How to Pair Grout

Posted by Anastasia Casey on

bathroom with white handcraft tile

Design by The Identite Collective | Photo by Madeline Harper

One of our most frequently asked questions is how to choose grout to pair with our tile. There is no perfect answer, but to get started, the first consideration is whether you want the grout match or contrast with the tile. The two options offer a very different aesthetic options (even with the same tile), so let's break down a few examples.

For the purpose of this exercise, we'll be pairing our tile with grout from the color palette at Mapei.

Matching Grout

When the grout color is chosen to be similar or complementary to the color of the tile, the effect is more subtle, cohesive, and even monochromatic. It's a good choice if you want the tile to take supportive role in the design of the room.

white kitchen with white subway tile

Design by Kate Marker Interiors | Photo by Stoffer Photography

In this classic white kitchen, the subway tile backsplash provides a bit of texture and durability, but isn't meant to stand out. The subtle color variations in the handcrafted tile provide many opportunities to chose grout color, but we especially like it with a warm taupe like 14 Biscuit.

Shop our similar style: Handcraft White


Design by W Design Collective | Photo by Lucy Call

A small mosaic will have many grout lines, so it's best to choose wisely. One consideration will be your tolerance for cleaning them, in which case the lightest colors might not be the wisest option. The color variation in the Calacatta Gold hexagon provides many options for a soft tonal look, like 105 Driftwood. As with any natural stone, there will be color variation from item to item, so it's best to choose your grout with tile in-hand.

Shop our similar style: Calacatta Gold 1" Hexagon

Design by Studio McGee | Photo by Lucy Call

Laid in a herringbone pattern, elongated subway tile is reminiscent is brick pathways, but smoother underfoot. This soft-toned tile is paired with a grout color that matches it almost like exactly (try 94 Straw) for a simple, polished look.

Shop our similar style: RTC Beige Limestone

Contrast Grout

Choosing a grout color that contrasts with your tile is an easy way to make a bold statement. Your tile shape will be more defined, so it stands out more against other decorative elements in a room. Think of a backsplash of classic white subway tile: With white grout it would feel textural and subtle, but with a dark color, it takes on a more graphic look.

bathroom with green tile

Design by House Seven 

When combining multiple styles and colors of tile, a uniform grout color can tie the design together. The three different colors here -- dark green, light green, and gray are all grouted with a soft white, which ties in with the bathtub and the adjoining white-painted vanity area. Try Mapei's 00 White color to recreate this look in your home.

Shop our similar style: Makoto Kumo Grey, RT Penny Silver Sage, Makoto Midori Green

Design by Rebecca Gibbs | Photo by Chad Zellner

Choosing a contrast grout color is a great option when you want the tile to make a strong decorative statement. In this Texas kitchen, the tile shape and color add so much movement and color to the space that it is difficult to imagine it any other way. To keep it tonal and not too jarring, the designer chose a grout that shows off the tile shape, but isn't bright white. For a similar show-stopping green look, try our Sorrento Verde tile with 102 Mint grout.

Shop our similar style: Sorrento Verde


Design by Mindy Gayer Design Co | Photo by Vanessa Letine

Contrast grout does not have to mean light or dark. In fact, a mid tone that pulls from the other shades in the room can have a lovely effect. Try 103 Cobblestone with our handcrafted blue tile.

Shop our similar style: Handcraft Baby Blue

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