Choosing the right grout color for your backsplash can make all the difference in your kitchen or bathroom design. The grout acts as the mortar between the tiles and takes up a significant portion of the visible area, so you’ll want to make sure you select a shade that complements your tile and overall space. Follow this comprehensive guide on how to pick the ideal grout color for your backsplash installation.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Grout Color
Several key factors go into determining the best grout color for your backsplash:
Tile Color and Pattern
The first thing to look at is the color and pattern of your backsplash tiles. You want the grout to complement the tiles rather than compete with them.
- For solid colored tiles, match the grout color as closely as possible to the tile color. This will give a continuous, seamless look.
- With patterned tiles, choose a grout color that matches one of the colors in the pattern. This will enhance the pattern.
- For multi-colored tiles, consider a neutral grout color like gray or beige so as not to distract from the tile colors.
- With stone tiles like marble or travertine, match the grout to the lightest shade in the stone.
Overall Design Scheme
Also think about the overall look you want for the space when selecting grout.
- Match grout to countertops or cabinets for a cohesive aesthetic.
- For a vintage style, use white or off-white grout.
- Choose a dark grout with dark countertops or floors for a bold contemporary vibe.
- Consider a contrasting grout color to make the tile pattern stand out.
Type of Space
The function of the space should guide your grout decision.
- For kitchen backsplashes, avoid very light grout that will stain easily and go with an epoxy or sealed grout.
- In bathrooms, match the grout to the tiles since there will be moisture and steam.
- For high traffic areas, use a dark grout that won’t show dirt or grime.
Grout Colors for Popular Tile Types
Here are suggested grout colors for some of the most common types of backsplash tiles:
Subway tiles are classic white 3×6 glossy ceramic tiles arranged in a stacked pattern. They have a timeless look.
- White grout matches the tile and gives a clean uniform appearance.
- Gray grout adds subtle contrast and a more modern vibe.
- Cream or beige grout has a vintage feel.
Marble backsplashes have beautiful natural patterning and veining.
- White grout lets the marble be the star and highlights the veining.
- Gray or beige grout also complements marble well.
- Match the lightest color in the marble for a seamless look.
Travertine has earthy tones and holes/pits that give it a rustic appeal.
- Beige or ivory grout works best with light travertine stone.
- For darker travertine, use a brown or gray grout.
- Stay away from bright white grout, which will make the holes obvious.
Glass mosaic tiles have a shiny, sleek look and reflect light beautifully.
- Use white or very light grout to contrast with glossy glass tile.
- Clear glass can be matched with nearly any grout color.
- With multi-colored glass, choose a neutral grout hue.
Metal backsplashes like copper, stainless steel, or tin have an industrial vibe.
- Match the grout color to the metal exactly for a clean look.
- White or light gray grout also pairs well and makes the metal pop.
- Charcoal grout can complement dark finishes like aged copper.
Pros and Cons of Grout Colors
Consider the practical pros and cons of different grout colors for your backsplash:
- Brightens the space with a clean, fresh look.
- Matches many tile types and styles.
- Easy to find white pre-mixed grout.
- Shows dirt easily.
- Needs frequent sealing to stay white.
- Can stain in kitchen from foods/oils.
- Creates a modern, sleek statement.
- Disguises dirt and doesn’t need frequent cleaning.
- Can look dated if style trends change.
- Shows imperfections like uneven tile edges.
- Needs sealing to prevent discoloration.
- Works with nearly any color tile or design aesthetic.
- More staining/discoloration resistant than white.
- Provides soft contrast against tile colors.
- Lacks vibrancy of pure white grout.
- Dark gray can still show dirt if unsealed.
- Warm, natural color complements stone tiles.
- Softens hard surfaces like glass, metal or porcelain.
- Hides dirt better than white.
- Fades more easily than darker grout when exposed to sun.
- Requires re-sealing over time.
- Can make dark tiles look dirty if too light.
Mixing Grout Colors
Using two grout colors in your backsplash can create visual interest:
- Combine black and white grout in a checkerboard pattern.
