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Subway Tile Layout Patterns

subway tile layout_featured image

Subway tile is definitely a staple in the design world. From its beginning in the subways of New York City over 100 years ago, this stylish design element is a favorite trend of classic beauty. With numerous color options, sizes, and textures, subway tile is perfect in residential and commercial applications. Of course, options for subway tile aren’t limited to just sizes and colors, there’s also the layout to consider. Subway tile can completely transform a space, and there are so many patterns to consider!

Offset Brick/Running Bond:

Inspired by the original layout in the subways of New York, this is the most traditional and popular way to layout subway tile. The center of each tile is lined up with the edge of the tile above it. This pattern also works great with square tile.

(Image Credit: Liz Marie)

1/3 Offset:

Similar to the regular offset, the bricks are offset by one-third of the width of the tile above or below. This is great if you like the traditional offset, but want something a little different. This pattern elongates the space and creates diagonal lines. It’s great to use with bigger tiles.

1/4 Offset:

The 1/4 offset is a twist on the 1/3 offset, that breaks up the diagonal lines of the 1/3 offset. It has a unique randomized effect that is both artful and orderly. One row is offset by 1/4 the width of the tile, and the next is offset by half (like a running bond), alternating as you go.

(Image credit: Vintage Revivals)


Herringbone is a beautiful way to add movement to your space. It’s a little more daring, but another classic layout option.

(Image Credit: HGTV)

Diagonal Herringbone:

Consider turning the herringbone pattern just slightly to give your space a completely different look.

(Image Credit: Design Sponge)


Turning a herringbone pattern perpendicularly gives it a more traditional appearance, yet still has the visual interest of the classic herringbone pattern.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

Vertical Offset:

For a modern application, consider using a vertical offset. It’s linear design can help elongate smaller spaces, and it’s contemporary design is a fun, fresh take on the traditional offset.

(Image credit: Ashley Lauren Studios)

Vertical Stacked:

The vertical stacked layout gives a modern and linear visual to the room. It’s a little more contemporary, and can visually add height to a space.

Horizontal Stacked:

Another great option for modern applications. The straight lines create a contemporary aesthetic.

(Image credit: Ashley Lauren Studios)


Reminiscent of a weave pattern, the crosshatch offers a very unique look to the space. Use a darker grout to really enhance the pattern, or a lighter grout for a more subtle look.

(Image credit: CaitlinWilson)


Chevron is another great way to add visual interest to a room. For a bold statement, try various colors and darker grouts. This is such a playful pattern with numerous options.


Offset Joint – Diagonal

For something different, but not too different, turn your traditional offset joint 45 degrees for a diagonal design. It creates clean, crisp lines.

Whatever layout, tile size, or color option you choose, South Cypress can help you with your next project!

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