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Design Inspo

Tile and Grout Color Combinations To Use in Your Home

There is a perfect tile and grout combination for your home, and we are here to help you find it. Check out the combinations that are making waves.

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With so many new tile designs and grout color combinations available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and just stick with white subway tile and matching grout. And that’s completely okay! However, if you’d like to venture into less-traditional color pairings (we applaud you), we have some advice for tile grout combos that will work in any home.

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Know the Effect of Tile Colors and Sizes

Before we get into grout color specifics, let’s think about the color and size of your tiles and their effect on your room.

Use Light Tile To Make a Room Feel Larger

As light paint has a different effect on a room than dark paint, light tiles tend to recede and make a room feel larger than a darker color would. They are also light-reflective, making the space feel brighter and more open.

Use Tile Size and Angle To Enlarge a Space, Too

Larger tiles make a space feel larger when set horizontally. When set vertically, tiles can make the ceiling seem higher. One last trick tile can play on your eyes is to make a space feel larger when set at an angle. Tile size, color, and patterns all work together with grout color to determine the look and feel of your space.

Apply Matching Grout to Your Tile

Choosing the same color for both your tile and grout may sound like you're playing it safe, but this is actually a fairly new trend when practiced with colorful tiles.

Change the Focus With Monochromatic Grout

When you use matching grout with your tile, it creates a seamless look across the wall, as if the whole expanse was one semi-solid color. This coloring highlights the overall color and glaze of the tiles rather than their individual shape or arrangement — a great way to show off those artisanal handcrafted blue glass tiles.

Create Space With Matching Grout

When your tiled wall feels like one cohesive wall rather than a million little pieces, it enhances the feeling of space. These tiles become one large whole that seems to extend farther, making the room feel larger or taller.

You’ve seen this with kitchen backsplashes of white subway tiles set in white grout. The overall look is clean, bright, and roomy. If you want dark tile but fear it will make your space feel small, compromise by using a matching dark grout that would mitigate that effect.

Create Contrast With Your Grout Color

Obviously, using a contrasting color of grout will create … contrast, but what does this specifically do to your space?

Use Contrasting Grout Colors To Make Tiles Advance or Recede

When you do venture into different tile and grout colors, keep in mind that dark and warm-colored grout seems to advance, and light and cool colors recede — just like with your tile colors. Dark grout makes the outline of your tile pattern more prominent, while light grout makes the tiles stand out and seem more connected.

Emphasize the Pattern or Geometry

When your tile color is radically different from your grout, the shape of the tile and the way it fits together with the rest of your tiles are front and center. Using black grout with a lighter-colored tile would emphasize your eye-catching hexagon tile pattern. Since the tiles are white, this overall expanse of light tile can keep the space from feeling too cramped. (You’re probably starting to realize it is all a balancing act between color, lines, and size.)

Get a Modern Industrial Look

When you aren’t interested in making a space feel more expansive but would like to emphasize the geometry of the tiles, a darker contrasting grout is your best bet.

  • White subway tile arranged in a herringbone design will sing when outlined in a darker grout.
  • Stacking classic subway tiles with dark grout emphasizes the configuration of the tile for a modern industrial look.

Create Energy in a Space

Another benefit of the emphasis on grout lines is the sense of movement and energy. It can completely transform a hum-drum small bathroom into a standout feature.

Go Off the Beaten Path With Colorful Grout

Using a more vibrant color of grout is an exciting, bold trend best placed in areas that can handle a dynamic design. We’re starting to see colorful grout in more people’s homes — and for good reason.

Highlight the Room’s Color Scheme

Why not let different grout colors have the same function as wall paint to tie your home’s color scheme together? Pull out one contrasting color from your palette for your grout, as long as it works with your tile, or consider matching your grout to your brass or stainless fixtures in a bathroom or kitchen.

Aim for Complementary Colors

Try using unusual combinations of complementary colors for your tile and grout. If you’re worried this style may be too much color, use a subtle version of one of your colors. For instance, a pale blue tile, rather than a bright blue, combines beautifully with terra cotta-colored grout. Rather than a red and green combo, try soft pink with a pale green to explore the same color families but in a gentler pairing.

Gain some confidence about your color combos by creating a mock-up of your space with Spoak’s room visualization tool, and remember you can always try out grout and tile combos with a DIY tiling project. Starting small will make you feel more confident moving onto bigger tiling projects.

When You Want Your Grout To Be Invisible

Sometimes choosing the same color of the grout as the tile isn’t possible or won’t make your grout recede the way you want. Let’s look at a couple of tricky scenarios.

Choosing Grout for Seamless Marble Tile

When dealing with marble tile that you don’t want to look fragmented by grout lines, look for a grout color that best matches the veining in the marble. When in doubt between two colors, go lighter for the most uninterrupted marble patterning possible.

Make Wood Plank Tile Look Like Wood

Wood plank tiles aren’t fooling anybody when they have dark gray grout between them. For a more natural wood look, make tile spacing as close as possible and choose a color that appears in the “wood grain” of the tile.

Neutral Grout Is Still a Classic

After all of these less-than-traditional options meant to highlight new and bold designs, we need to put in a word for good, old neutral grout colors.

Let Neutral Grout Draw Attention To Tile Craftsmanship

A neutral medium-gray grout color can let the handcrafted nature of ceramics or encaustic tiles take center stage. If they were laid with ultra-white grout, they might look a tad manufactured; exceptionally dark grout would overpower the craftsmanship. Again, it’s all about balance!

A Neutral Color of Grout Hides a Multitude of Sins

When tiling a high-traffic area, neutral grout, like light gray grout or even silver gray, wear well and hide stains much better than a bright white grout would. This is never more true than with floor tiles.

Kitchen backsplashes, countertops, and bathrooms are notorious for mildew build-up on tiles. Medium-neutral grout colors work wonders to hide all of the grime of age.

Make Your Statement With Tile and Grout Color Combinations

Now you know all of the possible combinations of tile and grout for your next tiling project. Let Spoak’s design resources lend you confidence as you choose the right grout and the right tile for your space.

Photo Credit: (Left) Apartment Therapy


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Date Posted
May 16, 2023



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