What Grout Color Should You Choose for Your Tile?
Picking out new tile for your kitchen, bathroom or other space can be rather exciting. It’s easy to get caught up in looking at tile samples and the various colors, materials and patterns that are going to have a big impact in your home. But what often gets overlooked or downplayed is the selection of the grout color. And that shouldn’t be the case.

The color of your grout can make or break the look of your tile. The grout color can create different effects or visually blend away. To help you choose the right grout color for your tile scheme, here are some favorite looks you might want to consider, along with some general advice for virtually every tiling scenario you might encounter.
Ditto Residential
White Tile + White or Light Grout

When you look at this bathroom, your eye may first notice any number of things, but it’s likely not going to be the tile.
Moroso Construction
When white or very light tile is paired with a matching white or almost-white grout, the lines between tiles visually disappear and the entire surface blends together. The result is a look that doesn’t tend to draw attention.

For this reason, this pairing is perfect when you don’t want your tile to be a feature, especially in modern spaces that already have dramatic flair elsewhere.

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Cutting Edge Build
This combo is also great for a small bathroom you want to make look as large as possible.
By keeping the walls light and seamless looking, you avoid visual breaks that could shrink your perception of the space, so the room feels big and breezy.
Ardesia Design
Keep in mind that a truly white or very light grout will not be forgiving when it comes to stains or discolorations, so it may take a little extra care or upkeep to maintain that pristine look.

See how to clean grout
Anna Standish Interiors
White Tile + Gray Grout

Once you start to add a little contrast between your tile and your grout, the shape of the tile is revealed much more clearly, and the grout itself forms a pattern out of the negative space.
Hart Builders Pty Ltd
Going darker or lighter with the grout, to add more or less contrast, will make the tile pop more and more.

A soft gray just a few shades darker than the tile is a popular choice because it highlights a tile pattern without shouting for attention. This is especially true for tiles in which the shape, rather than a color or print, is the main feature, such as the 
charming fish scale shown here.
Stacey Brandford Photography
It’s also useful for calling attention to an interesting layout of tiles in a plain shape, such as classic subway tile laid in a herringbone. The carefully selected pattern is emphasized by the grout, so the extra effort on installation doesn’t go to waste.
BFDO Architects pllc
Even in a simple brick pattern, a soft gray grout paired with white tile makes for a solid choice for traditional or transitional spaces. It brings a level of subtle richness that suits Shaker cabinets, veined stone counters, warm wood floors and other sumptuous finishes — and it’s timeless too.
Rebecca Melo
White Tile + Black or Dark Grout

Once you start to go very dark with your grout, the grout itself and the patterns it creates start to become the visual focus over the actual tile.
Studio Z Design
Notice how much more pronounced this herringbone pattern appears than the earlier similar-patterned example. The diagonally stepping stripes formed between tiles really pop and give a lot of energy and life to the space.

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hande koksal
Naturally, this high-contrast tile scheme is well suited to spaces in which black and white is the dominant look. It also works for industrial kitchens that eschew bold hues in exchange for metallic elements and rugged textures. The grout already brings a lot of architectural interest, so sparing use of accent colors will keep the space from feeling overloaded.
S+H Construction
Black Tile

Keep in mind that when you’re dealing with black or very dark tile, the previous rules essentially are reversed.
Dark grout in a similar tone to a dark tile will create a softer look, while a light grout will bring out the tile pattern, adding even more drama. If you like black tile but want to soften the look, choose a charcoal shade for the tile and match it closely, rather than choosing a pure black and trying to soften it with white. The look will only be more vivid. (Alternatively, you can add a beautiful rug, as shown in this welcoming bathroom.)
MRTN Architects
Colorful Grout

If you like the look of grout that pops but don’t want it to be as stark as black and white, consider using a tinted grout that carries a fun hue instead of the usual gray shades. This lemon yellow grout adds a twist of color to this bathroom, but it doesn’t visually advance too much, so the room stills looks big and bright.
Egue y Seta
Colorful grout works especially well when it picks up a hue that is found elsewhere in the space, so it feels harmonious to the palette instead of coming out of nowhere. It’s definitely not for everyone, but for those who want a unique look, it can add a lot of personality. Just keep in mind that your grout is not nearly as easy to replace as a coat of paint, so you’ll want to be sure to pick a color you truly love and not a fleeting trend.

