What Color Grout to Use for Backsplash

Selecting the right grout color for your backsplash can really make or break the overall look and feel of your kitchen. The grout lines act as accents against the backsplash tiles, so you’ll want to choose a grout hue that complements both your tilework and the rest of your kitchen decor. There are a few key factors to take into consideration when deciding what color grout to use for your backsplash.

Choosing Between Contrasting or Blending Grout Colors

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want your grout lines to stand out from or blend in with your backsplash tiles. Both options have their merits:

Contrasting Grout

Going with a grout color that contrasts against the backsplash tiles creates definition between each tile. This helps accentuate the pattern and visual interest of the tile design. Dark grout lines are especially impactful against lighter tiles. The bold grout lines become part of the backsplash design itself.

Some examples of eye-catching contrasting grout colors include:

  • Black grout with white subway tiles
  • Navy blue grout with mint tiles
  • Charcoal gray grout with creamy travertine tiles

Contrasting grout works best for backsplashes with bolder or geometric tile designs. The darker grout lines outline each tile and add to the striking visual effect.

Blending Grout

Choosing a grout color that blends in with the tilework creates a unified, seamless look. The grout lines fade into the background, putting all the focus on the beauty of the tile itself. This works especially well for backsplashes with artistic tile designs, photos, or mosaics.

Some examples of harmonious blended grout colors include:

  • Beige grout with tan stone or travertine tiles
  • Soft gray grout with white marble or glass tiles
  • Teal grout with ocean-hued ceramic tiles

Blending grout allows ornately patterned tilework to really shine as the star of the backsplash, without the distraction of contrasting grout lines.

Factor #1: Tile Color

Obviously, the color of your backsplash tilework should be the starting point for selecting a coordinated grout hue. You’ll want to think about how the undertones, shades, and hues in your tiles work with potential grout colors.

Here are some pairings that tend to work well:

  • Warm-toned tiles (terra cotta, peach, yellow) with ivory, beige, or cream grout
  • Cool-toned tiles (light blue, sea green, lavender) with soft gray or white grout
  • Multicolored mosaic tiles with white or near-white grout
  • Richly-colored glass tiles with black, dark gray, or white grout
  • Natural stone tiles (granite, travertine) with beige or tan grout

Take a look at the full range of colors in your tilework. If there’s one dominant color, match the grout to those tones. For multicolored mosaics, a light neutral grout color tends to work best.

Factor #2: Cabinets and Countertops

You’ll also want to evaluate how the grout color will look alongside your existing kitchen cabinetry and countertops.

For example, if your cabinets are an unfinished wood or weathered gray color, an off-white or light gray grout will likely complement them best. With crisp white cabinets, you have more flexibility to go bold with a deep charcoal or navy blue grout if desired.

Beige, cream, or brown grout is a foolproof option for pairing with granite, butcher block, or stained wood countertops. Aim for a grout shade that shares similar depth of tone and warmth to establish visual harmony.

Factor #3: Overall Kitchen Aesthetic and Style

Take stock of the intended look and feel of your kitchen. Is it sleek and modern? Rustic farmhouse chic? Traditional with classic detailing?

Your kitchen’s overall aesthetic should help guide your grout decision. Here are some style-specific recommendations:

  • Contemporary: Charcoal, black, or white grout adds sharp definition. Avoid beige grout lines which can look too dated.
  • Rustic Farmhouse: Creamy off-whites, light grays, and soft browns blend in for a cozy look.
  • Traditional: Classic white grout suits ornate tilework. Beige and tan also keep up an elegant, timeless look.
  • Cottage: Ivory or very light gray grout enhances vintage charm. Avoid stark white or black grout contrasts.
  • Coastal: Soft gray or white grout suits beachy blues and greens. Add visual interest with a hint of darker gray.

Grout Color Ideas for Popular Backsplash Tile Types

Here are some fail-safe grout color pairings for some of the most popular backsplash tile materials:

Subway Tile Backsplashes

The rectangular shape of classic white subway tiles calls for a grout color that outlines each tile discretely. Gray, black, and cream grout all accentuate these tiles handsomely. Steer clear of matching bright white grout for subway layouts.

Marble or Stone Backsplashes

For marble, travertine, or other stone tile backsplashes in creamy beiges and browns, use a grout color that matches closely to the lightest color in the stone. This keeps the grout lines subtle. Soft gray can also work well.

Mosaic Tile Backsplashes

With multi-colored mosaic sheets or artistic tile designs, choose a neutral grout color so as not to compete. Soft white, very light gray, or ivory grout enhances without overpowering.

Glass Tile Backsplashes

Reflective glass tile backsplashes look best with white or black grout. Stay away from beige, brown, and cream grout hues that can muddy the brilliance of the glass.

Grout Color Choices by Space

Here are some handy grout guidelines for backsplashes in different kitchen spaces:

Backsplashes Behind Stovetops

For heavy-duty cooking zones, avoid light cream grout hues which will more readily show stains. Go for black, charcoal, or white instead for durable heat resistance and easy cleanup.

