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How To

How to Choose The Right Grout Color For Your Tile

By Lindsey

How to Choose The Right Grout Color For Your Tile

The color of your grout will significantly impact your overall design and is just as important in your decision-making process as choosing your tile color.

Grout color affects everything from the overall style of your design to the daily maintenance requirements of your installation, so be sure to take your time when considering your grout color options.


To help you get started, we've provided three of our most popular grout color styles below.

For more information on what grout type you should use, click here!
For more information on grout spacing, click here!

Style 1: Match Your Grout to Your Tile Color

If you want your tile to be the center of attention, and not necessarily the pattern, we suggest matching your grout color to your tile color. This will prevent the eye from being distracted from the pattern found within the grout line.

This style works well with neutral tile colors, especially white tile where you want the white to look fresh and clean. Keep in mind that a lighter grout color like white can potentially show more stains and will require more maintenance to keep it looking its best.

white triangle tile with matching grout color

Tile Shown: White Wash 4" Triangle // Design: OLA Austin // Photo: Lars Frazer

black bathroom tile with matching grout color

Tile Shown: Basalt 2x2 Sheeted // Design & Photo: Mango Street

white mosaic shower tile with matching grout color

Tile Shown: Calcite 1x6 // Design: Sarah Sherman Samuel // Photo: Zan Passante

black brick tile fireplace with matching grout color

Brick Shown: Black Hills // Design: Brasstacks // Photo: Erin Hassett

pink glass tile backsplash with matching grout color

Glass Tile Shown: Rosy Finch Gloss 4x4 // Design: Fireclay Tile

Style 2: Choose a Contrasting Grout Color

If you're looking to make a statement with your tile and grout, choosing a grout that contrasts your tile color will do the trick. The contrast between your tile and your grout color will emphasize the overall pattern and layout of your tile, creating a graphic focal point in your space.

blue hexite kitchen backsplash with white contrasting grout color

Tile Shown: Crater Lake Hexite // Design: Orlando Soria // Photos: Zeke Ruelas

green fish scale tile with contrasting white grout color

Tile Shown: Bora Bora Ogee Drop // Design: Young America Creative // Photo: Lauren Andersen

blue bathroom tile with white contrasting grout color

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Flagstone and Calcite // Design: Jen Pinkston // Photo: Katie Jameson

BLOG-2018_Q2_Img_HI_RES_FULL_RIGHTS_Amy_Vroom_designer_Meghan_Klein_photographer_residency_bureau_commercial_ceramic_backsplash_certain_standard_scalene_right_triangle_calcite_FC217161_5.jpg?mtime=20190417121229#asset:448494

Tile Shown: Calcite Scalene Triangle // Design: The Residency Bureau // Photo: Meghan Klein

A dark grout joint is a great way to add contrast to a classic white subway tile. The contrasting grout warms up the white tile, preventing any sense of sterility while adding depth and dimension. Not to mention, a dark grout is easier to keep clean!

BLOG-2018_Q4_image_hi_res_full-rights_influencer_Patti-Wagner_bathroom_floor_handpainted_tile_kasbah_neutral_motif_wall_3x6_subway_white_gloss_full_8_FC-232655.jpg?mtime=20190417121234#asset:448497

Tile Shown: White Wash 3x6 and Kasbah Trellis Neutral Motif //Design: Patti Wagner // Photo: Meg Cooper Photography

Note: We do not recommend a dark grout with White Wash due to staining potential. See more below.

BLOG-2017_Q2_image_residential_Jaclyn_Johnson_Create_Cultivate_Monica_Wang_Photo_bathroom_floor_tile_mosaics_small_diamonds_white_wash.jpg?mtime=20190417121241#asset:448501


BLOG-2017_Q2_image_residential_Jaclyn_Johnson_Create_Cultivate_Monica_Wang_Photo_bathroom_floor_tile_mosaics_small_diamonds_white_wash_3.jpg?mtime=20190417121222#asset:448489

Tile shown: White Wash Small Diamond Escher // Design: Whitney Leigh Morris // Photo: Monica Wang Photography

If you do decide to go with a dark grout and a light tile color it is VERY IMPORTANT to recognize the fact that your grout may stain your tile, especially if your tile has any crackle or crazing to the glaze. If you decide to use a contrasting grout to your tile, be sure to use a sealer or grout release on your tile to protect your glaze.