See how to regrout your tile
Beth Kooby Design
Like the idea of colorful grout but not the commitment? Try using a patterned wallpaper that echoes the shapes of a tile pattern and use a more basic scheme for the actual tiles themselves. This is a smart approach for a home you plan to leave in the short term. The next occupants can simply change the paper if they don’t share your tastes.
Nystrom Design
Colorful Tile + Gray Grout

Once you move away from stark white or black, pairing vibrant-colored tile with the right shade of grout becomes a bit trickier. It is harder to tell what grout will contrast the tile or blend in. It’s important to look at the color still as having a value — darkness or lightness — that is separate from the intensity of the hue itself.
One trick that can help you assess the color value of your tile is to take a photo of the tile and use a program or app to make the image black and white (often referred to as a “saturation” or “desaturate” option). Once you take the hue out of the equation, you can really see how light or dark the color is and choose a grout that will either contrast with or match that level of value to get the result you want.
Alison Kandler Interior Design
Choosing a gray grout that is close in value to the tile will allow the grout to fade into the background, which creates an uninterrupted color statement. Going a little lighter or darker will subtly highlight the grout a bit more to bring out the pattern, but it won’t create as much contrast as with white tile.

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Martins Camisuli Architects
Colorful Tile + White or Light Grout

Using a white or very light grout with a vivid tile may sound dramatic, but it actually helps to tame wild colors and give the space a cleaner, more timeless feel. There is a reason you so often see bright reds paired with crisp white. It’s because it helps make the color livable.
Oliver Burns
Colorful Tile + Colorful Grout

If you’re already adding colorful tile, why not add colorful grout to go with it? A pairing like this cool blue and vibrant yellow feels bold and exotic, bringing a bit of international hotel appeal without much added cost.
Tim Clarke Design
Other Design Considerations

Besides the tile color and shade, there are other factors that can affect how the look of your grout will turn out.

Surrounding colors and materials. Here’s an example in which a colorfully tinted grout doesn’t actually feel nearly as bold as in previous examples. The rosy undertones of this grout pick up on the tones of the surrounding wood, so they actually blend in rather than pop.
Witt Construction
Using a bit of a red or brown tint in your grout can work well to coordinate with nearby materials like brick, wood, leather or stone, so make sure to consider all the nearby finishes and not just the tile itself.

Your designer or contractor can usually give you swatches of the grout just like with paint or other materials, so you can put all of your finishes and samples together in one place and see how they look together.

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Hart Wright Architects, AIA
Wall versus floor. Where the tile is situated will affect how much the grout reads. A tile that’s dressing the floor will be literally less “in your face” than a tile that’s up at eye level on a wall, so you can bring a little more contrast to your grout. This floor tile is paired with a light grout, but the pattern still feels fairly subtle down on the floor. In general, the floor is a good place to bring some rich contrast to anchor the space.
Entrance Hall Pty Ltd
Tile edges. Ceramic tiles can be “rectified” or “non-rectified,” which essentially means “crisp edged” or “natural edged.” The non-rectified tiles in this space give the grout lines a less crisp shape, which gives this black grout the appearance of almost hand-drawn lines, as though the space were a sketch brought to life. Non-rectified tiles can’t get as close together as rectified tiles, meaning there is a limit to how thin your grout lines can be, which brings me to my next point.

Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tile: A 5-Scenario Showdown
Toronto Interior Design Group
Grout size. The thickness of the grout is almost as important to the look as the color, as it can make the grout stand out or disappear almost completely if you choose a wider or tighter tile spacing. For example, this slab tile has extremely thin grout in a color matched to the tile, so the grout lines virtually disappear and the finish appears like a continuous swath of solid luxe stone.
Rock Paper Hammer
Tile shape will also affect the grout sizing at times, especially with circular forms like this penny tile. The larger areas of grout between the adjacent curves mean the grout will appear bolder than it might with a square or rectilinear tile, so it’s best to choose a shade a bit closer to the tile than you might think.
Lucvaa Kitchens
Tile finish. Glossy tiles like a high-sheen porcelain or a bright mirror tile will catch highlights and often appear lighter on the wall than they may look in your hand when holding a sample. For these materials, go with a lighter grout than you might otherwise choose.

Notice in this case how the patterning of the tile is revealed by the cabinet lights even without a bold grout.
An exception to this tip would be tinted and antiqued mirror tiles or mirror tiles used in a room with many dark finishes. In those cases, bring a grout swatch into the room and see if it matches the general colors in the space. After all, the appearance of the mirror will depend on what it is reflecting. Ultimately, a very tight spacing between the tiles with minimal grout will be best, so the color needn’t be a perfect match to every conceivable tone.
Mata Design Studio
Multiple tiled surfaces. When working with two tile patterns in the same space, which is quite common in bathrooms with tiled floors and walls, the ideal solution is to find a grout shade that will work across the board for a harmonious look.
CM Natural Designs
This can mean bringing a dark shade from the floor up the walls, or using a light shade all over, depending on your preference. But you’ll want to look at the tiles together to make a choice that suits each. If no grout seems to work for both tiles, you may want to take that as a sign that you need to reconsider your tile pairing.
Lischkoff Design Planning
Ultimately, while it may seem almost too obvious, using a classic mid-tone gray all over is usually a safe bet to tie multiple tiles together, while having some leeway to hide imperfections as the grout ages.
Multicolored tile. Lastly, it can seem tricky to pick a single grout color when your tile is multicolored, but it can actually be even easier to find an attractive pairing. One approach is to choose a single color or shade within the tile set to match — usually the most neutral one you can find. If you copy a color already in the tiles, you know it will coordinate.
Toronto Interior Design Group
Another option is to choose a grout shade light enough or dark enough to contrast all of the tiles, which works well if all of the tones in the tile are in a middle range without extreme lights and darks.

In this example from one of my projects, the off-white grout is light enough to stand out a little bit from all of these soft greige shades and ties the traditional tile back to the contemporary white cabinets.
Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
For patterned tile, usually the best bet is to choose a color that will blend into the tiles as much as possible so as to not interrupt the pattern. Look to the edges of the tile to see what color will be up against the tile the most. In this floor tile, the black is what stands out to the eye, but the white portions are more toward the edges of the tile, so a light grout is the more effective choice — a dark grout would chop the pattern up too much.
B Moore Design, Inc.
Finally, with a veined stone tile, you can either choose a shade that matches the base color of the stone or a shade that brings out the veins. In this bathroom, the light grout emphasizes the individual tile, highlighting the edges of each tile, which can otherwise get lost among the organic patterning.
Toronto Interior Design Group
For a more subtle effect, choose a color from the lightest veins in the stone. This will gently emphasize the subtle tones while letting the character of the stone be the focus over the grout. If you’re splurging on marble, it’s the marble you want to see.

Welcome to Whiskytown: Walkerville, Windsor the Origin of Canadian Club

Hiram Walker was a man with a plan. In 1856, the former Detroit grocer and cider vinegar distiller purchased approximately 468 acres of land east of Windsor with the intent to uproot and expand his small whisky operation from Detroit to Canada. In addition to his distillery, he diversified the business by growing grain, milling flour, and raising cattle and hogs. Down the line, the town also supported other major industries, most notably automotive manufacturing. Fast forward to today, and Hiram Walker's (better known today as Canadian Club) becomes the largest distillery in the new Confederation of Canada and Walkerville earns its spot on the map. 

