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Should Grout Be Darker Than Tile?

Should Grout Be Darker Than Tile?

Whether grout should be darker than tile or not depends heavily on style preference and where your tile is located.

Grout doesn’t have to match your tile, it can be darker. This decision is a design decision.

Read on for information on how to decide if dark grout is a good option for you’re future tile work.

Reasons For Darker Grout

You might choose a darker grout for many reasons. Dark grout can show off the design of your tile more, particularly with a light tile. Some styles of tile like subway tile traditionally have a light tile matched with dark grout.

You can use a darker grout to bring out darker shades found in multi-colored tiles like marbled tile. Otherwise, you risk the marbling fading into the background.

Darker grout is also more practical in some situations. High-traffic areas prone to stains will do better with a darker grout.

I would never suggest light grout on a shower floor since water will rust light grout. Areas near entryways or garages and similar messy areas of your home should have darker grout since it won’t pick up stains.

Of course, this is all assuming your tile isn’t dark to begin with. When your tile is dark or black, a dark grout can help give a seamless look that doesn’t stand out too much, much like a light grout with light tile.

A gray tile with a grout that is similar in shade or just a bit darker will let you have a subdued look that doesn’t completely hide the design of the tiles.

When used with colorful tile, a darker grout can keep it from taking over space. It gives it a more subdued look that many prefer. If the color is a darker shade, this also lets it look more seamless, much like light tile and light grout.

Personally, I think a dark grout with a colored tile can make a room feel a bit more intimate and cozy.

If you have a lighter tile with an interesting shape, a darker grout will highlight the shape better and let it pop. If you also went to the effort of an interesting installation like a white subway tile in a herringbone pattern, I would suggest a dark grout so your hard work is appreciated.

Dark grout also works nicely in homes with an emphasis on black and white.

A white tile with a dark gray or black grout will give a dramatic look that works well with this style.

My favorite reason for dark grout is the ease of cleaning. Most places I lived came with light grout that I had to scrub with a toothbrush and it still looked filthy.

If you hate cleaning grout as much as I do, dark grout won’t stain as badly or show as much dirt in general!

Reasons Against Darker Grout

I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased towards darker grout. However, not everyone is me!

Some reasons to like light grout are how it blends nicely with lighter tile. If you love the minimalist look, a lighter grout will make your tile look much more seamless than a dark grout that draws attention to itself.

If you don’t want your tile to be the focus of your room, a light grout works well. This is best with light or white tile. Having your grout be just slightly lighter than your tile is the best way to make your grout disappear from notice.

If you are looking for tile for its ease of cleaning but don’t want the tile to take over, I’d suggest going with a lighter grout.

Lighter grout also gives a bigger pop when you have colorful tile. The contrast between a bright tile and a light grout really pops and gives homes a cheerful air. A darker grout would make that same tile feel more subdued.

If you have a light tile with a crackled glaze or similar effects, a dark grout can stain your tiles. This is a risk even with a smooth glaze. Grout release or sealing the tiles can help, but some may not want to deal with the headache and stick with a lighter grout.

For darker tiles, white or light grout will give the biggest pop. If you don’t want to hide the tile pattern, go with the contrasting grout color. You could even go with a colored grout for a more unique look.

Darker grout with light tile will also make the pattern your tile was installed in more important than the design of the tile itself. If you want to show off the tile, a lighter grout may be better.

What Color Of Grout Is Easier To Clean?

In general, darker grout is easier to clean. Even with sealing, light grout can darken, discolor, or stain over time. Dark grout hides stains and keeps your space looking cleaner.

If you want less maintenance of your grout, darker tends to be better. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself scrubbing and bleaching your grout to deal with stains. For kitchens, showers, and high traffic areas like entryways, darker grout works better. For families with kids, lighter grout is just asking for stains.

Flooring tends to do better with darker grout since many things your family might track in can stain your grout. Near a garage is a very poor place for a light grout, giving the risk of grease and motor oil staining your grout.

What color grout is best for a kids bathroom?

If you have children of potty training age, you know that pee doesn’t always make it in the potty. This is especially true for boys! (Even through the teenage years…Yuck!)

A light grout will show a yellow stain for every drop of pee that trickles its way to the floor.

Do yourself a favor and consider a darker color grout in the children’s bathroom. You will save yourself the added stress of trying to bleach the grout lines every other day.


There is no right or wrong color choice for grout. It is entirely up to your design preference and you don’t have to use the same color throughout the house.

You can use a light grout or one that matches the tile color in areas where you want the tile to appear seamless.

Use a darker grout against a light tile in areas where you want the pattern or tile design to pop.

There is no wrong decision here. Just know, lighter grout is harder to keep clean but darker grout can show imperfections. Go with what you like best!

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Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.