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 take-away 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.
The grout in the photo, above, looks 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 – white 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.
Now what happens when we pair a white tile with a brown or cream grout? This one was a little more tricky to find, but we wanted to illustrate it none the less. So, for our sake we are going to say that this grout is brown although we weren’t totally able to confirm it. Visually it does look like the tiles are an off white and the grout is a brown color – so it gives you the idea of what it might look like.
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.
And just when you thought we were done playing tile matchmaker, let’s talk about black tile. It was huge in the 90’s 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 on white scheme on the floor 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 more busy 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, which we really tried looking for online but were not able to find a good image to use to represent it, so if you know of one leave the link below as we would love to see if it can work when done well.
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)