What Color Grout for White Subway Tile Backsplash

Choosing the right grout color for a white subway tile backsplash can make all the difference in your kitchen or bathroom design. The grout lines act as accents against the white tiles and can bring visual interest, dimension and style to your space. Careful consideration of the overall design, adjoining colors and personal preference will ensure you select the ideal grout to complement your white subway tiles.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Grout Color

When selecting a grout color for white subway tile, keep the following factors in mind:

Overall Design and Color Scheme

What is the dominant color palette in the kitchen or bathroom? Cool grays and blues or warm taupes and browns? Strong, intensified colors or soft, muted hues? The grout color should integrate seamlessly into the overall design plan.

Type of Tile

Subway tiles have thin grout lines between each tile. Dark grout against the white tiles can look bold and graphic. Lighter grout keeps the focus on the tiles. Consider the look you want to achieve.

Tile Size

Smaller 3×6 subway tiles with thin grout lines call for a matching bright white or lighter gray grout color. Larger tiles can handle a stronger grout color with wider grout lines.

Personal Style

Keep your own personal color preferences and style in mind. Choose a grout shade you are comfortable looking at daily that reflects your style.


The way light hits the tile work will affect the grout color. Flooded with natural light, bright white grout keeps the space open and breezy. Lower light calls for softer grout colors so lines don’t disappear.

Best Grout Colors for White Subway Tiles

Here are the most popular and recommended grout color choices for white subway tile:


Matching bright white grout is a common choice with white subway tile. This keeps the focus on the tile and gives a clean, crisp look. Use a white latex or epoxy grout for easier maintenance. Be aware that white grout will show dirt and need frequent cleaning.

Light Gray

Various shades of light gray are a top choice with white subway tiles. Gray adds subtle contrast and allows the white tiles to pop while introducing a contemporary vibe. Light gray minimizes noticeable dirt and stains on the grout lines.

Medium Gray

For more contrast, go for medium gray grout with bright white tiles. This creates an eye-catching graphic look, with the gray lines breaking up the white tiles. Use a gray latex or epoxy grout for easy upkeep.

Dark Gray or Charcoal

Make a bold statement with dark charcoal or black grout lines between gleaming white tiles. This high-contrast look is modern and sleek but requires extra grout cleaning efforts. Use a specialty epoxy grout for dark colors.


Warm up the space and tie into beige countertops with a beige, bisque or light tan grout. Softer than bright white grout, beige adds subtle neutral contrast against white tiles. Beige grout is easier to keep clean than white.


Slightly warmer than white, cream grout adds a soothing, elegant touch against white subway tiles. Cream has a more traditional vibe but provides less contrast than beige. Use a grout colorant or epoxy cream grout for protected color.

Pro Tips for Grout Selection

Follow these expert tips for choosing the perfect grout with white subway tile:

  • View tile samples with different grout colors in the space and lighting for the most accurate representation.
  • For small tile with thin grout lines, match the grout color to the tile as closely as possible.
  • Consider a brighter white tile if you want a pure, clean look with bright white grout. Natural white tiles may skew cream against white grout.
  • If the tiles have gray undertones, pair with a light gray or cream grout.
  • In wet areas, use an epoxy or color-sealed grout for maximum stain resistance and easier maintenance.
  • For a contemporary look, pair white tile with pure black or dark charcoal grout.
  • Don’t overlook soft forrest green or sky blue grout for a unique pop of color.

Pairing Grout and White Subway Tiles in the Kitchen

So you’ve decided on classic white subway tile backsplash for the kitchen. Now it’s time to coordinate the perfect grout color. Keep these tips in mind:

Match Grout to Countertops

Match beige grout to beige countertops or cream to cream counters to create a cohesive look. Gray, white or black grout also pairs beautifully with white countertops like quartz.

Consider the Cabinets

Coordinate grout with cabinetry as well. For white cabinets or painted cabinets, choose a white, gray, or beige grout. With wood cabinets, stick to white or beige grout.

Factor in Flooring

Look at your kitchen flooring color too. For light floors, white or gray grout is ideal with white subway tiles. On dark floors, pop with a contrasting bright white grout.

Envision the Overall Vibe

For an airy cottage or coastal feel, use white grout. Gray grout lends modern style, while beige creates a more traditional look. Charcoal grout makes a contemporary statement.

Take Lighting into Account

Under-cabinet lighting or limited natural light calls for soft beige or cream grout. Lots of natural sunshine keeps white or gray grout bright.

Combining Grout and White Subway Tiles in the Bathroom

White subway tiles make a classic, timeless backsplash in bathrooms. Choosing the right grout hue comes down to the overall color scheme. Keep these recommendations in mind:

Grout for an All-White Scheme

For an airy, open all-white bathroom design, opt for bright white grout. Use epoxy grout for easy maintenance and bright white color.

Grout to Match Walls

If the bathroom walls are painted or tiled in light gray, pair with matching soft gray grout and white tiles. Echo beige walls with beige grout.

Grout that Works with Cabinets

Coordinate white or gray grout with white cabinets. For wood cabinets, use beige, light tan or gray grout.

Grout that Highlights Countertops

White or gray grout complements white countertops like quartz or solid surface. For granite or marble, use white or beige grout.

Grout that Fits the Tile Size

Smaller tiles and thin grout lines call for white or light gray grout. Wider grout lines around larger tiles can handle darker gray, beige or even black grout.

Grout Maintenance Tips

Grout stays cleaner and reduces staining with proper care. Follow these maintenance tips:

  • Use a grout sealer on cement grout and reapply yearly. Look for epoxy grout or grout color sealant that doesn’t require sealing.
  • Clean grout routinely with a homemade spray of hydrogen peroxide and water.
  • Scrub mildew immediately with baking soda and water paste.
  • Re-caulk corners and edges when needed to prevent moisture and dirt from infiltrating grout.
  • Avoid oil-based cleaners and whitening toothpaste which can break down grout.
  • Check manufacturer instructions for recommended cleaners. Many tiles require only water and mild soap.

Achieve the Perfect Backsplash with Smart Grout Selection

Choosing the right grout color takes some consideration but is worth the effort. Matching white, light gray, medium gray, dark gray, beige, cream or even black grout with classic white subway tiles in your backsplash creates a whole new look. Take into account the overall design, adjoining elements and lighting to select the ideal grout color for your space and style. Proper grout sealing and maintenance will keep your backsplash looking like new for years of beauty and convenience in your home. With the right grout color choice, your lovely white subway tiled backsplash will be a delight!