The first and most important thing to remember is that grout is not intended to be a design feature, it has a function! That function is to serve as a filler between tiles as well as a protectant so that the edges of the tiles do not get chipped or cracked.
Just like opinions, there are many colors of grout available to choose from and each different grout manufacturer offers different colors. Their intention is to provide colors that blend with the current tiles available on the market, knowing they can’t match each one exactly.
Approaches to choosing grout colors:
You can choose to do what most people typically do which is choose a grout color that BLENDS with the tile. Since there are so many different tile styles available for purchase it would be impossible to match a tile to a grout color exactly. Plus, most tiles are not solid colors and have modeling or shading that prevents one color from matching exactly. In this case, you want to choose a grout color that blends or is in the same color family as the tile. When you look at the overall floor with a blending grout color you will see one complete “picture” rather than each individual tile. The way I see it, you paid for the tile rather than the grout so you want to choose a grout color where you see more of the tile than the grout.
However, in some cases you may want to choose a grout color that CONTRASTS the tile. When you choose a grout color that contrasts the tile, this forces your eye to separate the tiles from the grout lines to where you see more of each individual tile rather than a complete “picture” as you would with a blending grout color. This design option is a good choice if you are trying to create a checkerboard effect or if you have a classic black and white floor pattern.
Alternately, you can choose a grout color that is an ACCENT to the tile. Often people will use an accent color to compliment an accent color in their design scheme. Keep in mind if you choose this route and change your design scheme down the road, you will have to address the grout color as well.
What happens if you make a mistake? Don’t worry; it’s not the end of the world. You can dig the grout out and start over, but you run the risk of chipping or damaging the tiles. Another option that is less expensive and easier to manage is grout staining. There are grout staining kits available that allow you to literally paint over the grout lines to change the color.
Choosing a grout color is an important step in the overall look and feel of your tile project so take your time and choose carefully. It’s a small detail, but has a large impact.