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You probably already know that tiles are a knockout bathroom material. They’re sleek, durable, and easy to clean—the trifecta of what most people are looking for in bathroom finishes. But there’s a way to take your tiled bathroom from good to great: Colored grout.
Those little cement lines between tiles are generally white, and you’ve probably seen dark gray, too. But there’s no rule saying these are the only grout options. And lately, people have been using all the colors of the rainbow to give their bathrooms some extra design edge.
One of my favorite examples of this is in The Pieces Home, a renovated historic home in Maine created by the design collective An Aesthetic Pursuit. The upstairs bathroom features cream tiles paired with navy grout, and this simple shift is stunning. Take a look below.
“We love using color in our designs, but it’s easy to overuse it,” says designer Jenny Kaplan, co-founder of An Aesthetic Pursuit. “You have to know when to dial it back. We wanted the color vibe here to be intriguing but in a subtle way. Our team felt that it was really important for the bathroom space to feel serene and almost spa-like.”
Ultimately, they decided on square tiles set in a very graphic, 1980s stacked bond configuration, which nicely echoes the windows in the space. To accentuate the pattern, they landed on colored grout as a way to make the retro look tile feel new and add in a subtle hit of color. “The navy grout against the putty-colored tiles provides a really nice contrast and lets the pink sink pop, giving everything its moment,” Kaplan says. “If used properly, a colored grout will give a neutral, easily accessible tile a level of sophistication.” That’s definitely the case here—the room still reads as serene and elegant, even though it definitely has a few trendier design features.
You know what’s the icing on the cake with colored grout? On the whole, it’s also harder to stain and easier to clean than white grout, which makes it a win-win in my book. There are also subtle, more neutral versions available if you like quieter colors. And you can get colored grout pretty much anywhere you would find regular grout, from the home center to even Etsy. And it’s not that much more expensive than standard issue grout, especially for the decorative impact it makes. Check out some other great colored grout looks here and consider adding this concept to your dream bathroom idea file.
If modern isn’t your style, you’ll be happy to know that colored grout can go coastal quirky, too. In this shower, the blue grout is high-impact but not overwhelming. Plus, the added touch of colored accent tiles on the floor helps to tie the whole scheme together. Again, the tiles used here are relatively simple—subways and pennies—and that’s the key to making this swap work for your bathroom’s overall look and not against it.
Colored grout works well when you have plain tiles with an interesting profile, such as the arabesques seen in this project. The added color here emphasizes the tiles’ shape and can make a somewhat simple style of tile a true focal point—and for a lot less money than you’d spend on a fancy geometric pattern or special glaze that accomplishes the same thing. This look works well with a white field tile and a bright grout color, but you can play around with different tile and grout tone combinations depending on the amount of contrast you’re trying to create.
This green grout bathroom is the perfect example of a slightly more subtle color done well. The grout lines are thin, so they don’t overwhelm the bathroom. Large white tiles and plenty of white accents keep things feeling light and bright overall. Finally, that green ceiling adds the perfect amount of drama to the room, enhancing both the green grout and the diagonal tile installation for a look that’s classic meets funky.
Think black tiles are too dark to get in on the colored grout fun? That couldn’t be further from the truth. In this bathroom above, black tiles paired with pink grout adds instant playfulness. Keep things from getting too dark with brighter wall paint and a saturated accent piece or two like the yellow seen stool here. To help offset the deep tones, you might also consider sticking to lighter materials for your sink and cabinets.
Black-and-pink maybe a little too funky for you, but how about a softer, light meets dark combo like navy blue and gold? A blue-gold combo, as seen here in a bathroom designed by Michelle Price of 805 Interiors, looks classic and can bring major elegance to your space. Gold grout not only provides contrast to the navy zellige tiles here, but it’s also a nice way to play up the brass fixtures and finishes throughout the space. Again this bathroom only uses colored grout in the shower area—the rest of the space is largely white other than the vanity, which helps balance out its design composition.
For a dose of retro-inspired cheer, take notes from DIYer Heather Hamilton, who even painted her radiator to match the grout and tile installation in her bathroom. She choose red grout to bring in a bold design element. The tiles here are small and set close together, so you have to be okay with this much graphic interest. But if you go this direction, you don’t have to do much else design-wise in your bathroom to make it stand out.
If you’re a little hesitant about coloring all the grout in your bathroom, just do one small accent area. A shower is an ideal spot for this or you can also try the sink wall, if this fun bright blue tiled wall with green grout is any indicator. This focal wall works well because it offsets the floor-to-ceiling white subway tile used elsewhere in the room. So the room has some color, but it’s not totally overpowering. This would be such a fun idea for a kids’ bath.
So what do you think? Is colored grout something you’d be willing to try or does it feel too high design? Keep an eye out for this trend. Considering the easy to clean factor, colored grout seems like it could really take off.