Backsplashes in Eat-In Dining Areas

Create an appetizing backdrop in dining zones with soft, blending grout hues like beige, soft gray, or ivory.

Full-Height Backsplashes as a Design Statement

For backsplashes that extend all the way from countertops to ceiling, make the grout lines part of the design impact with contrast colors like black, navy, or charcoal.

Backsplashes Behind Bar Areas

Create visual interest in home bar areas. Contrasting grout lines in bold charcoal or deep brown can look especially striking.

Choosing the Right Grout Width

The width of the grout lines can also influence the look of your backsplash. Here are some guidelines on grout joint size based on tile type and layout:

  • Small mosaic tiles: 1/16-inch grout width
  • Standard square ceramic tiles: 1/8-inch width
  • Handmade artisan tiles: 1/4-inch width or wider
  • Subway tile bricks: 1/8-inch width
  • Large format tiles: 3/16-inch width or wider

Wider grout lines add more of an impact and work better with bolder grout colors. Narrow grout channels have a more subtle effect for blending in. Make sure to follow any grout width guidelines recommended for your specific tile product.

Sealing Grout Lines

It’s important to properly seal grout lines after installation to avoid staining and having to re-grout down the road. Use a penetrating sealer for natural stone tiles. For ceramic, porcelain, or glass tiles, a topical sealer works fine.

Re-apply sealer on grout lines annually or biannually to maintain protection. Sealing goes a long way in keeping grout lines looking freshly cleaned.

Maintaining Your Backsplash Grout

With regular upkeep, your grout lines can stay looking like new for years. Here are some grout maintenance tips:

  • Vacuum or sweep over backsplash weekly to remove dirt and debris that can get lodged in grout joints.
  • Mix baking soda and water into a spreadable paste and rub gently over grout lines. Let sit briefly before rinsing and drying. The baking soda naturally breaks down grime.
  • For stubborn stains in porous grout, use a soft-bristled grout brush and concentrated grout cleaner or bleach. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
  • Re-seal grout annually or biannually per manufacturer instructions. Apply new grout sealer evenly across grout lines.

Proper grout sealing and cleaning keeps discoloration at bay. Be sure to use only grout-safe cleaners, avoiding anything acidic or abrasive. With the right maintenance, your backsplash grout can always look freshly applied.

Grout Color Considerations and Conclusion

Choosing what color grout to use for a backsplash is an important design decision. Contrasting grout makes the tile pattern pop, while blended grout highlights the tile itself. Consider the tile color, overall kitchen decor, countertops, and cabinetry when selecting the ideal grout hue. Be sure to seal and maintain the grout to keep your backsplash looking flawless. With so many grout colors to choose from, you can find the perfect accent tone to make your backsplash vision come to life.

FAQ About Choosing Grout Color for Backsplashes

Choosing the right grout color for your new backsplash can be tricky. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on selecting the best grout hue:

Is white grout a good choice?

White grout provides nice contrast against darker colored tiles in contemporary kitchens. It can also blend in well with white marble. However, white grout needs vigilant cleaning to avoid looking dingy over time.

What color grout is best for kitchens?

For kitchen backsplashes, versatile neutral grout colors like gray, ivory, or beige work well. These colors resist staining and hide dirt easily. White grout also suits kitchen backsplashes nicely.

Can I mix different grout colors?

It’s better to use just one grout color for visual cohesion. Using two different grout colors can make the tilework look patchy or create an odd color combination.

Should I match grout to tile or cabinet color?

Aim to have the grout complement both the tile and cabinetry equally. Factor in undertones from tiles, countertops, floors, and paint colors when choosing a harmonious grout hue.

How do I choose grout with multi-colored tile?

For multi-colored mosaic tiles or blends of glass tiles, a light neutral grout like soft white or very light gray allows the brilliance of the tiles to take center stage.

What color grout goes with dark cabinets?

Dark charcoal cabinets pair nicely with crisp white grout. For darker wood cabinetry, match a beige or grayish brown grout color for a coordinated look.

Can I use sanded grout for backsplash?

Sanded grout is too porous and rough for use on backsplashes. Stick to unsanded grout instead, which offers an ultra-smooth finish perfect for kitchen tilework.

Selecting the ideal grout color to coordinate with your backsplash tilework and overall kitchen style provides that perfect finishing design touch.


The grout color you choose for your backsplash can make or break the overall aesthetic. Take your time in selecting a hue that complements your tilework and kitchen decor. Contrasting grout calls attention to the tile pattern, while blended grout unifies the look seamlessly. Consider style elements like cabinets, countertops, and the intended kitchen design when weighing your color options. And don’t forget the importance of proper grout sealing and maintenance in keeping your backsplash looking freshly installed for years to come. With the right grout color choice and upkeep, your backsplash can be a stunning focal point of your kitchen.