White or Grey Grout with Metro Tiles?

Marcus Beard
3 April, 2019

We're redoing some bathrooms and are having some analysis paralysis regarding tiles and grout.

My partner and I were set on white bevelled subway tiles for our bathroom, but flip flopped many what colour grout to use: white or light grey. We have had our ensuite grouted in white, and now we're not sure.

Our tiler has said it's fairly simple to re-finish and colour grout, even if we wanted a slightly different shade. Our pros and cons for each:

+ clean and modern
+ less lines
- harder to keep clean
- very bright - 'prison cell'-esque

Light Grey:
+ Softens the stark whiteness
+ easier to keep clean
- too busy for a small room?
- personally feel it is a bit dated already

I wanted to get some advice and thoughts. We have a full bathroom left to tile (and grout) which is about 2x the size.

Another complication is that we actually asked for dark grey grout on the floor. It's light grey, which we're fine with, that now factors into the decision.

Shall we stain the grout to light grey? Are we overthinking? What do you think looks best?

Comments (29)

  • Beano
    White for me.
    Marcus Beard thanked Beano
  • Tim Summers

    For what it's worth - Grey for me

    Marcus Beard thanked Tim Summers
  • Monica

    I would go white personally, grout is the easiest to keep clean in a shower, unlike grout that is walked on constantly. White will be more timeless, appear lighter in the room, no visual distraction and tones really nice with the floor. Looks lush go for it !!!.

    Marcus Beard thanked Monica
  • Tim Summers

    Please don't think that I'm being argumentative, but you're points are exactly why I would go for grey.

    In my opinion 'timeless' very very closely resembles 'dull and boring'

    If you're doing something new in a new room then I'd say go for it - why have something 'timeless' when it'll just look like every other boring white tiled bathroom that everyone has been into.

    Give it a bit of character and pzazz and do something at least slightly different.

  • PRO
    Tailored Living

    We always like the grouting in a colour as close as possible to the tile for a more seamless look. Unless you want to use a statement colour

  • Monica

    Tim I agree with you, but being different and standing out is not for everyone. And in this case with the floor being contrasting already I think it would look confused and not as polished. But that's what's great about this place, getting lots of different opinions to help with that final choice :)

    Marcus Beard thanked Monica
  • minipie

    I’d leave it white. You already have one set of contrasting lines going on, two might be too busy. The uber brightness will tone down soon enough!

    Marcus Beard thanked minipie
  • PRO

    For me the issue is not only the colour but the type/brand. Some will be better than others and not discolour.

    Marcus Beard thanked colourhappy
  • Tani H-S
    I would only say pale grey grout if you had a pale grey floor but I agree that because the floor is so busy and strong pattern, the tiles look better in white. Just a pain to keep clean, ha ha.
  • AJ
    I think it looks lovely as it does already! I would stay with white :) it gives a more seamless look which I personally like in a bathroom.
  • Beano
    I personally agree with @monika, do it grey and it will take away from the floor, possibly make it look like, well, a public toilet, just my thoughts, ohh and Ardex is a great grout for keeping its colour whatever you decide.
  • Patrina
    Agree woth keeping ot white.
  • E D

    What’s that accent, Patrina?


  • forzaitalia
    White. Metro tiles were used a lot in public toilets and the darker grouting brings back not very nice memories. I love the floor.
  • Patrina
    @ ED the accent is called tired fat fingers lol :-) Just spent 6hrs in meetings today about Data quality and statistics.... riveting zzzzz
  • gymshoe
    I’ve just tiled my small bathroom with white metro tiles and I chose Bal Micromax grout in smoke grey which looks great. There’s also a lighter shade of grey called gunmetal. I didn’t go for white grout as my tiler warned me it would discolour over time plus the tiles stand out more with the grey grout.
  • PRO
    A&B Project

    Grey! Will looks great and isn't to busy...

  • PRO
    Design Angels bathrooms
    Your bathroom looks great! The colour of the grouting will define the style of the bathroom. Like you said, white is very contemporary and elegant, but also quite hard to maintain. It won’t look so white after a few months/years, especially not in the shower area. If you opt for light grey colour, the bathroom will look edgier with a traditional/vintage vibe. But since this style is now so trendy, we would definitely go for it. 90% of our clients opt for a grey/black grouting when chosing metro tiles. Hope you’ll make the right decision! Either way, it will be perfect!
  • PRO
    Walk Interior Architecture & Design

    Dramatic ensuite · More Info

    we specified grey for a recent project - to define the tile, add character and it retains the look for longer (white will develop an uneven tinge over time) otherwise you may as well go for a larger tile and reduce the amount of joints. but that is a different look

  • celerygirl

    I vote for white.

  • PRO
    My Bespoke Room

    go for grey!

  • Marcus Beard

    Thank you SO MUCH everyone for you thoughts, ideas and examples. After quite a bit of back-and-forthing, we decided on..... White grout for both bathrooms.

    We're really thrilled with it, truthfully it does come down to personal preference, but I thought it would be useful for those researching in future to know why I think we prefer it. In this instance, we liked it because:

    1. We have floor-to-ceiling metro tiles on all walls - they're everywhere. I love the look of grey grout, but I believe it would have been too overpowering from every angle. If we had half a wall painted a solid colour (white), or just tiled the shower space, grey probably would have worked well.
    2. Our tiles are bevelled - this actually adds a lot of definition and contrast to the tiles already. It prevents the tiles from feeling 'washed out' or boring.
    3. We just prefer the look! (see pictures).

    Some considerations:

    1. I have no idea how easy it will be to keep these clean. We have some candles in the room, and I can already tell we will have to be diligent about cleaning the smoke off.

    Thanks again - hope someone finds the pictures useful!

  • PRO
    Design Angels bathrooms

    Great job, looks beautiful!

  • forzaitalia

    Looks great. Well done!

  • Monica

    Looks great, thank you for updating us with the after pictures. You must be so pleased and you are right. You have plenty of texture in a calm way on the walls and those beautiful hexagon floors get to have their say as well. Enjoy your spaces for lots of years to come. And the cat agrees with the improvement too, always a plus in my books.

  • PRO
    Hampstead Design Hub

    Hi there! You've made the space a lovely and light and the design is very fresh and modern. Great job.

  • Patrina

    Looks fab :-)

  • PRO

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