Interior Bathrooms

What Color Grout to Use With White Tile: 6 Hues Designers Recommend

The grout hue you pair with white tile can be a bold statement or offer subtle elegance—it’s a fine detail that can enhance your interior design. Find out which color suits your design scheme.
A DIYer grouting white tiles of a kitchen backsplash with dark gray grout.

Photo: istockphoto.com

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Tile grout is more than a structural element that secures your tiles, supports their alignment, and creates a waterproof barrier. The color of grout significantly impacts the appearance of the finished look, either by blending in with the tiles for a seamless look or by contrasting the tile color for a dramatic statement that makes the tiles stand out.

When deciding the grout color to use with white tile, the abundance of choice may seem overwhelming because white tiles are a blessing and a curse. They are a timeless neutral that often pairs well with vibrant colors, dark hues, and lighter shades, and white tile is a popular choice for many bathrooms and kitchens across the country.

If you need help deciding what color grout to use with white tile or if you’re considering changing your aesthetic with grout paint, consider the following recommendations.

RELATED: How to Make Your Own Grout Cleaner

8 Tips for Choosing Grout Colors for White Tile

Every tiling project is unique and there is no blanket advice that works for choosing grout color in all situations. Perhaps you’re tiling a kitchen backsplash, a shower wall, or even a floor—each of these instances requires a unique approach to achieve your desired result.

Selecting the right grout color can elevate the entire aesthetic of your tiled space, especially when working with white tiles. Whether you use different shapes of tile, small mosaics, wide subway tile, diamond shapes, or large hexagons, your grout strategy may be to use it to create greater contrast to show off the tile design or to try to match the tile color. Personal preferences aside, here are some expert tips to help guide your grout color decision-making.

  • Pick the tile first. Decide on the tile before choosing grout color. This order ensures you select a grout color that complements your tile perfectly.
  • Gather samples. Collect material samples and review everything together in your space. Ask your tiler to make a sample board of the tile grouted in the pattern you desire so you can see how it looks before it goes on the wall or floor.
  • Consider the light. Consider how natural and artificial lighting impacts the appearance of the grout color. Different times of day and the type of lightbulbs you use can alter how the colored grout looks.
  • Pick a pattern. Tiling patterns may be disorienting for some. Choosing a lighter-colored grout can soften an energetic pattern.
  • Create space. Lighter grout colors help make a space feel larger. If you want to make a small bathroom or kitchen feel larger, opting for a lighter hue is worth considering.
  • Contrast it. To create greater contrast use white tile with dark grout. Choose a grout color several shades darker than the tile—the darker the grout, the more prominent the tile design.
  • Consider color temperature. Evaluate the undertones of your white tile and choose a grout color with warmer or cooler hues to blend in better with the specific tile for your project.
  • Test your grout and protect tiles if necessary. Darker grout may stain tile. Testing it out enables you to determine if you need to use sealer or grout release on your tile before applying the grout.

1. White

A kitchen backsplash with white subway tile and white grout.
Photo: istockphoto.com

White grout paired with white tile creates a clean aesthetic that shows off the texture and pattern in a subtle way. Ryan Harkrider, interior designer at Wise Design, points out that white grout softens tiled wall patterns: “The lighter the grout, the more tonal it appears.”

This tile and grout color combination makes a space feel bigger and brighter. Plus, it suits various design styles. When a homeowner’s decor tastes evolve, this white-on-white palette remains versatile and timeless.

Some excellent options for white grout include MAPEI Avalanche at Lowe’s (shown in the photo) and SimpleGrout Bright White at The Home Depot.

2. Soft Gray

A kitchen backsplash with white subway tile and soft gray grout.
Photo: istockphoto.com

White tile with gray grout adds visual interest by defining the edges of the tile without being overpowering, resulting in a pleasing visual texture. Light gray grout, like Polyblend Platinum that’s available at The Home Depot, offers some contrast to a white tile pattern for a delicate and elegant result. Modern, contemporary, and even traditional styles benefit from this combination.

Amy Peltier, founder and creative director at San Marino, California-based Amy Peltier Interior Design, says, “Some homeowners shy away from bright white because it can get dirty very quickly or even yellow over time. Going with a soft warm gray color helps address that concern without changing the feel and look of the tile.”

RELATED: The Best Grout Sealers

3. Gray-Blue

A kitchen backsplash with white subway tile and blue-gray grout.
Photo: istockphoto.com

There aren’t any hard and fast rules about choosing grout colors as long as you love the results. Blue-toned grout, such as Polyblend Steel Blue, between white tiles creates a striking contrast and adds a modern statement to a design. Blue-hued grout is a contemporary choice that makes a stunning visual impact to show off a tile pattern.

The hint of blue is conservatively unconventional and pairs well with cooler or neutral tones and offers a sense of depth and added character to a kitchen or bathroom.

4. Black or Charcoal

A kitchen backsplash with white subway tile and black-charcoal grout.
Photo: istockphoto.com

White tiles with black grout are the highest contrast aesthetic you can create, and the pair dramatically elevates the style of a room. As Harkrider says: “The darker the color with white tile, the more the pattern will pop.” Black grout with white tile is suited for those who like bold details.

Modern, sophisticated, and visually stunning, black or charcoal grout outlines each tile prominently and accents geometric patterns like no other grout color. This dynamic can play out very nicely in a tuxedo kitchen or bathroom.

While not as good at hiding dirt as gray grout, another advantage of black grout is its ability to conceal dirt and grime, maintaining a clean appearance, even in high-traffic areas. However, it’s easier to see imperfections when using black grout against white tile. Consider dark grout, like Polyblend Charcoal, for your next tiling project.

RELATED: How to Repair Grout

5. Beige or Tan

A kitchen backsplash with white subway tiles and beige grout.
Photo: istockphoto.com

For a gentle contrast, beige or sandy-colored grout, like Polyblend Driftwood, offers a refined aesthetic for those who want to add a textured tiled wall without creating an attention-demanding focal point. This warm but light-colored grout with white tile creates a welcoming, comfortable, and understated look that can stand the test of time in a traditional or transitional space.

This tile and grout color combination ages well, integrates into various design styles, and coordinates effortlessly with different colors and decor. Beige hues exude an effortless charm that works well in kitchen or bathroom tile; it’s light but doesn’t show imperfections like a bright white grout might.

6. Dark Brown

A kitchen backsplash with white subway tile and dark brown grout.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Chocolate and other dark brown grout colors are an excellent choice to exude coziness but maintain tile-defining contrast. If black grout with white tile feels like too much of a difference, chocolate brown can be an excellent choice. The rich, deep tones of dark brown grout work well in a modern farmhouse or contemporary design and offer a distinct combination that leaves an impression.

Dark brown grout has a very specific look and clearly defines your tile pattern. Grout colors like SimpleGrout Brown Velvet that’s at The Home Depot can look amazing paired with white tile.