What Color Grout to Use With White Tile

subway tile in kitchen

Design: Case Architects & Designers / Photo: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

If you're in the process of selecting a grout color to complement your white tile, keep in mind that there are plenty of color options to choose from, which are highlighted in further detail below. Before you move forward, though, there are a few key tenants that you'll want to keep top of mind. For one, you'll want to closely examine your tile color before deciding on a grout color.

"Undertones are everything," designer Lindsey Machado, of Grace & Joy, says. "Every chroma, or color, contains specific undertones that may not be easily seen to the untrained eye. Something as simple as pairing a cool gray grout with a tile that contains warm grays or a creamy grout with a stark white tile could throw off the whole design." Establishing an understanding of undertones early on will prevent you from making a room-altering mistake.

Additionally, note that proper installation will ensure that your grout stands the test of time. "No matter what color grout you decide to use, it’s important to ensure that it’s properly sealed," Kristina Davis, of Letti & Co, says. "Sealing your grout will help to protect it from dirt and moisture, and will also help to keep it looking bright and fresh for years to come."

Ready to weigh various grout color options? Below, designers share a few of their favorite shades to pair with white tile.

Light Gray

Why not say yay to light gray? Light gray probably isn't your first choice of grout for white tile, but it's still a phenomenal option. Not only is the color soothing, but it also can complement a wide range of decor styles, Sadana explains, noting, "This combination is also ideal for modern farmhouse, contemporary, transitional, and modern kitchens," NISH's designer Nishtha Sadana says.

light gray grout

Amanda Shields Interiors


Of course, you may be drawn to a monochrome design. White grout gives white tiles a fresh, bright, and seamless look. Just note that this will definitely result in your tile being the star of the show. "If you’re not looking to make a focal point with the pattern created with grout lines, choose the white grout that blends easily, thus, making your tile the ultimate wow factor," Sadana says.

When opting for white, though, keep in mind the cleaning troubles associated with using this color in a high-traffic space. "For a kitchen backsplash, even if it’s sealed after install, it can just take one messy spaghetti dinner to stain white grout," Machado says. "If you’re wanting a super light grout, a color with just a little bit of tone can help to ensure those unavoidable stains aren’t quite so visible!"

white tile with white grout

Desiree Burns Interiors

Black or Charcoal

Opting for a darker hue like black or charcoal is an excellent choice for those who prefer a modern, bold aesthetic. "This will help to create a striking contrast between the tile and grout and can be used to create different patterns and shapes," Davis says. Sadana shares the same sentiment: the pattern formed by grout lines is what's most important. "Whether it’s the subway tile pattern or herringbone, the ultimate goal is to highlight the pattern formed by the grout lines," she says. "Choosing a darker and bolder color like charcoal gray or soft black can ultimately add depth to the space." These hues are particularly smart choices for the bathroom. "Using darker toned grouts on a bathroom and specifically shower floor will hide those inevitable stains that always creep up," Machado says. "Everything from colored shampoos to dirty feet can soil the shower floor’s grout, and the lighter ones simply do not age well there."

A Bright Hue

Going bright is never a bad idea either. "Using a bright hue like blue or green can help to create a fun and lively atmosphere, and can make your space feel more inviting and cheerful," Davis says. Designer Beth Martin, of Beth R. Martin, is also a fan of a vibrant grout pick. "Grout colors don't need to be boring," she says. "A vivid grout shade can take a dull tile and make it extraordinary. "Certain tiles, in particular, will look excellent with bright colors. Martin suggests pairing simple, white tiles with an eye-catching blue or pink grout to add a bold flair to the room. "White penny tiles especially pop when matched with an unusual grout color. Also, consider using a color from the surrounding wallpaper to create a luxurious look that elevates the once builder-grade white tile," Martin says.

white tile with orange grout

Camila Pavone

Charcoal Blue or Midnight Blue

Alternatively, maybe you love the color blue but would prefer to see it in a moodier form. Why not true charcoal or midnight? "The charcoal blue or midnight blue color can help make your tiles stand out and highlight the patterns with a punch of color," Sadana says. "This is a great recommendation if you have the lower cabinets of your kitchen or the island table in the shades of blue-gray, blue, black, or gray."