Herringbone vs Subway Tile: Choosing the Perfect Tile Pattern for Your Home

Herringbone vs Subway Tile: Choosing the Perfect Tile Pattern for Your Home

When it comes to interior design, every detail matters. One such detail that often requires careful consideration is the choice of tile patterns. Among the numerous options available, herringbone and subway tiles stand out as popular choices. In this article, we’ll explore the differences, benefits, and best uses of herringbone and subway tiles, helping you make an informed decision for your next home improvement project.

Understanding Herringbone Tiles

Herringbone tiles are characterized by their distinctive zigzag pattern. They are typically rectangular and can be laid in various orientations. The unique design adds a touch of sophistication to any space.

Why Choose Herringbone Tiles

  1. Elegance: Herringbone tiles exude an air of elegance and timeless beauty, making them ideal for upscale interiors.
  2. Visual Interest: The zigzag pattern creates visual interest and can serve as a focal point in a room.
  3. Versatility: They can be used on floors, walls, and even in kitchen backsplashes, providing flexibility in design.

Best Uses for Herringbone Tiles

  1. Living Areas: Herringbone tiles can elevate the aesthetics of living rooms and dining areas.
  2. Bathrooms: They add a luxurious feel to bathroom walls and floors.
  3. Entryways: Impress your guests with a stunning herringbone pattern in the entryway.

Subway Tiles: A Timeless Classic

Subway tiles are rectangular, like herringbone tiles, but they have a more straightforward, stacked layout. They are renowned for their timeless appeal.

Why Choose Subway Tiles

  1. Clean and Crisp Look: Subway tiles offer a clean and crisp appearance that works well in both traditional and modern settings.
  2. Reflective Properties: Their glossy surface can make a room appear larger and brighter.
  3. Easy Maintenance: They are easy to clean and maintain, perfect for busy households.

Best Uses for Subway Tiles

  1. Kitchens: Subway tiles are a kitchen staple, often used for backsplashes due to their ease of cleaning.
  2. Bathrooms: Their classic look complements various bathroom styles, from vintage to contemporary.
  3. Laundry Rooms: The ease of cleaning makes subway tiles a practical choice for laundry rooms.

Making Your Decision

Choosing between herringbone and subway tiles depends on your personal style and the atmosphere you want to create in your home. Consider the following factors:

Aesthetic Preference

Think about the overall look you want to achieve. Herringbone tiles lean towards luxury and sophistication, while subway tiles offer a timeless, clean appearance.

Room Size

For smaller rooms, subway tiles can create the illusion of space due to their reflective properties. In larger rooms, herringbone tiles can add an elegant touch without overwhelming the space.


Consider your lifestyle and how much time you can dedicate to tile maintenance. Subway tiles are easier to clean, making them a practical choice for busy households.


Herringbone tiles are often considered more upscale and may come with a higher price tag. Subway tiles are typically more budget-friendly.


In the battle of herringbone vs. subway tiles, there is no clear winner. Both tile patterns have their unique charm and practical advantages. Ultimately, your choice should reflect your personal taste and the specific needs of your space.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge about these two popular tile patterns, you can confidently make an informed decision for your home improvement project. Whether you opt for the elegance of herringbone or the timeless appeal of subway tiles, your space is sure to shine.


Are herringbone tiles difficult to install?

Herringbone tiles require precise installation due to their zigzag pattern, so professional installation is recommended.

Can I use subway tiles in outdoor spaces?

While subway tiles are primarily designed for indoor use, there are outdoor-grade options available for specific applications.

Do herringbone tiles work in a minimalist design?

Yes, herringbone tiles can complement minimalist design aesthetics, adding a touch of luxury to the simplicity.

What grout color should I choose for subway tiles?

White or light gray grout is a popular choice for subway tiles, creating a clean and classic look.

Are subway tiles outdated or still trendy?

Subway tiles remain a timeless choice in interior design, making them a versatile and enduring option.

Leave a Reply