So you’ve chosen your tile, but have you chosen your grout?

Before we get down to business, I just have to brag a little bit, because my blog post discussing Italian mosaic tile was just featured yesterday on Walker Zanger’s Facebook page!


Now I just have to get featured on the front page of WordPress’s “Freshly pressed” page, and my life is complete.

Until then, let’s discuss grout.

Grout color is critical when installing tile. And you will be overwhelmed with the number of options when you start looking!

I’m not joking, there is purple grout with silver glitter available on the market.

Glitter Grout

Yes, someone invented these. It's not an accident that I "forgot" to mention where you can buy itt.

And if any of you choose to use this on your project, please do not tell anyone that you heard about it from me…I can’t be held responsible for what happens to your kitchen backsplash.

Anywho, my point is that grout color makes a very big difference in the look of your backsplash, shower, floor, etc. and there are many things to keep in mind when making this decision.

I will illustrate the different looks available by sticking to my favorite subway tile pattern: herringbone.

Herringbone tile with dark grout

So using a dark grout with a light tile obviously highlights the pattern of the tile. For an energetic pattern like herringbone, which I’ve highlighted in this photo, I really like seeing the higher contrast because the pattern is so fun! However, over a large area, it can be quite busy.

In fact, I would even argue that in the photo I just used to showcase the contrast, it’s too busy. But for a kitchen of under 20 SF of backsplash space, I think it’s a really beautiful look.

Herringbone tile with a warm gray grout

This photo shows herringbone tile set with a warm gray grout; which is generally my favorite grout for tile installations. Why, you ask? Simple: it’s light enough the stay neutral, dark enough to still show the pattern of the way the tile is set, and the tinge will hide that dirt you haven’t cleaned for a week or two (or is that just my kitchen?).

A medium-toned grout like warm gray is also great for smaller spaces, like kitchen backsplashes under 20 SF, because you can keep the pattern of the tile without making too dramatic of a statement, as you can see above.

Herringbone tile with color-matched grout

Many of my client’s initial reactions when choosing grout color is to color match to the color of the tile. In some cases, I think this is a good way to go, particularly if there is another feature in the room that is drawing attention such as a very busy countertop or brightly colored cabinets.

However, when you are setting the tile in a unique way such as in a herringbone pattern, I don’t generally recommend it because as you can see above, you kind of lose the pattern of the tile.

So there you have it; grout color choice is very much dependent on the circumstances of your design.

And if you’d like help choosing a grout color for your project, feel free to email me at for a free consultation!

4 Responses to “So you’ve chosen your tile, but have you chosen your grout?”
  1. Ah, the post that started my TT love affair. I just wanted to leave a note thanking you for helping me choose a color for my grout. I think I was headed in a much too busy direction, leaning towards dark grey and you pulled me back from creating a mind-bending backsplash.

    • Tile Tramp says:

      No problem! I’m glad I could be helpful. Choosing grout is often just as overwhelming as choosing the tile itself! What color did you end up choosing?

      • Becky says:

        And I want to thank Alexis (we met on gardenweb) for telling me about TT and this blog! I hope you received my email with the link to my kitchen pics, TT. My tile guy is anxious for a grout decision but I am paralyzed! Let me know if you did not get it. Thanks!!!! Becky/Peach

      • Tile Tramp says:

        In case you didn’t get the email I sent you, definitely use Mapei’s “Biscuit”…it’s perfect with that tile! And I’m glad you like my blog 🙂 I’ll be able to email you back about the bedroom paint colors this evening when I have the time to review it more carefully…I don’t like to give sloppy recommendations, and I’m sure you wouldn’t like that either!

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