Choosing Grout Colors

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.

22 thoughts on “Choosing Grout Colors

  1. Hi there,
    I have a dilemma. We will be remodeling our bathroom. We selected the same tile for the walls (12″ square) and floor (18″ square) and an accent glass tile mosaic for a 3-row strip around the shower walls and a 3-row strip in the backsplash. What are the rules for picking out the grout color for both the tile and glass accent tile? We wanted to blend in the floor and walls tiles but the glass mosaic tile looks great with a white grout (but we were not planning to put white grout on the rest of the regular tile. What do you suggest?

    • There are no wrong answers here, but out advice is to choose the grout color that works with the wall and floor. (since that’s the majority of what you will see). Most of the time the multi colors in the mosaic will be what you see, the grout will just blend into the background. If you would like to submit a picture of your tile and mosaic for more specific advice, please email the pictures to shannon@dcspg.com. Thanks!

      • Hello, I have the same query as Kathy. I have a feature wall tile for the bathroom and ensuite which is a white stone and glass mosaic and the other wall and floor tile is 298×600 super white polished porcelain. I’m unsure whether to use the same grout colour for both tiles or white grout for the mosaic and misty grey for the porcelain tiles. Keen to hear your expect advice. I have a photo I can send to your email. Thanks, Connie.

  2. It is generally a wise choice to get a grout color that is very close to the base color of the tile. This is true almost 100% of the time if it is marble or granite we are considering. Using a color grout that contrasts too much will have a checkerboard type effect and your eye will see the grout and not the tile. This can be the best choice if there is a certain look and feel you are going after such as the traditional look of many terra cotta tiles .In Mexico or Spain a darker grout has been the color of tradition for many centuries.

  3. It is generally a wise choice to get a grout color that is very close to the base color of the tile. This is true almost 100% of the time if it is marble or granite we are considering. Using a color grout that contrasts too much will have a checkerboard type effect and your eye will see the grout and not the tile. This can be the best choice if there is a certain look and feel you are going after such as the traditional look of many terra cotta tiles .In Mexico or Spain a darker grout has been the color of tradition for many centuries.

  4. Choosing the right grout color can change the way your whole tile project looks. The grout color helps tie in each tile to appear as one complete floor. The function of grout is to protect the edges of the tile from being chipped or cracked. When trying to choose a grout color, it is helpful to look at the sample on all four corners of the tile, preferably in the space where the tile will be installed. It is also helpful to place several different colors near the sample you are considering. This can easily help rule out some colors while making some colors a clearer choice.

  5. Choosing the right grout color can change the way your whole tile project looks. The grout color helps tie in each tile to appear as one complete floor. The function of grout is to protect the edges of the tile from being chipped or cracked. When trying to choose a grout color, it is helpful to look at the sample on all four corners of the tile, preferably in the space where the tile will be installed. It is also helpful to place several different colors near the sample you are considering. This can easily help rule out some colors while making some colors a clearer choice.

  6. Hi,
    We like Kathy we have chosen the same tiles for the floor and walls of our bathroom – ours are the same size, a light beige colour. We have grouted the wall tiles in white but aren’t sure what colour to grout the floor tiles. We would have liked to keep the colour the same but are worried the grout will become dirty quickly and wonder if we grout a darker colour on the floor whether this will look odd. Your opinion would be appreciated.
    Thanks.

  7. I am professional hardwood floor installer and understand the importance of the “right” grout colors. I like your tips on it in this article. Very simple and bright explanation. Thank you for good ideas. Your article is useful even for woodworking guys:)

  8. Have your contractor make mock ups of a few colors for you . This way you won’t be suprised by the color. The amount of water or admix that each indivdual contractor uses in the mix and during clean up can effect the tint.

  9. I have a contemporary home with a light grey toilet, sink-cabinete and whirlpool-tub. The floor is marble with grey and crimson-purple lines. The room is painted with the same crimson-purple. I removed the grey shower unit and have tiled the shower walls and ceiling with a shiny white tile that has some ripples with grey lines. The tiles are 8×24. The floor is a white 2×2. The shower is open with a glass block partial wall. Now my problem–the grout color. I wanted to do the floor with a light grey which is a tone of all the grey in the room and a white for the walls. Do you think I should stick with that idea or opt for a light grey for the wall as well.

  10. Is it ok to have a different grout color on the shower floor than on the floor of the bathroom? We have granite on the shower walls and the best grout color is bone for the floor but it won’t be a good color choice in the shower. Your advice?

    • Renee, of course it’s ok to have different grout colors! Yes, the two will be in the same room, but the shower is a separate space within the room and the grout colors can help differentiate between the areas in the bathroom. If you think the two colors will bother you, maybe consult with a family member or friend to get more opinions. However, as long as you’re happy with the grout colors and will enjoy the bathroom, then we think you’ll be good to go. We hope that gives you some guidance. Thank you and feel free to contact us with any other questions!

  11. Hi. I have no idea if you will get this query in time, but I’m in a jam here and have to make decision about the grout color in the next hour (+ or -). My contractor is grouting my remodeled shower as I type. The shower is huge, way bigger than I would have wanted. It is that large because originally I wanted a steam shower, but found it was too expensive and somehow the size of the bathroom was hard to imagine once it was gutted and we opted out of a bathtub. Anyway, it’s tiled in white subway tile with a frosted green glass penny round line the same height as the subway tile along the wall. The shower floor is in the same frosted green penny round tile with a thin trim of small white frosted glass squares around it.
    Here’s the major dilemma. I chose at the last minute to do the subway grout in charcoal gray. It’s looking dramatic. I don’t hate it or even dislike it but I think had i been able to see how it would look I’d have chosen standard white after all. Now… for the shower floor…will it look bad to grout the shower floor in standard white though the shower walls with the subway tile is charcoal gray?
    I am hoping I will hear from you soon. I value your opinion.
    thanks
    e

  12. Is it necessary to match grout color when using the same series of tile for the kitchen floor and for the back splash ? The floor tile is 18 X 18 in an orthogonal pattern and the backsplash is 3×3 mosaic in a bonding pattern. Generally, I prefer the floor grout to fade away and be less distracting with a neutral grout color which matches the field color of the tile. However the kitchen back splash could have more contrast between tile and grout. The darker back splash grout would pick up on the Uba Tuba granite counter, the oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware and brown knots of the sugarpine recessed panel cabinetry. Would the change in grout color be too distracting within the same series tile (of course with a different pattern and plane) and in the same room ? Any advice ?

  13. We have put the concrete look tiles with lappato finish.But they are looking very dull and I am really very disappointed after putting lots of money. Is there any idea to make it look better by changing the grout color. At the moment grout color is same as the tiles.

  14. I agree that most people will choose a grout that blends with their tiles. You also mention that since each tile can be slightly different in color, so perfectly matching your grout is nearly impossible. I think it’s a good idea to choose a grout that is easy to clean.

  15. I’m using pebbles on shower floor with a waterfall accent of pebbles on wall under a window. Because I use mildew remover with bleach I was told to use bright white grout with pebbles. My dilemma is the the remainder of shower wall is a lmedium gray tile. The bathroom floor is same medium gray tile. Should I use all white on shower wall tile and pebbles and then a light gray grout to blend with bathroom floor tile.

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