Why Colored Grout Makes a White Subway Tile Pop

Did you know that the New York City subway opened in 1904?

Of course, the main attractions were the subway cars and their ability to transport people all over the city.

But what a lot of people were talking about were the tile-clad stations.

Did the designers have any idea how popular the subway tile would be? Or did they use them purely for utilitarian purposes?

Hard to say. But it didn't take long for these tiles to find their way into the bathrooms and kitchens of private homes.

Subway Tile Is So Versatile 

And sure, you can keep the installation simple and traditional, in nice neat rows.

Their simple rectangular shape allows you to try more daring installations too, such as an interlocking or zigzag chevron pattern, for instance.

Another way to infuse your personal taste is in your choice of grout color for those white tiles.

White Tile with White/Very Light Grey Grout 

The whole white on white thing sounds dull. But there are plenty of reasons designers and decorators choose this combination.

First, it's about simplicity. Using white grout allows you to take the classic and affordable subway tile and give it a clean and timeless look.

Second, all of that white gives the appearance of a larger space. If you have a small kitchen or bathroom, slapping up some white subway tiles with white grout is going to make these rooms feel bigger.

The biggest caveat with white grout, though, is keeping it clean. That's right, white shows dirt. And if you're using them for your kitchen and bathroom floors, you can bet they're going to get dirty.

And that's why we added light grey as an option here. It's going to give you the same sense of spaciousness, but without the need to scrub so often.

White Tile with Red, Blue or Green Grout

You could really toss in any other color here that suits you - as long as the grout comes in that color. And grout comes in a surprising number of colors. Even metallic gold.

So if you want to accent the color of your cabinets in your kitchen or maybe add a splash of color to an otherwise white bathroom, experiment with one of these colored grouts.

Whichever color you choose, you might want to try out a small sample area first. Any color is going to be in contrast with the bright white subway tile so you want to be sure it doesn't pop too much.

White Tile with Brown/Cream Grout

You aren't likely to see this combination a lot. A cream-colored grout is likely to look like a mismatch and you'd be better off getting off-white tiles if you want o use that color grout.

Darker brown is also not as common with white tile. But if it's done well, it can bring a graphic element to your space - particularly if the furniture and decor include a lot of dark wood.

White Tile with Black Grout

Black grout is going to give you the ultimate in contrast.

And this can work for or against you. If you're looking for that vintage industrial look, using black grout is going to give your kitchen or bathroom that feel.

Keep the rest of the decor neutral. White tiles really pop and stand out with black grout, so this is naturally going to make a space look busier.

Just as with the dark brown grout, if black grout is done well, it can really make a statement.

What Statement Do You Want to Make?

Whether you choose white, black, gold or even turquoise, you can't go wrong with subway tile.

And if you're still not sure what you want to do, you can talk with our experts who can help you with your design questions. We're happy to help.