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The Best Grout Colour for White Tile

By 09/21/2020January 11th, 202477 Comments

I get asked a lot about the best grout colour for white tile. Find out what paint colour I recommended matching up to get a grout colour that will look best with your white tile for years to come.

How to make a conversation about grout colour interesting? Well, you add an adorable baby to the post, that’s how 🙂

Yes I’m slowly showing you more of Kelly’s renovation (she’s our design assistant on maternity leave). Today we’re getting a closer look at her master bedroom and ensuite!

These are the two remaining spaces that are left to show you in Kelly’s newly renovated home before the entire reveal. Her classic and timeless master bathroom and I’m including a few photos of her master bedroom.

Luke was just around 6 months old when these photos were taken, the perfect age for some nudie pics 🙂

Kelly’s Master Bedroom

I posted the nursery a few weeks ago here. Here’s the master bedroom:

Rug no longer available similar here and here | Mirror, similar here and here

I do love how her area rug picks up the blues and greens on the bed and the plaid sheets add a lovely pattern-mixing vibe!

Swing arm Lamp | Similar here and here

Kelly’s Ensuite

And it flows beautifully into the ensuite.

If you moved into a house with 2″ hex tile on the floor and subway tile on the wall, you would not feel compelled to renovate it anytime soon would you? 

Remember how Kelly decorated with black in her other bathroom here? 

And sconces on each side of the mirror is usually a better idea than a bar light since attractive bar lights are few and far between.

Sconce light fixture here and here 

As you can see by the before photo, Kelly and Mike changed the footprint of this bathroom.

Mirror, similar here 

I really like cross-handle faucets, somehow they feel more original and vintage.

Millenium faucet | Margaux faucet | Cassidy faucet (above) | Heritage faucet

Best Grout Colour for White Tile

And now to grout colours which I get asked about a lot, so here’s a hot tip:

For white tile floors, I often specify grout that matches the colour of natural stone (below). This is because I have been in hundreds of bathrooms over the years that were filled with white tile and yes, you guessed it, dirty white grout.

And because the ONLY fixed colour in those dated, white bathrooms WAS in fact the dirty grout, I often chose a green beige or a green grey paint colour to make it look less bad.

Here is one of my large colour samples from my Core Collection. It’s the one you’d pull out if you need to match the colour of stone.

Photos by Macy Yap Photography

And yes, it’s true that you can remove grout and replace it again, but in many cases, that is not going to happen. So we ended up solving the problem with a coordinating paint colour instead.

So I’m thinking, if you start with an overall grey (slightly dirty looking) colour grout to begin with, then it looks way better for a lot longer.

Unless you use epoxy grout. That stays white a lot longer.

Here’s one more pic of Luke!

Over to you my lovelies! What’s your take on Epoxy grout? Have you replaced the dingy grout in your bathrooms or backsplash?

If you’d like help coordinating your bathroom finishes and colours, check out my Create a Classic Bathroom package here.

Related posts:

The Rule of More (When shopping for bathroom fixtures) 

Transform your Bathroom with a Shower Curtain

80s Cream Bathroom Refresh; Before & After

8138 pins


  • Alexis L says:

    We used epoxy grout in multiple bathrooms, and I wouldn’t do it again. It’s a totally different application procedure than normal grout, and most tilers have never used it, and they had a terrible time working with it. Maybe because of that, the application wasn’t super smooth so I find it gets dirty similar to regular grout. It’s also drying out and cracking in places just like regular grout, so overall I found it to be an extra expense and headache with no benefit. I would never do it again unless my tile layer specifically recommended it and had experience with it.

    • Lynn Forbes says:

      I had the same experience. I chose white Thassos marble for the floor with black chiclete tile around the perimeter. No matter what I did I could not keep tile or grout clean. I had the grout replaced with epoxy and had the same issue. Never again.

