If you think that the metro tile trend is riding huge popularity now, it has been around for over a century, with its predecessor more commonly known as the subway tile. It is arguable whether this trend really went away to make a comeback, or in our view, it is merely “The Evolution of the Metro Tile”.

The once basic white, bevelled-edged tile has evolved into iconic pieces available in a rainbow of colours, with an array of finishes and edgings, in a host of oblong sizes. The versatility of Metro tiles is another consideration. Nowadays, there are options suitable for the use of interior and exterior transformations on both walls and floors.
Decobella is one of the first companies in South Africa to bring these new, multi-application tiles into the country.


2020 is the year of unique patterns and unconventional widths when it comes to tiling. With more colour options and sizes available in the metro tile selection, it is no surprise that their popularity is on the rise. Whether you use a single colour, multiple colours in a pattern or at random, contrasting or matching grout, a brick-like pattern or herringbone layout – your home will be your playground when making use of Decobella’s new range of Metro tiles.


The first 3″ x 6″ (75mm x 150mm) rectangular Subway tiles were installed by designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge, back in 1904 in the first New York subway station. These white, brick-shaped glossy tiles with their bevelled edges provided the perfect coverage for the walls in the underground subways as they were able to brighten these subterranean areas and proved easy to clean. After their use in the US subways, they made their way to the French metros. State-owned buildings, including hospitals, started installing subway tiles – they were stain-resistant, easy to clean and light-reflective. Because of these desirable properties, the use of subway tiles spilled over into the everyday kitchens and bathrooms and became a timeless trend.


According to IdealHome.co.uk metro tiles are here to stay, but they are taking on a new layout for 2020. Using them in a variety of basket-weave layouts, 45-degree herringbone and vertical patterns will make a room feel modern and fresh.

Trending is also the move to make use of multiple colours of the metro tiles inside an attractive pattern layout to create a focal wall or backsplash. You are primarily using your tiles to create a unique piece of art.


Traditionally subway tiles were only used on walls, whether a full wall application or splashbacks; however, Pinterest has shown a surge in using subway tiles on bathroom floors. The smaller version of this much-loved tile, in particular, can create a retro style in a bathroom paired with the perfect accessories. The use of more grout on a floor using smaller tiles allows for more grip, providing both style and safety, particularly useful in showers for instance.

While Decobella introduced their metro tile range with a 75 x 300mm tile, a size that remains the most popular in SA today, they have also introduced smaller sizes to speak to this ‘tiny trend’.

  • Both Le Lacche’s and Oxyd’s ranges are suitable for wall and floor use and come sized 61 x 370mm.
  • The Hamptons is a 65 x 130mm subway tile with a reverse bevel.
  • The Village selection boasts vibrant colours in an irregular edge metro flat version also sized 65 x 130mm.

A bigger bathroom often requires bigger tiles, so if you are in love with the subway trend having a range of sizes available to choose from provides the luxury of creating the same vision on a larger scale.

When it comes to the Modern (or not so modern) metro tile – Using one or multiple variations of these tiles can create a chic, contemporary look with a timeless appeal.