Choosing the Perfect Grout Color
While emphasis is placed on choosing tile, grout color is often overlooked. The truth is that the color of your grout can make or break the look of your tile.
Whether you want your tile to jump out or recede into the background, grout color creates all different effects. Here are some popular looks to help you choose the right grout color for your tile scheme.
White/Light Tile, White/Light Grout
When white or very light tile is paired with white or almost-white grout, the lines between tiles virtually disappear visually, making the surface blend together. This is perfect for those who don’t want their tiles to be a focal point, and is especially useful in more modern spaces where the dramatic flair is elsewhere.
The white/white combo is also good for creating the illusion of space in small bathrooms or kitchens. The seamless look avoids visual breaks that shrink your perception of the space. The result is a room that feels big and airy.
The only downside to white or very light grout is that it isn’t as forgiving when it comes to stains or discoloration. A little extra care and upkeep is required to maintain that crisp, clean look.
White Tile, Gray Grout
Adding contrast between the tile and grout reveals the shape of the tiles much clearer. The grout itself then forms a pattern out of the negative space. The darker you go with the grout enhances the contrast and makes the tile pop more and more.
A soft gray that is just a few shades darker than the tile is a popular choice. It highlights the tile pattern without being overbearing and shouting for attention itself. This is especially effective for tiles in specialty shapes, like fish scales, or plain tiles in an interesting layout, such as classic subway tile laid out in a herringbone pattern.
White Tile, Black/Dark Grout
As you go very dark with your grout, the grout then becomes the visual focus over the actual tile. The tile patterns and layouts are much more pronounced, giving a lot of energy and life to the space.
This high-contrast look is well suited for spaces where black and white are dominant, as you can imagine. It also works for industrial spaces with metallic elements and rugged textures. Incorporate accent colors sparingly to keep the space from feeling overloaded.
When dealing with black or very dark tile, the previous rules are essentially reversed. Dark grout in a similar tone to a dark tile creates a softer look, while light grout will bring out the tile pattern.
If you like black tile but want to soften the look a bit, consider choosing a charcoal shade for the tile and match the grout closely. Choosing black tile and white grout will create a vivid look.
A fun alternative that makes the tile pop, but isn’t as stark as black and white, is tinted grout. For instance, white tile with lemon yellow grout adds a twist of color, but doesn’t visually advance too much. Colored grout works especially well when it picks up a hue found elsewhere in the space, so it is in harmony with the palette.
While colorful grout isn’t for everyone, it is a great tool for those wanting a unique look and a lot of personality. Just understand that grout is not very easy to replace, so be sure to choose a color you truly love and can live with for a period of time.
Colorful Tile, Gray Grout
Moving away from stark white or black makes pairing vibrant-colored tile with the right shade of grout a bit trickier. For instance, will the grout contrast the tile or blend in? That’s why it is important to look at the color as having a value of darkness or lightness separate from the intensity of the color itself. Red would translate to dark, while yellow would translate to light.
Similar to other tile/grout combinations, choosing a gray grout that is close in value to the chosen tile will make the grout fade into the background, while going a little lighter or darker will subtly highlight the grout more and bring out the pattern of the tile layout.
Colorful Tile, White/Light Grout
While this pairing may sound like it would be dramatic, it actually helps to tame wild colors and give the space a cleaner and more timeless feel. For instance, there is a definite reason why we often see bright reds paired with crisp whites. The white makes the vivid color more livable.
Colorful Tile, Colorful Grout
There is no limit to where you can go with this combination. And if you’re already adding colorful tile, why not add colorful grout to go with it? Just one possible pairing, cool blue tile with vibrant yellow grout, creates a bold and exotic feel — almost bringing an international hotel appeal.