- Use dark grout on the outer border with lighter grout on inner section.
- Alternate rows of different colored grout.
- Distinguish the main field tiles from the accent tiles with different grout.
- Highlight a decorative mosaic inset with contrasting grout color.
When mixing grout colors:
- Make sure there is enough contrast between the colors.
- Consider how the colors will look as they age. Darker grout lasts longer.
- Use a grout bag for easier, cleaner grouting with two colors.
Choosing the Right Type of Grout
Besides color, you’ll need to pick the right type of grout for your backsplash and tiles:
Sanded vs. Unsanded Grout
Sanded grout has fine sand particles added for strength. It’s used for joints wider than 1/8 inch. Unsanded grout is best for thin grout lines under 1/8 inch.
This inexpensive grout uses a Portland cement base. Common for floors but stains easily.
Epoxy grouts have a resin base that makes them super durable and stain-resistant. Great for kitchens.
Contains latex polymers for improved adhesion and resistance to cracking. Costs more than cement grout.
Always check that the type of grout matches the spacing of your tile joints and is suitable for a backsplash location.
Top Grout Color Recommendations
Based on all the factors discussed, here are my top recommended grout colors for backsplashes:
Best White Grout Colors
- Snow White
- Extra White
- Nano White
Crisp bright whites that stay clean looking. Snow and Extra White have finer particles for a smooth finish. Nano White contains nanoparticles for maximum stain resistance.
Best Gray Grout Colors
- Winter Fog
Cool grays that work with any style. Silverado has a hint of brown. Thunderstorm is a charcoal gray. Winter Fog is a soft, pale gray.
Best Beige Grout Colors
- Sandy Buff
Warm, flexible beige tones. Canvas is a creamy medium-tone beige. Khaki has a greenish-brown tinge. Sandy Buff is a light brownish-beige.
Best Black Grout Colors
- Black Plum
Deep classic black grouts. Midnight has a blue undertone. Licorice is a true black. Black Plum has a dark purple-black look.
Grout Color Dos and Don’ts
Keep these grout color tips in mind:
- Test grout colors on a spare tile before doing the whole backsplash.
- Consider the style of the rest of the home when choosing grout color.
- Clean and seal grout regularly to maintain the color and performance.
- Use epoxy or polymer grout for wet areas like behind sinks or stoves.
- Mix different grout colors on the same line or row. Keep any color changes on grout joint borders.
- Apply dark grout with bright white tiles unless you want a stark contrast.
- Use unsanded grout for joints wider than 1/8 inch—it will crack.
- Forget to wipe down excess grout from the tiles before it dries and hardens.
Frequently Asked Questions About Grout Color Selection
What’s the most popular grout color for backsplashes?
White grout is the most commonly used color, as it matches any style of tile and provides a clean, bright look. Soft gray grouts are also popular for their versatility.
Should I match grout color to my tiles?
In most cases, yes, it’s best to match or coordinate the grout color with the tile color for a cohesive look. However, sometimes a contrasting grout can make the tile pattern pop.
How do I choose a grout color for multicolored mosaic tiles?
For mosaic tiles with multiple colors, use a neutral beige or gray grout color so as not to compete with the tile colors. Stay away from bright white grout.
Can I use different grout colors on my backsplash?
You can get creative and use two different grout colors on your backsplash. Just keep the color change at the grout joint line for the best effect.
**Should I seal my grout? **
Sealing is recommended for all backsplash grout to prevent staining and discoloration, especially in the kitchen. Sealants formulated for grout will protect from moisture and grease. Reapply sealer periodically.
Choosing the right grout color may seem like a purely aesthetic decision, but consider all the functional factors as well. The color should work cohesively with your tiles, design, and lifestyle needs. Don’t be afraid to get creative and play with different grout colors. Just make sure to seal and maintain the grout properly. With the guidelines above on how to pick the perfect grout color for your backsplash, you can achieve a stunning, long-lasting finish.