kmspot

Should I replace brand new grout with a darker color?

kmspot
last month

We’re in the final stages of our kitchen remodel and I was so exited about it all coming together. We got a handmade looking subway tile and originally the woman at the tile store paired it with white grout. It wasn’t until the tile was installed before it was grouted that I realized I loved the definition of a darker color grout line because I felt like it tied the white counters to the wood cabinets.


Long story short, the woman at the tile store, tile guy, and a designer all encouraged me to go with the white grout saying that with the uneven edges of the tiles, a darker grout would look messy. Personally, I like the uneven lines and felt a darker grout would have enhanced the tile.


The white grout is in and I am SO disappointed. Lesson learned in doing what you like and not what other people think will look better. It seems ridiculous that something like grout could make or break the look. I think the white subway/grout/counters look so sterile


What do I do? Live with it and hope I get used to it or forget I ever liked the other look? Pull out the grout and go with a light gray grout? Look into a grout paint or stain to redo it?


Here was the kitchen before grout was installed:



And now the kitchen with white grout;





PS this is the inspiration picture I love most



Comments (43)

  • dowagercountess
    last month

    Change the grout if that is what you want, and if you can afford it. I think it looks good either way.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month
    last modified: last month

    So...............You are still asking other people. Shall we write the permission slip to stick in your back pack?

    There's a wise old saw in life AND design: "Only you know what you want, and ONLY you will be unhappy if you don't get it."

    There are a hundred grouts between white and black. You don't need DARK to show a contrast.

    You also don't have so much as a bowl of fruit on that counter, no rug on the floor.........

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  • felizlady
    last month

    If you still don’t like your backsplash after a month, go ahead and change it, but don’t use gray grout unless there is a gray element in your kitchen. You can count stainless steel appliances as “gray” if you like. If you want gray grout, don’t go with dark gray: a color similar to or slightly lighter than stainless steel will give your tile definition without getting bossy. Remove the tiny items cluttering the windowsill and add a bit of color with a ceramic pot to hold utensils near the stove, potholders, kitchen towels and a nice wood salad bowl.

  • Rachel Lee
    last month

    I think the cleaner look is better. Leave it be, accessorize, and enjoy.

  • ulisdone
    last month

    The gray grout gives a more traditional feel to the subway, so I would have chosen that. However, the white grout helps hide your awkwardly trimmed window. The sill/stool is too thin and there is no apron trim. I find that lack more visually upsetting.

  • ulisdone
    last month


  • PRO
    Skippack Tile & Stone
    last month
    last modified: last month

    There are grout colorants on the market; have them order the color you want. It's a liquid that you can paint over the lines yourself.

  • Snaggy
    last month

    It looks good with ether !

  • Snaggy
    last month

    ulisdone Apron trim ?

  • lorobillard
    last month

    Definitely do a mock-up with your tile and the new grout color to make sure you don’t indeed get the messy look the professionals warned you about!

  • skunst2017
    last month

    Yes , go with a dark grey or black ..., I would change it .

  • Wildcat Blue
    last month

    I think it looks fabulous the way it is now. Your cabinets really pop and it shows the beauty of the wood. Add some accessories to the countertop and call it a day. Good luck!

  • jessica_kera
    last month

    I've done alot of small subway tile jobs and from my experience is the small whites are mostly used for an antique look. And white is always the color that the customer goes with. I think it looks great. You could always make a 3 foot section and set it up beside the white as a template and see if you like it.

  • Molly D.
    last month

    Looks nice-Don’t mess with it. Add accessories as suggested-rug, etc.

  • George
    last month

    The dark looks better in your case . I have white cabinets and it did not look good with dark grout. You sound like me. I’d rather fix it then look at it everyday and hate it .

  • RedRyder
    last month

    It really doesn’t matter what all of us say. If you’re unhappy, either re-color it or pay to have it replaced. Prior to grouting, you can see what it will look like with more definition between the tiles. If that’s what you want, go for it. (If my opinion matters, I’m in agreement with you. ) Jan is right. Only YOUR taste matters here. Start pricing your options to change it.

  • ulisdone
    last month

    Snaggy- Apron trim is the piece of wood under the stool/sill. It completes the trimout in a traditional window. See the above white kitchen’s window.

    Without the apron the window looks unbalanced.

  • ljptwt7
    last month

    What eld6161 said....sample board first because it may look "messier" than you like! I think it looks fine as it is now. Could look fine with darker grout but I wouldn't go too dark.

