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  • Writer's picture5 Star Tiling Ltd

What Grout Color Should You Choose for Your Tile?

Updated: Mar 31

Picking out new tile for your kitchen, bathroom or other space can be rather exciting. It’s easy to get caught up in looking at tile samples and the various colours, materials and patterns that are going to have a big impact in your home. But what often gets overlooked or downplayed is the selection of the grout color. And that shouldn’t be the case.

The colour of your grout can make or break the look of your tile. The grout color can create different effects or visually blend away. To help you choose the right grout colour for your tile scheme, here are some favourite looks you might want to consider, along with some general advice for virtually every tiling scenario you might encounter.

White Tile + White or Light Grout

When you look at this kitchen, your eye may first notice any number of things, but it’s likely not going to be the natural colour stone tile of the backsplash.

When white or light tile is paired with a matching white or almost-white grout, the lines between tiles visually disappear and the entire surface blends together. The result is a look that doesn’t tend to draw attention.

For this reason, this pairing is perfect when you don’t want your tile to be a feature, especially in interior spaces that already have dramatic flair elsewhere.

Keep in mind that a truly white or very light grout will not be forgiving when it comes to stains or discolorations, so it may take a little extra care or upkeep to maintain that pristine look.

This combo is also great for a small bathroom you want to make look as large as possible.

By keeping the walls light and seamless looking, you avoid visual breaks that could shrink your perception of the space, so the room feels big and breezy.

White Tile + Gray Grout

Once you start to add a little contrast between your tile and your grout, the shape of the tile is revealed much more clearly, and the grout itself forms a pattern out of the negative space.

Going darker or lighter with the grout, to add more or less contrast, will make the tile pop more and more.

A soft gray just a few shades darker than the tile is a popular choice because it highlights a tile pattern without shouting for attention. This is especially true for tiles in which the shape, rather than a color or print, is the main feature, such as the charming hexagon shown here.

It’s also useful for calling attention to an interesting layout of tiles in a plain shape, such as classic subway tile laid in a herringbone. The carefully selected pattern will be emphasized by the grout, so the extra effort on installation doesn’t go to waste.

Even in a simple brick pattern, a soft gray grout paired with white tile makes for a solid choice for traditional or transitional spaces. It brings a level of subtle richness that suits Shaker cabinets, veined stone counters, warm wood floors and other sumptuous finishes — and it’s timeless too.

White Tile + Black or Dark Grout

Once you start to go very dark with your grout, the grout itself and the patterns it creates start to become the visual focus over the actual tile.

Notice how much more pronounced this classic pattern appears than the earlier similar-patterned example. The clean lines formed between tiles really pop and give a lot of energy and life to the space.

Naturally, this high-contrast tile scheme is well suited to spaces in which black and white is the dominant look. It also works for industrial kitchens that eschew bold hues in exchange for metallic elements and rugged textures. The grout already brings a lot of architectural interest, so sparing use of accent colors will keep the space from feeling overloaded.

Black Tile

Keep in mind that when you’re dealing with black or very dark tile, the previous rules essentially are reversed.

Dark grout in a similar tone to a dark tile will create a softer look, while a light grout will bring out the tile pattern, adding even more drama. If you like black tile but want to soften the look, choose a charcoal shade for the tile and match it closely, rather than choosing a pure black and trying to soften it with white. The look will only be more vivid.

Colorful Grout

If you like the look of grout that pops but don’t want it to be as stark as black and white, consider using a tinted grout that carries a fun hue instead of the usual gray shades. This lcoastal blue grout adds

a soft marine feel to this bathroom, but it doesn’t visually advance too much, so the room stills looks big and bright.

Colorful grout works especially well when it picks up a hue that is found elsewhere in the space, so it feels harmonious to the palette instead of coming out of nowhere. It’s definitely not for everyone, but for those who want a unique look, it can add a lot of personality.

Just keep in mind that your grout is not nearly as easy to replace as a coat of paint, so you’ll want to be sure to pick a color you truly love and not a fleeting trend.

Like the idea of colorful grout but not the commitment? Try using a patterned wallpaper that echoes the shapes of a tile pattern and use a more basic scheme for the actual tiles themselves. This is a smart approach for a home you plan to leave in the short term. The next occupants can simply change the paper if they don’t share your tastes.

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On the next issue of our tile/ designed series we will be getting into Colourful Tile + Colorful Grout as well as mosaic hand-painted tile combinations

Thanks for reading and stay tuned

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