  • Anne Elise Hudson says:

    i have regrouted a shower for purely practical reasons (the grout was so cracked that the shower leaked); the tile was 1″ square, and even though it was a small stall shower, the job took forever. The bathroom was subsequently remodeled (white subway tile and classic marble tile floor, SO much better), and all that tile went to the dump – no loss.

    I shudder at the thought of replacing grout for aesthetic reasons only. It is SUCH a chore.

    • Tamara says:

      I chose large scale subway tile when we had to redo the shower. We chose white epoxy grout, and it’s held up beautifully for three years now, but it isn’t on the floor. It’s only on easier to clean shower walls.

      • Just curious, what did you do for the new shower floor? (I have a tiled shower floor that I’m concerned may begin leaking at some point, but I’m loathe to do all the tile rip-out labour since the whole damn bathroom is tiled. But I fantasize about a floor that’s one continuous piece for easier maintenance even though it doesn’t look as nice. I’d love to know what you settled on.

  • B says:

    Here’s my story: I installed white subway tile in my kitchen (backsplash) and used white grout (the regular kind, not epoxy). For the first while it looked really nice. But over time, it began to yellow. Nothing I did would clean it. It wasn’t even dirty, it just changed colour. So, I got a grout refresher in a darker grey (which goes with the rest of my kitchen anyway) and applied it over the white grout. Looks so much better. It freshened up my kitchen, still looks timeless and I can use it to touch up any areas in the future that are hard to clean. Highly recommend it. I will NEVER use white grout again, anywhere.

    • Patti Wright says:

      Our builder used epoxy grout. I have not noticed a difference. It has gotten dirty looking in spite of the hours spent cleaning it. I think its just the nature of grout in general.

      • Maria Killam says:

        Fascinating that this post is conflicting. Some people don’t like it and other do! I’m glad I wrote about this, educational for everyone, I love how my readers always move the conversation forward in the comments! Thanks everyone! I love my readers 🙂

        • Cynthia says:

          Love the idea of coordinating the grout color to the wall color. This concept works great for a small or large bathroom. I have struggled with this on previous design consultations – knew it in my gut but felt weird “working with dingy grout” as inspiration for wall color. Thanks!

  • Karen says:

    I have 6 inch square white tile and started outed out with white grout. It has since been touched up with a light tan using one of the pen things. So much better!

    • Angela Foster says:

      I have 6 inch square tile on the floor in the bathrooms of the house we bought. I’m replacing cream counters and thermawrap cabinet doors but I was hoping to keep the floors and just make them look better somehow. So this is encouraging.

  • Karen says:

    Hi Maria,
    Love the cute baby pics! 😊 So with the posted bathroom, what stone were you matching it to? What is your experience with epoxy grout? Thanks Maria!

    • Jessica says:

      I had white grout with white tile for a bathroom floor I had while growing up and being a clean freak I was always using bleach to keep it white. It worked though but was a lot of work. I have a friend who has used white epoxy grout but it has yellowed over time and is rather unattractive now… Having lived in places with tile floors throughout the house I would certainly recommend using the darker grout instead of white grout but I never knew what to choose specifically for that purpose. What was the color you were recommending that looks like stone?

  • Nancy says:

    we use epoxy grout but still don’t do white grout …
    Love that Baby priceless .!!
    Her new bathroom is turning out beautiful.
    And love the bedroom too !
    Thank you for sharing

    • Sean says:

      The only thing that will keep thassos clean is constant sealing the material. Also, if you use the wrong cleaners they will remove the sealer and the material will stain. Glass Thassos which is a crystallized poured material will not stain but can scratch. Also grout refresh by Mapei can be relatively easily applied and fix stained grout.

  • Diana says:

    No opinion on epoxy grout, but that baby is deliciously adorable!!