Big red brick housePhoto via Flickr

But Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was Walkerville. Although Walkerville was forcibly amalgamated into Windsor in 1935, the growth and success of the commercial district made it a permanent living history of Walker's vision for the thriving town it remains. The family played an important role in developing the town's airport, hospitals, churches, museums and residences. Today, the Walker family name echoes in the streets of Walkerville, kept alive by the stories passed down through generations. Walkerville is currently home to more than 20,000 people—mainly families with young children and couples. Locals have described the Walkerville vibe as “hip and historic”, with many former industrial buildings transformed and repurposed into community resources. 

Fun facts

  • During the period of Prohibition in the United States, Walkerville became a principal source of cross-border alcohol exportation.
  • By 1926, the remaining Walker family owning and operating Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd. sold the company for $14 million to Harry C. Hatch of Toronto, although Hiram Walker remains North America's largest beverage distillery to this day. 
  • Described as a “smugglers’ paradise”, historians have estimated that up to 75% of all illegal liquor supplied to the United States during the prohibition passed through Walkerville waterways— it was even visited by Al Capone and his representatives. 
  • Hiram Walker himself is declared a person of Canadian National Historic Significance, and the City of Windsor graciously declared Hiram Walker's birthday (July 4th) to be Hiram Walker Day.

Housing market

Heritage homes in WalkervillePhoto via Wikimedia Commons 

If you're searching for a neighbourhood with a great connection to history and heritage homes with tons of character, Olde Walkerville could be for you. Known for its mix of larger estates and modest detached homes, Walkerville is considered to be one of the most vibrants communities in Windsor. 

This neighbourhood puts you at the centre of some of Windsor's most cherished events, including annual arts and cultural festivals, authentic walking tours and Art in the Park. Walkerville is widely recognized for its walkability, with plenty to see and do in a very convenient radius. Consequently, the neighbourhood is highly sought-after for its proximity to local shops, schools and entertainment. 

Things to do 

Photo via Walkerville Windsor Fringe Festival

See a show at the Olde Walkerville Theatre. A fixture on Wyandotte Street East between Lincoln and Gladstone, The Olde Walkerville Theatre (formerly The Tivoli Theatre) has undergone a facelift or two since its grand opening in 1918. The structure was originally designed by renowned theatre architect C. Howard Crane. In the 1930s, the theatre offered both silent movies and vaudeville acts (similar to a comedic musical act). In 2013, the building was lovingly restored into a venue for small local theatre companies, live music and special events. 

Fun fact: When the theatre first opened, it was illegal to show movies on Sundays. 

Photo via Doors Open Ontario 

Stroll through Willistead Manor. Willistead Manor is a 36-room mansion nestled within a 15-acre park that was built in 1906 for Edward Chandler Walker, the second son of Hiram Walker. Now managed by the Department of Parks, Recreation & Culture, and Facilities, Willistead Manor offers seven uniquely designed rooms to rent for special events. Public tours are also available seasonally at select times.

Photo via Walkerville Brewery Instagram

Take a sip of an “honest beer”.  Yes, Hiram Walker was a whisky man indeed, but what many didn't realize was his affinity for a nice cold brew. When the man of the hour opened the original Walkerville Brewery in 1890, he declared he would produce an “Honest Beer”—anything produced from his brewery would only be crafted of the finest ingredients – no exceptions. To this day, the Walkerville Brewery presses on with the same winning ideology, using unpasteurized single batches with no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours. Locals and visitors alike can discover the brewing process and enjoy samples of beer on a one-of-a-kind Walkerville Brewery Tour.

