Beveled vs. Flat Subway Tile: Choosing the Perfect Tile for Your Space

Beveled vs. Flat Subway Tile: Choosing the Perfect Tile for Your Space


When it comes to designing your kitchen or bathroom, choosing the right tile can make a significant difference in the overall look and feel of the space. Two popular options that often spark debate among homeowners and interior designers are beveled and flat subway tiles. Both types have their unique characteristics and advantages, but the decision ultimately depends on the style and ambiance you want to create. In this article, we will delve into the differences between beveled and flat subway tiles, exploring their features, installation, maintenance, and the visual impact they can have on your home.

What are Beveled Subway Tiles?

Beveled subway tiles are a classic choice that exudes timeless elegance. Unlike flat subway tiles, beveled tiles have a raised, slanted edge that adds depth and dimension to the surface. This beveled edge creates a charming play of light and shadow, giving the tiles a unique visual appeal.

Understanding the Beveled Edge

The beveled edge on these tiles is typically cut at an angle, usually around 45 degrees. This small slope around the edges sets them apart from their flat counterparts, providing a touch of sophistication to any space.

Common Sizes and Colors

Beveled subway tiles come in various sizes, from the standard 3×6 inches to larger formats like 4×8 inches and beyond. Additionally, they are available in a wide range of colors, making them adaptable to various design styles.

What are Flat Subway Tiles?

Flat subway tiles, also known as plain or smooth subway tiles, offer a more contemporary and minimalist look compared to their beveled counterparts. They lack the raised edge found on beveled tiles, resulting in a sleek and straightforward appearance.

Sleek and Modern Aesthetics

The flat surface of these tiles gives them a seamless and clean appearance, making them an excellent choice for modern and minimalist interiors.

Available Sizes and Colors

Similar to beveled tiles, flat subway tiles are available in various sizes and colors, providing plenty of options to suit different design preferences.

Pros and Cons of Beveled Subway Tiles


  • Timeless Charm: Beveled subway tiles have a classic appeal that can complement both traditional and contemporary spaces.
  • Visual Interest: The beveled edge adds texture and dimension to walls, creating visual interest in the room.
  • Hide Imperfections: The slanted edge can help hide minor imperfections in the wall surface during installation.


  • Dirt and Grime: The recessed edges may accumulate dirt and grime over time, requiring extra effort in cleaning.
  • Limited Styles: Beveled tiles may not be as versatile in creating ultra-modern designs.

Pros and Cons of Flat Subway Tiles


  • Modern Elegance: Flat subway tiles offer a sleek and modern aesthetic that suits contemporary interiors.
  • Easy to Clean: The smooth surface is easy to clean and maintain, making it a practical choice for busy areas.
  • Design Flexibility: Flat tiles can be easily incorporated into various patterns and layouts.


  • Less Texture: Flat tiles may lack the depth and texture that beveled tiles provide.
  • Visible Imperfections: Without the beveled edge, any imperfections in the wall surface may be more noticeable.

Installation: Beveled vs. Flat

Beveled Tile Installation Process

The installation process for beveled subway tiles is similar to that of flat tiles, with a few additional considerations due to the slanted edge.

Flat Tile Installation Process

Flat subway tiles are relatively straightforward to install, thanks to their uniform surface.


Cleaning Beveled Subway Tiles

Regular cleaning is essential to keep beveled tiles looking their best. A mild detergent and soft brush can be used to remove dirt and grime from the recessed edges.

Cleaning Flat Subway Tiles

Flat tiles are easy to maintain, and routine cleaning with a non-abrasive cleaner will keep them in pristine condition.

Visual Impact: Beveled vs. Flat Subway Tiles

Traditional Charm of Beveled Tiles

Beveled tiles evoke a sense of nostalgia and vintage charm, making them ideal for classic and farmhouse-inspired spaces.

Contemporary Appeal of Flat Tiles

Flat tiles offer a sleek and contemporary look, perfect for modern and minimalist design schemes.

Which Style is Best for Your Space?

Considering Your Design Theme

Choosing between beveled and flat subway tiles largely depends on the overall design theme you wish to achieve.

Evaluating Your Personal Preference

Ultimately, your personal preference and taste play a crucial role in the decision-making process.

Budget Considerations

Cost of Beveled Tiles

Beveled tiles, with their added dimension and complexity, may be slightly more expensive than flat tiles.

Cost of Flat Tiles

Flat tiles are often more budget-friendly and can be an attractive option for cost-conscious projects.

Mix and Match: Combining Beveled and Flat Subway Tiles

Get creative by incorporating both beveled and flat tiles to achieve a unique and visually stunning design.

Beveled vs. Flat Subway Tiles in Different Areas of Your Home

Kitchen Backsplash

The backsplash is a prominent area where you can showcase your tile choice, whether it’s beveled or flat.

Bathroom Walls

Both beveled and flat tiles can elevate the look of your bathroom walls, each offering its distinct style.

Popular Patterns with Beveled and Flat Subway Tiles

Herringbone Pattern

Create an eye-catching herringbone pattern using either beveled or flat subway tiles.

Brick Pattern

The classic brick pattern works beautifully with both beveled and flat tiles.

Durability and Longevity

Quality materials and proper installation contribute to the longevity of both types of tiles.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Options

Consider eco-friendly materials and sustainable practices when selecting your subway tiles.


Choosing between beveled and flat subway tiles is a matter of personal preference and design goals. While beveled tiles offer timeless charm and visual interest, flat tiles exude modern elegance and simplicity. Take into account your budget, style preferences, and the area you intend to tile before making your final decision. With the right choice, you can transform your space into a stunning and inviting haven.


Can I use beveled subway tiles in a contemporary-styled kitchen?

Absolutely! Beveled subway tiles can add a touch of vintage charm to contemporary spaces, creating a unique blend of old and new.

Are flat subway tiles suitable for a rustic-themed bathroom?

Yes, flat subway tiles can work well in a rustic-themed bathroom, especially if you opt for earthy tones and natural textures.

Do beveled tiles require special cleaning methods due to their edges?

Beveled tiles may require a bit more attention during cleaning to ensure the recessed edges stay free from dirt and grime.

Can I mix different colors of flat subway tiles for a more vibrant look?

Absolutely! Mixing colors can create a visually dynamic and captivating design.

Are there eco-friendly options for both beveled and flat subway tiles?

Yes, you can find eco-friendly and sustainable subway tile options made from recycled materials or natural resources.

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