  • Kate says:

    I just selected grout colors for our bathroom remodel. For the white subway tile on the shower walls I selected a white (slightly off-white) grout and for the marble basketweave floors I selected the closest color match to the color of the stone. Cabinetry and countertop are white too but I’ve already picked a nice blue green wall color and some fun, colorful decor and accessories. Thank you Maria for your blog advice, e-books and e-design services. I found it helpful when going to a design showroom to not be distracted by ALL of the options and only focus on the timeless ones. There are still a lot of options and choices when just sticking to those!

  • Tina says:

    I like the warm gray color grout. I think its made by Mapei? you can get it premixed with sealer and everything added already. We use it with any tile, it has a nice contrast with light or dark.

    • Cici says:

      Hi Tina: Do you know which Mapei grout color is shown in Kelly’s bathroom? Thank you!

    • Shelly says:

      We used an epoxy grout in a silver grey color that I feared was too light but it looks great. Have not been thrilled with the durability – cracking has been an issue. But I find it cleans up well. Hubby thought epoxy meant the grout would magically stay clean with zero effort! 🙄

  • Noni says:

    I have also painted grout with great success! I was discouraged with how dirty my “alabaster” color epoxy grout looked on my bathroom floor tiles after only a few months and felt like it performed no differently than normal grout. I had some leftover BM Thunder in Advance paint, painted the lines with a regular brush and just wiped any overage off the tiles. It worked like a dream and a year later still looks like new, which the epoxy didn’t.

    • Norma Fournier says:

      Great to know Noni! About 10 years ago I sat on the floor and used sanded grout colorant to change the grout in the house we bought. It almost broke my back! Sounds easier to use the Advance and just wipe it off the tile.

    • Annie says:

      Same, but I actually just painted everything, tile and grout. Bath surround, Shower walls (not floor), kitchen backsplash, fireplace surround. The last owners must have had a surplus of 1×2 tuscan brown tile and put it EVERYWHERE. Is it perfect? No, but has held up surprisingly well, even in a wet shower!! It has also saved me the cost of replacing all that tile…at least until I am ready to do so.

  • Karen says:

    I just noticed the step in shower with a shower curtain, not a glass door! I love that! I’m afraid of glass doors but I wasn’t sure if a shower curtain would be “right” with a shower like this. I see that it is. 😊

  • Lynn says:

    There are several products that can be added to grout mixture that prevent mildew, mold and discoloration. We had one bathroom done a few years ago. The white grout around the white subway tile looks brand new even now- easy to clean.

  • Stacee says:

    Hi Maria!

    When we built our house over 3 years ago, I used 2″ hex tiles for the floors and white subway for the shower walls and also the wall behind the vanity (thank you!!!).
    We used Fusion Pro (an acrylic grout) in natural gray, which is a gray green, everywhere except in the shower. In the shower, I used the same brand of grout but in white because in a previous house, I used the darker gray and it turned white with hard water stains, which bugged me.

    Well, the white didn’t work either as it turned dingy on the floor mostly where we entered the shower (the walls are just fine!). We ended up scratching out the entire floor (Omg what a huge pain as they are hex tiles and the shower is fairly large) and replacing it with the natural gray. Actually in both our showers!

    I am much happier now, however I still do have some staining in areas from the shower spray cleaner I use, but it still looks better than dingy white!
    So in my experience, even the white grouts that are supposed to be stain resistant will stain! I will never use white grout for floors again!

  • GILDA says:


  • DebC says:

    My white epoxy grout looks great after one year. I have it in our bathroom both on the floor and inside the shower. The tile contractor was very experienced and knew what he was doing. No regrets.

  • Kay says:

    In our bathroom 15 years ago, we used white one inch hex tile on the floors, with grey “flowers,” and light grey two inch square tile on the shower walls and counter. The grout was light grey, so it looks darker against the white and lighter against the grey tiles. It’s been great, still looks good. If I were remodeling, which is not going to happen, I’d use subway tile in the shower. But probably keep the hex tile on the floor because it has held up so well.

