you, or visit an MSI showroom.