Should dark grout be viewed as an evolving style or merely a practical matter?
With such a wide variety of tile available in today’s market I am always struck by the number of bathrooms done with white tiles, especially metro tiles (subways) and squares. No doubt the popularity of these two shapes has to do with their wide appeal and neutral classicism – that kind of can’t-go-wrong for the money insurance. What does move the look forward is the combination of colored grouts with white tile and how the contrasting gray or earthy-tone grout becomes a design element on its own and a way to visually reinforce the overall pattern. In the guest bath of a country house [top] the rough-cut subway tiles is set with 3/8-inch wide beefy grout lines. The color is well matched to the material used in the niche and on the tub deck. The combination looks great for a somewhat rustic bath with a pine plank tub skirting and floor (plus a girly shower curtain).
For anyone wondering about how black grout looks close up, here is a sample. The crispness of the grid is especially notable.
In this restaurant bathroom (the Barcelona tapas bar in Atlanta), dark grout used with subways on the walls is grounded by the reverse scheme on the floor. That is done in a hex tile, predominately black with a white dot pattern. The white mosaic border creates a transition between the two and the highly figured black and white marble works well even though it adds yet another distinct pattern.