Walkerville isn't only known for their whiskey and beer. From wood-fired pizzas to chicken-pot pie, the curious diner can find all sorts of delicious fare at hot spots like The Twisted ApronF&B Walkerville, the vegan friendly Carrots n' Dates and more! Walkerville's dining district is a culinary experience that combines the neighbourhood's flare for heritage with contemporary, creative cuisine. 

Photo via Le Rempart 

Experience the Windsor-Walkerville Fringe Fest. The Windsor-Walkerville Fringe Festival is an annual event that celebrates local artists. The festival has been running since 2016 and is associated with the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF). Uniquely, the festival guarantees that its talented artists receive 100% of ticket revenue and it does not subject their work to jury approval or censorship in any way. The festival prides itself on its ability to provide accessible arts experiences to the community. 

Walkerville has graciously mastered the balance of historic charm within a modern, evolving community. Drop by for a visit or work with a local REALTOR® and discover why this picturesque town is the place to call home. 



Passive Houses: Making Your Eco-Dreams a Reality

Passive houses are really anything but passive—the truth is, they're total powerhouses. They boast incredible energy efficiency, superb insulation and optimal temperature and comfort 12 months a year.

With that being said, passive homes aren't very common in Canada yet, as our intensely varied climate presents challenges for anyone trying to keep a home comfortable year-round. 

To learn more about these unique homes and their growing place in the Canadian home landscape, we spoke to two PHIUS-certified (Passive House Institute US) builders: Chris Weissflog of EcoGen Energy in Kemptville, Ontario and William Murray of Construction Rocket in the Eastern Townships in Quebec. 

What's the difference between a passive house and a passive solar house ? 

Passive solar home.

As soon as you hear the words “passive house”, you're probably thinking about solar panels—but they're not always a necessary component. 

Passive solar homes are designed to get the maximum benefits from sunshine with solar panels and other systems that use sunlight to heat the air and water in the house.

Weissflog explains that, despite popular belief, passive homes don't need to rely on the sun and can actually perform well in the shade too. For a passive home, the ability to maintain a consistent ambient temperature, regardless of the season and without the help of mechanical systems, is more important than the use of solar panels. This is achieved by keeping the house well insulated, and appropriately sealed and ventilated.

What are the advantages of a passive house?

Solar panels on house.Passive House via EcoGen Energy

Comfort: Both builders agree, it's impossible to find a house more comfortable than a passive house. Whether it's -30 or +30, in the middle of a room or right next to a window—passive houses maintain a consistently comfortable inside temperature. Will Murray had a client who wanted to do yoga in front of her glass patio door in the middle of winter without freezing. In a passive home with effective ventilation, this is totally feasible.

Energy efficiency: Passive houses use very little energy and cost almost nothing to heat in the winter or cool in the summer. Murray reported the annual energy costs for a  1,980-square-foot PHIUS-certified passive home his company constructed were an impressive $700 (approximately $58 per month) and included—among other things—appliances, heating and cooling. 

Frame of house.Passive House via Construction Rocket

Air quality: Because passive homes are built to be extremely airtight, they require efficient and regular ventilation and air filtering. This makes them a great choice for people with allergies or breathing problems. 

Predictable energy costs year after year: A passive home's strong seals and effective insulation help keep energy from varying dramatically so you'll likely avoid surprises like expensive heating and electricity bills through the winter months

House with scaffolding. Passive House via Construction Rocket

Durability: Passive homes are built to last. Mostly-sealed and built with high-quality materials, passive houses are generally less likely to deteriorate over time—which means lower maintenance costs, too.

Quiet:Another benefit of all that insulation and their thicker walls, triple-glazed windows and lack of forced-air systems for heating or cooling, passive houses can be incredibly quiet. 

They're ideal for apartments: For a multiplex or student residence, building a passive structure is a great option. By assuming most of the costs during construction, you'll save money on utilities long-term and the added insulation will make it harder for tenants to disrupt each other with noise. 

