White Tile Black Grout – The Good and the Bad

Over the last few years, dark grout with white tile has become a favored trend in the design space. I totally get it, it’s a timeless look. I also understand that the safer decision is to go a more tonal route and stick with white grout. It can be a little scary to commit to the contrast of black grout with white tile. If you’re working on a tile project, let me make a case for white tile with black grout. In this post, we’ll dive into dark grout’s pros (and yes, cons). I’ll also offer some tips for selecting the best tile and grout combination. Most importantly, you’ll get to see some beautiful examples of black grout in action.

What to Love About White Tile Black Grout

Dark grout can be a stunning design choice. Black grout offers a striking contrast that can make a space feel modern while gray and brown grout can offer a more slight contrast, yet still beautiful.  I’ve discussed the timelessness of the combination of black and white in design before. It truly doesn’t go out of style. If you are looking for an opportunity to make a statement in your home while still maintaining a timeless look, white tile with black grout can certainly do that. When used with subway tile or other simple tile designs, black grout creates a beautiful contrast that highlights the texture and pattern of the tile while maintaining a classic look. 

What to Hate About White Tile With Black Grout

gray grout and white subway tile
Gray Grout and Subway Tile

I’ll be honest, there are a couple of downsides to using a dark grout with white tile. The contrast can make the tilework look very busy. You’ll really notice all the detail of the tile. With tone-on-tone tilework, you have the ability to hide imperfections. With dark grout on white tile, you draw attention to each tile while can magnify imperfections. Additionally, dark grout will fade so dark black grout won’t stay that way always. While you’ll still be able to maintain that sharp contrast, just know that the black will fade over time.

What About Cleaning Dark Grout

I’ll admit when we were adding subway tile to our guest bathroom, I was drawn to gray grout because I didn’t want to have to worry about the constant maintenance of cleaning white grout. It’s a simple fact that dark-colored grout conceals stains better. Dark grout doesn’t have to be scrubbed as meticulously as white grout but it does still require maintenance and you have to be careful as abrasive cleaning products can dull the color of the grout. Additionally, it’s still really important to seal dark-colored grout as you would white grout. Grout is porous and is prone to staining, by sealing your grout you can prevent any discoloration from staining. Black grout will fade over time but keep in mind that you can always freshen up your grout with a grout pen.

Grout Line Size

With black grout, it is important to consider how thick you want the grout line to be. I prefer the clean look of a very thin grout line with dark grout. I think a thin grout line is less busy looking and has a cleaner look. The thicker grout lines are not bad design, but they do make the tile appear busier and more dramatic which has to be taken into consideration when designing a space.

White tile with black grout combination examples

modern farmhouse style bathroom with white subway tile and black grout
via Patti Wagner

If you’re planning a bathroom renovation take note. Let’s start with the classic white subway tiles with black grout. This space does the black and white contrast quite well with the medium tone wood floors breaking up the colors beautifully. The thicker grout line gives the tile more dimension but it does make the space busier. The busyness isn’t distracting but it does draw the eye around the room. Thicker grout lines are more typical in farmhouse design. Thinner grout lines are usually found in a contemporary kitchen or modern bathroom.

modern farmhouse style bathroom with white tile black grout
via Domino

Here’s another example of white subway tile and black grout. In this space, the grout line is thinner making it appear less busy but still maintaining the contrast of black and white. The black grout is also used on the floor tile as well. You can see from the two different images above that the thickness of the grout line is almost as important as the grout color. The thinner lines give a more subtle dimension, the tile isn’t really popping out but it’s noticed.

traditional kitchen with white subway tile with gray grout
via Obrien Harris

How about an elevated traditional subway tile backsplash? This one is really gorgeous. The thin dark gray grout line works really well and creates a really fresh look. It’s a really beautiful take on a traditional white subway tile backsplash.

classic elevated bathroom white penny tile with black grout
via Sweeten

Now, let’s take a look at a different kind of timeless white tile and black grout situation. Penny tile on the floor gives vintage vibes all on its own. Paired with the contrast of the darker grout is a classic look. Penny tile is always a bit busy and it is so in this example of penny tile with darker grout but works well. White penny tile with black grout is a great option for a small space because the scale is smaller and it keeps the eye busy.

white tile bathroom - square tile with thin gray grout lines
via Homes to Love

This is probably my favorite example of a well-done tiled wall with dark black grout. The square tiles give a new old-school vibe which I really love. It blends so well with the gorgeous wood floating vanity. The thin grout line is really understated and allows the tiles to pop.

white tile with black grout backsplash timeless look
via INAX tile

Here’s another great example of the nice contrast between light kitchen tiles and dark grout. The Yuki Border tile is really unique and has really cool elements like the curved sides which give it more dimension than your typical flat tiles. I adore this design. It’s sleek and modern and the shape of the tiles is a twist on a classic design creating a modern look.

kitchen backsplash gray grout and white tile
via Cathie Hong

How different is this look from the one above? Quite startling is the difference a grout can make!  The ceramic tiles are similar in shape and neutral tones but the grout colors differ which gives each of them a unique look. This example has a light gray grout which creates more of a tonal space. It feels less dramatic and maybe a bit cleaner. 

Wrapping Up

Overall,  white tile with black grout is a great option if you are looking to make a statement with your tilework whether it’s in kitchens, bathrooms, or even laundry rooms. It’s important to keep in mind the maintenance required to keep black grout looking its best and be sure to seal it properly. When used correctly, white tile with black grout can create a beautiful contrast that highlights the texture and pattern of the tile.  

What are your thoughts on black grout with white tile? Have you used it in your home? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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