  • kmspot
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you for the feedback! I agree that once you add things back into the space- wood bowl, cutting board, potted plant..it looks less sterile. I will live with it for a while and see how I feel! Meanwhile, grout paint exists and as many say, the darker grout in a mockup may show that it wouldn't look right anyway. Jan you are so funny- I always love your comments. Sometimes, I feel like I'm looking around for someone to just agree with me already haha

  • Diane St. John
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this. I also have the handmade white subway tile and I got a very pale gray grout - Mapei Frost - which to me looks a little beigey rather than gray. I have been thinking about using grout paint (I have used it several times in the past for both floor and wall tile, and it works really well) in either white or a darker gray. Your photos were very helpful and I realize I will probably go gray, 1 shade darker than present. To me subway tile with gray grout is the ultimate classic look.

  • Kim S
    last month

    I had the same dilemma. I didn't want the tile to look line one white blob. I ended up using a color called mushroom in my kitchen.

    I would personally live with it and see how you like it in a few months and then decide if it's worth the money.

  • Kate Steiner
    last month

    Kim S, that's my plan! Your contrast looks really pretty! My concern from the beginning is the wavy lines of my tile- and you don't have that problem! Thank you for posting the color you used. If this still bugs me so much in a few months, I will change it up!

  • PRO
    Amy Peltier Interior Design & Home
    last month

    Perhaps sharing a kitchen design with you will help you figure out what you want. Notice the grout colors below.

    Modern Ranch · More Info


  • Terrie B.
    last month

    Give it some time it will get dark and dingy looking. It you can't wait that long wipe over it with a cloth and diluted tea water mixture.


  • Jill Minnix
    last month
    last modified: last month

    My husband just installed our backsplash. Our counters are tan granite and cabinets are medium dark wood. I felt just the same way you do. Did not want a stark white, difficult to keep clean grout but didn't gray. Found the perfect color at Lowe's. It is Mapei ivory but it is not ivory looking at all, more of a taupe. It is exactly what we needed to transition between medium dark cabinets on bottom and white on top. Also, my countertops are tan granite. Mapei makes a product called Grout Restore and Colorant in the same ivory color that you can use to darken your existing grout. Do your research, of course, and test in an inconspicuous spot but I think it might solve your dilemma. I wanted to attach pictures of ours but could not figure out how to on my brand new phone. If you can make your profile so that I can private message you somehow, I would be happy to do that for you. Hope this helps.

  • kmspot
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    Hi Jill! Yes this is just what I’m thinking. Would love a close up if anyone has the want lines of a homemade subway tile look. This is why the tile person specified white grout for my project- they assured me any other color would look messy


  • NancyD
    29 days ago

    I’ve looked at this discussion several times and keep thinking how good the photo of the tiles looked BEFORE the grout was added. Just enough shading and contrast to look like real subway tile and not “just another white subway tile backsplash.” If you opt to stain the grout, go slowly, not too dark.

  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago



  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago



  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago



  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago



  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago



  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago



  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago
    last modified: 29 days ago

    Kmspot, I figured out how to send the pics! Hope these help! Kitchen still in progress, btw. I also have the irregular edges and I wanted that to show.

  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago

    One more with cabinet color showing.


  • kmspot
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    So pretty! Exactly what I was thinking. Are your tiles glossy or matte?

  • kmspot
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    I keep looking at your pics and love how the grout ties your cabinets to your counter. now I just have to convince my husband that I won’t destroy the new grout by staining it. Your pics make me so happy- that ivory color is perfect.

  • lula1969
    29 days ago

    I just redid my backsplash with a handmade subways tile which looks very similar to yours. I used a warm white grout and I love it. I didn't want my backsplash to stand out. I did take pictures before grout and after and have to say I love the after. Less busy in my mind.



  • Jill Minnix
    29 days ago
    last modified: 29 days ago

    I definitely would do a test spot, but reviews are pretty positive. It's $18 at Amazon, so not too much of a risk there. I completely agree about the grout color to tie it together with your wood cabinets. My tiles are glossy.


  • RedRyder
    28 days ago

    Jill: Your grout looks great! It’s a little darker, but it’s subtle. Kmspot, this slight change will do the trick in your house as well.

  • Jill Minnix
    28 days ago

    Thank you, RedRyder!

  • btydrvn
    28 days ago

    It is a teeny change...but it really seems right to accentuate the grout...but... i think i would start with a pale golden brownish color that matches the wood in tone...gray really doesn’t go with anything in the kitchen...i think stain may be easiest as you just brush on and wipe...the stain will penetrate the grout but not the tile...starting with a paler color you can just add a little more if you want more contrast...but i agree any color added has the distinct possibility of just making the tile shapes look sloppy...so keeping the contrast close in color depth...will lessen that possible effect