Our favorite tile layout pattern is getting a makeover, and we think you’ll be pleased with the results. In case you haven’t already heard the buzz, we’re referring to subway tile’s newest twist: stacked tile.
Stacked subway tile is one of the biggest contemporary tile trends right now. We think you’ll understand why after exploring the stacked subway tile pictures below.
Subway Tile: Stacked or Staggered?
First up, the question on everyone’s mind: Is stacked subway tile better than staggered subway tile?
Wondering what the difference between staggered subway tile and stacked subway tile is? Staggered subway tile (featured at the top of the above photo) is the traditional subway tile design, laid with a 50% offset. Stacked subway tile (at the bottom of the above photo) is a modern twist on this pattern that’s laid without an offset.
The stacked vs. staggered subway tile debate has two clear winners. Both designs are incredibly attractive, popular options. However, these pros and cons of each may help you make your decision.
Pros of staggered subway tile:
- Traditional and timeless
- Vintage feel
- Visually stimulating
Cons of staggered subway tile:
- Emphasizes grout lines, especially with contrasting grout, which can be a plus when you desire added texture in a space
Pros of stacked subway tile:
- Ultra contemporary
- Clean and sleek lines
- Visually widens or elongates the space
Cons of stacked subway tile:
- Stacks can seem “boxy” but also offer different opportunities for installation creativity
In the end, the best subway tile layout for you depends entirely on your space and the design impact you want to make.
Looking to create a farmhouse vibe? We’d go with traditional staggered subway tile. A minimalist, no-nonsense look? In that case, stacked subway tile.
[Related: Everything You Need to Know About Subway Tile]
Stacked Subway Tile Designs
Is stacked tile the design for you? Let’s take a look at some of these popular stacked tile ideas.
Horizontal Stacked Subway Tile
As with staggered subway tile, stacked subway tile gives you the option to lay your tile either horizontally or vertically (or diagonally, but we’ll stick with the two main choices).
Horizontal stacked subway tile is closest to the classic subway tile design. If you want a more modern version of subway tile while still retaining the traditional subway tile feel, horizontal stacked subway tile is a great choice.
Additionally, horizontal stacked subway tile visually widens your application, making narrower spaces feel roomier.
Vertical Stacked Subway Tile
Another option is vertical stacked subway tile. Vertical stacked tile is the more contemporary option because it alters two of traditional subway tile’s characteristics (its offset and direction). Those looking for a trendy design are in good hands with stacked vertical subway tile.
Vertical stacked subway tile draws the eye upward and can visually elongate a space.
Mix and Match
Not sure if you like horizontal or vertical stacked tile? Use both! This bathroom wall shows how to effectively combine the different layouts, with some different tile colors and patterns adding additional variety.
Stacked White Subway Tile
White is the most popular color option when it comes to stacked tile. We’re not surprised, considering that both the original subway tile and the most popular subway tile designs today are white.
Stacked white subway tile offers multiple advantages.
On the one hand, using white for stacked tiles can help retain some of the vintage feel of traditional subway tile. White stacked subway tile also presents a clean and minimalist look in both color and layout, giving it a doubly contemporary edge.
These benefits may appear to be contradictory, but that’s just the versatility of subway tile. Check out the stacked white tile above to see what we mean.
[Related: Tile Color Psychology: How Your Tile Color Affects Your Mood]
Stacked Mosaic Tile
With stacked tile, as with everything else, size matters. We don’t mean that bigger is better, but that tile size plays an important role in shaping your design.
Stacked mosaic tile is a great example of this principle. This popular stacked tile design can be vertical or horizontal. What’s different is that the smaller tile size makes for more tiles and more grout lines, creating texture and the layout’s graphic look.
[Related: Mosaic Tile Ideas: Your Big Guide to Little Tiles]
Stacked Subway Tile Applications
This tile design looks great just about anywhere, but these are our favorite places to use it.
Stacked Subway Tile Backsplash
Backsplashes are probably the most common place to find stacked tile. Stacked tile backsplashes look great in both horizontal and vertical layouts.
This stacked subway tile backsplash uses slightly uneven, rustic-looking tile to soften the contemporary vertical layout. The result is a tile design that shows off the imperfect, handmade quality of the tile.
[Related: Guide to Kitchen and Bathroom Backsplash Tile]
Stacked Subway Tile Shower
Showers are another great place to utilize stacked tile. Vertical stacked subway tile showers are particularly popular to lend a lofty feel to a small shower area.
This vertical stacked tile shower is part of an incredibly successful bathroom renovation. Swipe right to see the transformation.
[Related: Choose the Best Shower Tile in 10 Steps PLUS 40 of Our Favorite Design Ideas]
Stacked Subway Tile Bathroom
An entire stacked subway tile bathroom is the natural next step for anyone who can’t get enough of their stacked subway tile shower. Compare the previous vertical stacked subway tile bathroom with this horizontal one to see which layout you prefer.
[Related: Your Complete Guide to Bathroom Tile]
Stacked Subway Tile Kitchen
What better place to show off such an impactful design than the heart of the home? A stacked subway tile kitchen is the height of contemporary design — especially if you add in some open shelving.
This vertical stacked subway tile kitchen opts for a matching grout color to let the tile texture do the talking.
[Related: Open Shelving Tile Backsplashes: Explore Your Options]
Explore More Stacked Subway Tile Pictures
You can find more stacked subway tile inspiration on our Pinterest. Then read our guide to subway tile to learn more about other modern twists on this classic tile design.