  • Mary Mary says:

    I’ve owned 30 rental properties since the late 80’s and decided at my first renovation that white grout was insane, and have been using stone or gray grouts with white tile for bathroom walls, floors and backsplashes ever since. Best decision ever!

    • Edwina says:

      Thank you for posting this. We are renovating our guest bath. We will rent this house out in a few years. So I’ve been so torn to do porcelain marble white/grey floors and shower with white grout. Sounds like this would be a nightmare. So maybe need to do white tile with grey or stone grout. Although I don’t know that I like that look. Oh. What to do?

  • Char says:

    Love your posts Maria. I just wanted to add that with respect to the sconce lighting, it is more flattering to the face than the ‘above the mirror’ lighting. Light from above creates shadows on the face whereas the light from the lower sconces shines directly on the face…much nicer!

    • Maria Killam says:

      It certainly is better to have sconces on either side but it’s tricky to measure in advance (you MUST have chosen your lights in advance) which is why I think a lot of people just put up a bar light! Maria

  • Colette says:

    OMG that ‘before’ bathroom picture is very similar to the 2021 PPG ‘Color of the Year’ (transcend).
    Laurel Bern just wrote about it yesterday saying how disgusting it is : )
    I hope it is ok that I post a link to it, but it is SO funny. (she loves you too Maria)

    What a lovely job, well done. I love the photos and the advice is excellent as always, thank you.

  • Kathy Clifford says:

    So glad you mentioned epoxy grout. After installing thousands of feet of tile in several houses, I had an opportunity to specify epoxy grout. Five years later, it looks and performs great. Second, grout will eventually match the color of your local dirt. White or light grout becomes a maintenance headache and after install, professional “grout doctors” can improve by tinting (to the color of the dirt) or sealing the grout. Sealing and tinting has to be confined to the grout line because the products seep over the tile field. Tile installers dislike the added work of epoxy grout and add an upcharge but it is worth the cost.

  • Amy says:

    I have Silver Shadow epoxy grout, a light gray known for being a complement to carrara. It looks dingy and I hate it. I swear dust and dirt got cured into it. I scrub it 1-2 times a year with soft scrub with helps a bit.

  • Debra says:

    I also opted not to have a glass shower door. I used a shower curtain with a track mounted to the ceiling. The curtain goes floor to ceiling and looks much better than the open space above the curtain. Like when you hang window treatments close to the ceiling instead of just above the window. It makes the room seem larger IMO.

  • Gery Souza says:

    Great topic, adorable baby, and beautiful bathroom. Thank you.
    I appreciate all the informative comments too. I will be replacing my shower tile and love the painted grout idea, so maybe I will paint my white grout the color you recommend Maria and if it works then I can use gray grout in the renovation.

    Putting a sconce next to the mirror, rather than a bar light is also more complimentary to lighting the face, but is tricky when you have a tight corner with a medicine cabinet opening into the light fixture. I am looking for a narrower (12″-14″) taller medicine cabinet with or without mirror if anyone can suggestion one? Thanks.

  • Anne Wilbur says:

    Is that an American Standard toilet? If so, what is the style called? Also, what is the grout color of the floors, or were the floors already there?

  • M says:

    Tile, what tile? Hard to get past that scrumptious scene stealing little Luke!

    Love the bathroom and agree about the sconce lighting, so pretty, but doesn’t seem like it would be enough light. Does she also have overhead lighting?

    I like the white tile with the gray grout you chose. I don’t know anything about regular vs epoxy grout. We bought our tract home new over 30 years ago, no choice in shower or bathtub/shower combo tile then. All done in white w white grout and prob the least expensive, but surprisingly all are still spotless white and in great shape. Wish I could say the same for the dated cabinets and cheap lighting that had to go.

