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How to Choose the Right Grout Color for Your Tile

Choosing tile is probably the easier decision but how about that grout color? That can make or break the look of that gorgeous tile you just chose. So today I am going to help you figure out how to choose the right grout color for your tile.

Grout colors are something that is a bit of an afterthought. You are so focused on picking out the best tile that when it comes to the grout you just don’t know what to do.

I can’t tell you exactly what you should do but I do hope to equip you with some knowledge on the subject so that you can confidently make the right choice for your project.

*This post contains affiliate links. For more details see my full disclosure.

How do you pick grout color?

Choosing a grout color can make or break the look of that tile so it’s important to get it right the first time. Mistakes can be costly and time-consuming.

The first thing you should think about is the tile you chose. Does your tile have a unique shape or are you installing it in a unique pattern?

Does your tile have a pattern on it that you want to be the star of the show? These are all things you need to consider when choosing the right grout color.

A white kitchen with white cabinets, white subway tile and carerra counters.

Should grout be darker or lighter than tile?

This all depends on your tile and the pattern of your tile. If you chose your tile because the pattern on the tile is so pretty and you want that to stand out then choose a grout color that blends really well with the tile and is almost the same.

Do you have a plain tile, such as subway tile, and want to spice it up a bit? Then choose a grout color that is opposite the color of the tile.

If you have a plain tile and want it all to blend and sort of disappear together then choose a grout color that is the same as the tile.

If your tile has a unique pattern, such as a hexagon, or if you are installing your tile in a unique pattern, such as herringbone, then you want to choose a grout color that contrasts with the tile. This will help accent that unique pattern and make it stand out more.

What’s the best grout color for subway tile?

Subway tile is a classic design that has been around forever and will be around forever more. Subway tiles come in lots of different materials from ceramic to glass and everywhere in between.

If you want your tile to blend in with the background then choose a grout color that is similar to the tile color.

Sometimes you want a look that is a little bolder then you should choose a contrasting color for your subway tile. This is what I have in my kitchen with dark gray grout and white subway tile. This is more of a modern farmhouse look.

If you plan to use your subway tile in a unique pattern, such as a herringbone pattern, then I suggest using a contrasting grout color to make the pattern stand out. If you are going with the pattern then you want it to show and a contrasting grout is the best way to make that happen.

Examples of Grout Colors

All of these examples are from Floor and Decor. It’s my favorite place to buy tile. When I renovated my daughter’s shower tile this is where I got all my supplies.

White subway tile with white grout, a yellow pitcher with a cutting board and lemons.
Source: Floor and Decor

Here is an example of a tile paired with a grout color so they all blend together. This is perfect when you want your tile to be a neutral backdrop to showcase gorgeous counters or an accent tile. This is also great for accenting decor.

Black hexagon tile with white grout and a white cabinet with bathroom accessories on the cabinet.
Source: Floor and Decor

Here we have the opposite. Here you have a dark tile with a unique shape and by adding a grout color that contrasts with the tile color you not only accentuate the color of the tile but the shape. And this shape is simply gorgeous!

Black and white patterned tile behind a white nightstand with books and a plant in a black tray, a clock, and a white lamp with black shade.
Source: Floor and Decor

If you have a tile like this with lots of pattern or colors and textures then you want your grout to disappear. Here they chose white grout so that the pattern on the tile is the star of the show.

Marble tile in a herringbone tile, a light wood round table with a light blue vase and white candle.
Source: Floor and Decor

Here we have another example of a grout color that contrasts with the tile to accentuate the pattern. This one isn’t as striking as the black and white version above but the white grout definitely allows the marble herringbone to shine.

medium brown tile floors that look like wood planks.
Source: Floor and Decor

Now if you are putting in wood look tile then I suggest choosing a grout that is close to the tile color but one or two shades lighter or darker. This creates the look of real wood which is the whole point of putting in tile that looks like wood!

What grout color is easiest to keep clean?

You might think that dark colored grout is the easiest to keep clean but it’s not. The best color to choose so that it doesn’t look dirty is a neutral color like beige or light to mid-toned gray.

Neutral colors are closest to what dirty grout looks like so just choosing it right off the bat is the way to go to hide any stains.

Black grout tends to fade in places and will look discolored or dirty so if you are looking for something a little less high maintenance don’t choose black.

White grout will show everything so if you are doing a floor I would not choose white grout. If it’s a backsplash in a bathroom or an area that’s not going to see a lot of moisture (or food spatters) then white will be crisp and gorgeous.

**Pro Tip** When I redid the shower walls in my daughter’s bathroom I made sure to have the narrowest grout lines I could. That way they would be so much easier to clean. I went with 1/8 inch spacers.

If you are just installing tile then the first thing you need to do before getting any water on it is seal it. This will help keep it clean. I highly suggest this grout sealer. It’s from Amazon and has a ton of really great reviews!

I hope you feel confident to choose the right grout color for your home. If you have any questions feel free to add a comment below!

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White kitchen with stainless steel appliances and three big windows above the sink.

As a licensed Real Estate Agent and an avid home decorator, I strive to give my clients the very best I can when it comes to staging, selling, and decorating their homes. I have lots of experience with paint color choices and love to DIY my home so I can have everything just the way I want it. I share my ideas and projects with the world in the hopes that I can help others have their homes just the way they want as well.

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Wednesday 10th of August 2022

What brand and color grout did you use ?


Thursday 11th of August 2022

Hi Kristina. I didn't actually put this kitchen together, I inherited it when I bought the house. The grout color is a dark gray, I don't have the exact name. In the last house, we owned we bought grout from Home Depot and were very pleased with it. I also know people who have bought some at Floor and Decor and spoke highly of it. I hope that helps!

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