Before installation you'll also want to test a few coats of sealer/grout release to see what treatment is necessary. One coat may not be a perfect remedy and that often times two or three coats may be necessary to ensure the grout doesn't stain your tile.

Always test contrasting grouts before tackling your whole project. This concept applies to all of our materials-- tile, brick, and glass.

BLOG-2016_FULL_RIGHTS_PRINT_VERSION_img_residential_q1_kitchen_backsplash_davenport_builders_andrea_calo_photo_ann_lowe_design_adam_julie_butler_kitchen_backsplash_daisy_6x6_half_offset_FC156437.jpg?mtime=20190417121223#asset:448490
BLOG-2016_FULL_RIGHTS_PRINT_VERSION_img_residential_q1_kitchen_backsplash_davenport_builders_andrea_calo_photo_ann_lowe_design_adam_julie_butler_kitchen_backsplash_daisy_6x6_half_offset_FC156437_1-copy.jpg?mtime=20190417121242#asset:448502

Tile Shown: Daisy 6x6 // Design: Ann Edgerton // Photos: Andrea Calo

Note: We do not recommend a dark grout with Daisy due to staining potential.

When it comes to contrasting grout colors, you can always go for the opposite look and pair a dark tile color with a contrasting white grout the way the kitchen below has done:

BLOG-2017_Q2_Img_Hi_Res_rights_jennifer_jorgenson_design_redebu_builders_ceramic_kitchen_backsplash_2x8_Basalt_straight_stack_glazed_edge_trim_FC188858_12.jpg?mtime=20190417121226#asset:448492

Tile Shown: Basalt 2x8 // Design: Jennifer Jorgensen // Photo: 2nd Truth Photography

BLOG-2017_Q1_image_commercial_influencer_witdelight_studio_kitchen_backsplash_tile_hexagon_6_navy_blue_full_edit.jpg?mtime=20190417121243#asset:448503

Tile Shown: Navy Blue 6" Hexagon // Design: Kate Arends

Style 3: Find a Neutral Balance

If you are looking for something in between a matching and contrasting grout color, try a neutral that is just a few shades off your tile color. For example in the commercial backsplash below, a neutral gray softens the green tile for a look that is eye-catching but not overly graphic and demanding.

BLOG-4x12-Bar-Commercial-Flagstone-Offset-Restaurant-The-Perennial-3.jpeg?mtime=20190417121247#asset:448506

Tile Shown: Flagstone 4x12 // Design: The Perennial

BLOG-Q3_2018_image_residential_influencer_Sarah-Sherman-Samuel_Mandy-Moore-Home_photo_Tessa-Neustadt_bathroom_wall_shower_tile_rosemary_stacked_3x6_bathtub_surround_detail.jpg?mtime=20190417121220#asset:448488

Tile Shown: Rosemary 3x6 // Design: Sarah Sherman Samuel + Emily Farnham // Photo: Tessa Neustadt

For a more subtle look, try a neutral tile color with a warm white or grey grout, for a perfectly balanced neutral look.

BLOG-2016_Q2_Img_residential_hi_res_rights_sarah_sherman_samuel_aframe_bathroom_calcite_6_hexagon_FC-165424_2.jpg?mtime=20190417121249#asset:448507
BLOG-2016_Q2_Img_residential_hi_res_rights_sarah_sherman_samuel_aframe_bathroom_calcite_6_hexagon_FC-165424_12.jpg?mtime=20190417121219#asset:448487


Tile Shown: Calcite 6" Hexagon // Design: Sarah Sherman Samuel

neutral tile backsplash with grey grout color

Tile Shown: Dust Storm 1x6 Sheeted // Design: BOXI // Photo: Jenna Peffley

neutral bathroom tile with grey grout color

Tile Shown: Pyrite 3x12, Calcite Small Diamond Sheeted // Design: Kyla Ray Creative // Image: Angela Price, Rachelle Beatty

As a reminder, all of our color detail pages have our recommended grout color choice to help get you started.

Want a personalized grout color suggestion based on your project? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly!

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