Before you build

Construction worker working on house.Cellulose insulation. Passive House via EcoGen Energy
  • If you want your home to be certifiably passive, make sure you involve a PHIUS or Passivhaus certified expert from the get-go—even before hiring an architect. Make sure the involved professionals communicate the nuances of the process to avoid paying for plans and drawings more than once.
  • Keep in mind, renovating an existing house into a passive house can be more expensive than starting from scratch.
  • The up-front costs of building a passive house can be significant (a construction mortgage might help) but factor in the long-term savings on energy and maintenance when creating your budget.
  • While the topics of sealing or energy-efficient insulation aren't exactly sexy when compared with kitchen and bathroom design, they're essential to a passive home and too ensure comfort year-round.   
Bathroom with view.Passive House via Construction Rocket
  • Various experts will need to collaborate on your passive house through design and building to ensure your home meets the standards for certification. 

Insulation in home.Passive House via Construction Rocket

Interested? Try searching for homes for sale near you with the keyword search term, “passive”. 



Designing for Calmness

In the day-to-day craziness of life, balancing the needs of family, work and self can often create a high-stress schedule that keeps the tempo high and relaxation a precious commodity. Consider making your home an island of calm as an important source of balance.

Keeping it simple, no matter the style

The Japanese call it kanso – simplicity – after one of seven Zen principles, and you don't need to be a minimalist to apply it to your space. In fact, these tips work even if you're a shabby chic bohemian maximalist though, of course, your methods of incorporating will vary from your modernist industrial friends or neighbours. It's all about what brings you peace, so feel free to try any or all these tactics.

Kill the clutter

One designer's bric-a-brac is another person's junk pile, so “clutter” can be a very subjective idea. Sometimes the best thing to do to kick start the decluttering process, is a deep clean.  No matter how busy your decorating scheme, though, certain places must be clutter-free, such as the kitchen counters and sink. Keep traffic areas clear for easy movement and, if anything is closing in on you when you sit down, let it be the arms of a wingback chair. Any time cozy turns to cramped, there's a decluttering opportunity.

Get natural

There's no need to be knee-deep in Arts and Crafts to benefit from the peace the natural world offers. It may be as simple as putting up a window treatment around a view of your favourite flowers in the garden. Natural light is often a stress reliever in weather fair or foul.

The principle is called biophilia – the love of nature – and a touch of it in your design scheme can be both personal and calming. Your choice of houseplants, for instance, can help bring a personal focal point to a room.

See the light

Don't take your lightbulbs for granted! Using different sources, including natural light (or its absence), can evoke virtually any emotion, so choose wisely. Few people would think of a fluorescent fixture over their bed as a relaxing way to ease into sleep. Think of light as a design layer as well as functional. Add lighting styles and levels to help you relax.  

Colour and calm

Most people have a sense of the colours they respond to, as well as moods the colours evoke. Yet, there are also many people trying to relax in rooms lined with generic builder's paint. Consider how colour psychology influences your sense of calm and make the switch.

Comfort quotients

Some like silk while others like linen. Design isn't strictly about appearance. An attractive bedding option moves from satisfactory to superior when it's made from a fabric you love to touch. Aromatherapy may be as simple as a light wave of vanilla or refreshing hints of lavender. Comfort can arrive through any of your senses, and any of these can bring you peace.

Most everyone has seen a sofa they love but, after trying it, wonder what sort of creature it was designed for, since it's obviously not comfortable for humans. There's a reason why the stereotype of the dad with the ratty recliner exists. Sometimes comfort is in the behind of the beholder.

Heal thyself

No one knows what speaks to you quite like you do. No matter how sparse or busy your personal design style, never forget the touches that bring you peace. Perhaps it's a photo from a recent vacation, a curio you received as a gift or maybe an old canoe paddle that reminds you of long-ago summers at camp.

Managing stress is a big part of a balanced life in today's busy world. Caring for our homes is an extension of caring for ourselves, so approaching design with calmness in mind is hardly a pretension, but instead a powerful tool for wellness.


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