This post has been one of our top Pinterest posts for the past couple of years. We were shocked at first too, but then we realized that grout is not something most people spend time thinking about until they are about to renovate their beautiful new kitchen or bathroom with their beautiful new tile. Then it’s a mad dash to Pinterest (or StyleByEmilyHenderson.com;)) to find the inspiration they need. So just in case you might have missed this one and are in the tiling stage of your renovation we hope it helps. O and if you are looking for some out of the box grout ideas check out this post!
Tile is hard to choose, grout should be easy. But sometimes it’s not. Welcome to another “Drafts We Never Published” all about grout color. The reason that we didn’t publish it originally is because I felt that just saying, “black grout looks busier but more dramatic than white grout” isn’t enough of a lesson. Ultimately I would want to give more specifics like, “when using white tile you should use ________ color from ______ brand,” and I’d give you real takeaway instead of just “choose the right grout.” Anyway, I didn’t feel like there was enough value in this post. I can’t give you specifics, because your grout color is dependent almost completely on your tile and your kitchen or bath design. That being said, considering what different colors of grout can do to your room is a very good thing.
Let’s break it down and show you some examples of what different grouts do for different tiles so you understand what I am talking about:
White Tile with White Grout: The ever-popular combo that may seem boring when we type it out, but in reality is classic, timeless and gives any room a clean updated look. Among the most popular options in the white tile category we have the subway tile. This has been the go-to tile for DIY home renovations (and Starbucks locations) for quite some time and for a good reason. It is classic, very affordable, and is something that will never go out of style. As you can see, white with white looks great here, and gives the kitchen a clean and simple look.
Light Gray Grout
The grout in the photos, above and below, look slightly darker – more like a really light gray which is a good idea if you don’t think you can handle it when your white grout gets dirty. Because it will. But a light color is a great option for those of you with smaller kitchens or bathrooms as it will make them appear visually larger, even if they aren’t. Just make sure that you keep your scrub brush handy to keep the grout clean and fresh looking. Conclusion – lighter grout makes the room feel bigger.
But what happens when we mix it up and put some black grout in between those simple tiles? This kitchen above went with the traditional subway tile, but paired it with a black grout. Which to be honest I am usually not a fan of unless it is done very well (like this version) and the rest of the space stays pretty neutral. Doing this to your tile will accentuate the grout which in turn makes the entire kitchen appear busier and less calming, but it does give it that vintage industrial look if that is what you are going for. The bathroom below is another prime example of that.
Now what happens when we pair a white tile with a brown grout? This one was a little more tricky to find, but we wanted to illustrate it none the less. And who did it in a way that’s effortlessly cool?? Kelly Wearstler of course. She used it in the coolest modern way possible in this bathroom below.
If brown is your jam then go ahead with the brown grout. Again, it is a very specific look which makes it a little less timeless than the other two, but when done well it can work and brings a graphic element to the space. I’ve never done it and I’m scared to do it, but it’s something to think about… especially after seeing this beaut.
And just when you thought we were done playing tile matchmaker, let’s talk about black tile. It was huge in the ’90s and in the right modern space has always been classic, but different versions of it in various finishes are starting to come back and we are into it.
This bathroom went with a black on black scheme on the walls and it really works. They complimented it (and lightened it up) with a white and light wood vanity which helps both tiles and patterns work well together as the grout is not competing with the tile, but just adding texture and depth to it.
Now when you go with a black tile and a white grout you are going to see that visually (like with white tile and black grout) things start looking a bit busier and you do make out the shapes of the tiles more so than you would if it was all tonal. Still, a very pretty look which we love.
Last but not least, black with brown, this is not an easy combo to find but if you look at the awesome kitchen below, it’s a pretty great one. The perfect medium between black and white grout that’s a bit softer than both.
So, what is your favorite combo? Do you love the monochromatic of the white on white and black on black or do you think you could get behind mixing in some brown grout with your black or white tiles? In case you still aren’t sure we created these little cheat sheets to help you next time you have to make some serious grout decisions.
And also pulled this one together with penny tiles, which is another popular contender and very affordable when it comes to renovating:
Let us know if you have any questions below, and if you have found any inspiration photos that exemplify these different combos that we may have not seen be sure to leave the link to them below in the comments.
And if you like this whole ‘Post We Never Published’ thing, check out our first one – Mixing Pattern & Textures in Fashion (And Home)
Opening Photo Credits: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: My Kitchen Design A Year Later: Lots To Love & Some Regrets