    However the shower stalls are white pans (fiberglass?) rather than tile. They are difficult to keep clean and are not my fav, but I also HATE walking on grouted shower floors no matter how new. Just something about it…

    What I’d love to know are there any option for a shower floor other than grouted tile/ stone or an unattractive shower pan? Does a stylish attractive shower pan exist?


  • Misia says:

    I like the idea of starting with a greyed out or dirt reminiscent grout! Would have saved me a lot of heartache in my last reno! We chose gorgeous matte white Italian porcelain tiles for our kitchen and main bath and went with white Flextile grout so it would be a seamless look, as I don’t really like the look of grout (except on hex tiles). We didn’t seal it and when the countertop guys came to install I wasn’t home to ask them to remove their shoes. So two weeks post-install our floors had their first stains. Within a year our highly trafficked kitchen grout was super dingy and I tried EVERYTHING to clean it, including steaming, which helped but only a bit. As I lamented to our rep at Olympia Tile she suggested I tried this grout paint product. Though it took several hours of being on hands and knees painting grout lines with a tiny artist brush – IT WORKED! The grout looked brand new again and it did the job of sealing the grout as well, perfect timing as were about to list our house for sale and I wanted everything to be perfect. TLDR if you want white/light grout seal it as soon as it’s dry!

    • Gery Souza says:

      Would you, or anyone mind mentioning the brand of grout paint that is recommended? Thank you.

      • Maria Killam says:

        I will have to look it up when I get home, I didn’t include it because I know there are many brands so I thought it was best to include the colour to match! Maria

  • Lorri says:

    I had a former brother-in-law who used to PAINT grout when it started looking bad. It solved the problem. But I like this solution also.

  • Lorri says:

    I would put sconces on either side of a mirror instead of a bar light regardless of whether I could find a pretty bar light. Sconces light the face evenly, whereas overhead bar lights cast unflattering shadows.

  • Julia B says:

    I imagine this bedroom without that round mirror so light and airy! Maybe I am just a minimalist.

  • Christy says:

    Everything looks great – bathroom, bedroom & baby!!!

    What color was the bedroom and bathroom painted?

  • M says:

    Of topic, but just noticed the window treatment in Kelly’s bedroom. I really like it.
    Is that a valence over wood blinds? I like that you can’t seen the rod, how is it hung?
    I need to jazz up unadorned white wood blinds in 2 secondary bedrooms. Can you please give me a source for the valance? Thanks!

  • Norma Fournier says:

    I’ve used the special epoxy grout everywhere in our house…floors, showers, backsplashes. And I have come to the same conclusion as most of the comments here. It is not worth it. I find that it darkens, and stains, and discolors just like the regular grout. Plus, like most have said, it costs more and many tilers do not know how to use it. If you don’t get it all wiped clean right away the tile has a haze forever. I did find installers who had used it but no one is perfect and I have a couple of hazy tiles if you look at it just right. If I ever have the opportunity to tile or re-grout again, I’ll use the standard stuff that’s been around for ever.

  • Carrie says:

    We used epoxy grout in our bathroom and it’s horrible. It left a film on our subway tiles that we could not get off. It’s also cracked and crumbling to the point the whole shower needs to be re-grouted. We will use regular grout and seal it next time.

  • Sue H. says:

    I had over 700 sq. feet of tile laid in my family room, kitchen, and utility room with epoxy grout in a natural gray color. The installers did a great job laying the tile but were cursing epoxy grout by the time they were done. I found that a mix of white vinegar and water with a scrubby pad did a good job of removing any left behind haze on the tile. The grout has not been as stain free as I would have liked but the gray color does seem to blend well with my dirt “color”.

  • Julie says:

    Love that shower curtain! Could anyone share a source?

  • Betty says:

    For our kitchen backsplash grout, the tiler mixed the grout with a stain inhibitor. He did not put the stain inhibitor on top of the grout but prefers to mix in right in to get the best result. It has had tomato sauce on it numerous times and washed right off! I bet they could do this for floors too. But, you’d have to wash your floors once in a while! lol

  • Angela says:

    I was happy to see the faucets that we chose for our master bathroom remodel on your post, the Cassidy with cross handles. Going back to check our grout order – I think I’m good, but better safe than sorry!

