Design Decisions

What Grout Color Should You Choose for Your Tile?

So much time is put into picking out the perfect tile for our bathrooms and backsplashes, but we tend to overlook the grout. Sometimes we even wait until the installation process to start looking at what grout color to use. Henry and I were often rushing around making hasty decisions about our grout due to not being prepared.

There are several factors to consider when choosing what grout color you should go with. You should consider things like the location, pattern, and undertones. It is also very important to think about what overall look you want or are trying to achieve.

Are you going for a subtle look or do you want a lot of contrast?

Let’s take a look at some things that may help you decide on what might be the best grout color for your tile project.

Tile Location

You’ve probably heard the term “location is everything” when it comes to real estate. I think the same can be said about tile. For us, whether the tile is located on the floor or wall, plays a big part in our grout choice.

In one of our houses, we decided to do white grout on the bathroom floor. It looked so good with the Carerra Marble tiles. But after a few months of use, the grout wasn’t looking so great anymore. Turns out white grout can start to look pretty dingy even if you seal it.

Because of this, we have rarely used white grout on floors since. If we are going for a lighter look, we typically use a light warm grey grout.

As you can see here, we went with this look in our upstairs bathrooms. We chose the Whisper Valley mosaic tile from Jeffrey Court. This tile is very light in color. So we chose a warm gray grout to maintain the overall light and airy feel without losing the hexagonal pattern of the tile.

Another location you may want to avoid using white or a very light grout is in the shower. Soap scum and hard water can make your grout look dirty very quickly.

I’m not saying to never use white grout on floors but to keep in mind that more work will be involved in keeping your grout looking clean. After all, we did use white grout in our laundry room. More on that below.

Pattern

Another big thing to consider when choosing your grout color is the pattern of your tile. Do you want to accentuate the pattern or downplay it?

Here’s what we normally do. The busier the pattern, the less contrast we create between the tile and grout color. For example, in our master bathroom, we used a mosaic tile called Crystal Canyon from Jeffrey Court and a warm gray grout. This makes the pattern more subtle and creates the overall look we wanted for our bathroom floor.

For larger tiles, we like to accentuate the pattern. For example, in our laundry room, we used a 4×16″ honed Basalt tile from Jeffrey Court with white grout. The contrast between the white grout and the dark gray tile in this situation really makes the herringbone pattern pop without being overly busy.

You can see another example below in our butler’s pantry. We used a standard white subway. To make the staggard brick pattern really stand out, we chose pearl gray grout.

Undertones

Above I’ve discussed color regrading how light or dark you should go with your grout, but what about actual “color”? We don’t typically use a lot of colorful tiles, but if you do, you probably don’t want to mix undertones.

For example, if you are using a tile that is blue-gray and you want to use a gray grout, choose one that has a cool undertone. Remember that cool is blue, and warm is yellowish/brown.

Another example would be to use warm gray grout with a creamy subway tile.

Colorful tiles can be fun, but keep in mind that the more colorful your tile, the more important it is to choose the right grout color.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Kim

    Thanks for all the info. I always find it valuable. I love the rug you chose for your master bathroom (top picture). I saw on Instagram that you indicated it was from Wayfair. I have been endlessly searching for this one. Can you share the ink or name of the rug along with the size you choose?

    June 16, 2020 at 4:52 am
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