  • Jeanne says:

    Can you weigh in on what grout should be used for subway tile if floor is white hex with the grey grout? Do you match it? Looking forward opinions please!

  • Victoria says:

    We used a gray grout color with marble floor and shower tiles when we had to remodel our bathroom due to a flood. The walls are a Abalone light gray that I used from Maria’s color boards. Looks great so far. It’s only been a year and still looks the same. I’m ready to replace our kitchen backspace and attempt something similar. We have the same block of mottled gray, brown, black granite as a backspash as is on the countertops. I want white backsplash and think the gray grout will look good in the kitchen too as we painted our whole house with one of Maria’s light gray paints from her paint boards and have white cabinets. I always love Maria’s color choices and recommendations. They are the only ones that make sense and make me happy! 🙂

  • Cheryl says:

    What color grout was used in the hex tile photo? Thanks!

  • DeniseGK says:

    Did I miss the comments about sealing? Epoxy and regular grout both need to be sealed after curing/hardening. *Then* they will stay white and be easy to clean. Changing from regular grout to epoxy without doing a sealant is just throwing away money. Also, even if you bought or moved into a place with unsealed and dirty grout, you can clean it once, then seal it and enjoy the same benefits as grout that was sealed from the jump. Sealing does have to be repeated, but it’s infrequent and a simple diy task.
    I did this in my own hall bathroom that is the main family bathroom for 5 people. We moved into a home that had unsealed grout that I thought was greige. I also thought that grout that had been properly installed and cured was not only water-resistant, but dirt-resistant. It is not. Water-resistant, properly done grout can still catch dirt in tiny cracks, holes, etc and begin to look a different color. Clean (or pay someone once to clean) your tile with something abrasive and very hard working, allow to dry, then seal. Enjoy white (or colored) grout that continues to look how you want it to look after sweeping or wiping with a damp cloth/mop. That’s what sealing did for me.

  • Heidi says:

    Hi! Great article. Could you share what color grout you used for your white subway tile walls? It’s perfect!

  • The grout around my tub is partially stained with hair dye. What paint do you use to paint grout? Would paint work to cover the dye?

  • Ann says:

    There’s a product at Home Depot and Lowe’s that is a grout refresh. Easy to apply, añd you can even change the color. Its like a latex paint. Protects the grout and last a long time. Worked so well in my kitchen that I used a lighter color in the master bath.

  • George says:

    So all grout for white tile should try to match Sherwin Williams Fawn Brindle 7640? I’m a little lost. 🙂 Which grout does that? What brand and color?

  • We recently got our tiles regrouted and used an epoxy grout. It’s still early to review them but hopefully this will work for us.

  • Laura says:

    Can you please share the name and brand of this grout color. I think it’s perfect for my black and white marble checkerboard mudroom floor….thank you!!

  • Susan J says:

    Does the tinted grout work equally well with a larger-format white tile, like a traditional 12“ square? I’m having a hard time visualizing that vs these examples with penny tile and smaller hex tile.

  • Jen says:

    Everyone here, Maria especially, has helped me so now it is my turn. 🙂 I had grody 1947 grout that was clean, but stained. I tried EVERYTHING to brighten it up, baking soda, bleach, vinegar, special as seen on TV stuff, etc. Nothing helped UNTIL… Barkeeper’s Friend powder. Get a little scrub brush and scrub it in and let it sit for 10 min and wipe off with water. It is as if the white Barkeeper’s Friend bonded to the porous grout and brightened it up.

    It also whitened up a patch of yellowed marble 🙂

  • Where can I get the bathroom vanity cabinet in Kelly’s Bathroom update? It looks like it might be maple in a natural finish, Shaker style door. Help!

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