tile files: is dark grout here to stay?

As I mentioned yesterday, at last weekend's IDS I got the chance to check out a presentation by Tommy Smythe & Suzanne Dimma, two of my favourite faces in Canadian design. The talk was about solutions to common dilemmas (low ceilings, awkward nooks, no storage, etc), and was hilarious and whip smart from start to finish. 

Yet even though their main points were interesting, it was a casual remark on Tommy's part that caught my attention most. While talking about a particular tiny bathroom, he noted "oh and notice the dark grout. I think it's pretty obvious that look is here to stay".

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I was surprised. Don't get me wrong, I love dark grout with white tiles. A lot. I adore the way that it emphasizes the pattern, the way it references French bistros of old, and the way it prevents grout from starting to look old and dingy/dirty because it's clear the colour is uniform and is supposed to look that way. 

But grout that matches the tile has been viewed as the way to go for a donkey's age, and this contrasting look only took the design world by storm recently. It has all the signs of being a trend (a sudden appearance in a million new spaces and being touted on every blog and in every magazine as being a look to love) so I'd always assumed it was one.

The fact that he was so matter of fact makes me wonder: was I completely off the mark? Is this look one of the magic few that will make the transition from fad to design staple? And if so, are we only talking the more subtle variations . . .



. . . or the slightly more pronounced as well?


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What about the crazy dark and crazy thick? Will this kitchen be just as relevant in 20 years as it is now?


Or will design-lovers walking into this space be able to pinpoint the exact period that the homeowners took a trend - whose subtler version has stuck around - and just plain went with it.

I'll be so curious to see. I'm crossing my fingers that Tommy is right - are you?

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  1. Wow Elyse! I didn't know you were from Toronto! I was at IDS on Friday! I wish I could have seen Tommy's presentation, although I did squeeze in a quick hello. I'm fairly new to the city! :)

    I love dark grout! It will be interesting to see if Tommy is right :)

    1. I'm actually from Montreal, but came up to for IDS and to see a friend! So jealous you got to go to trade day - I'm sure it was great!

  2. I have serious, serious love for Tommy. He cracks me up. However, I'm not sure the dark grout is here to stay. If anything, I think the really dark, thick grout is actually quite trendy. The more subtle version certainly have some staying power. However, I'm not sure it will ever become mainstream... mainly because I think the general population will think it looks like dirty light grout!

  3. Personally I really don't like the look of dark grout so I hope it passes :) I feel like it's too busy-looking--in every single room I've ever seen it, I always wish the grout were lighter. Sounds like IDS was fun though!

  4. we have dark charcoal grout with subway tile on the bathroom walls, and i love it. BUT, it's certainly different and very now. i hope for our sake it has staying power. because that's a lot of tiles. we also have dark charcoal grout on the kitchen floor with hex tile. i love that as well and here i am fairly certain that the look will not pass, because that's what old-time-original-from the 19th century-floors look like. so 50/50?

  5. Hmmm I do love the practicality of dark grout -- but I don't know if it's here to stay! Will be interesting to see :)

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  7. That's why manufacturers and installers recommend sealing grout after it has cured for a couple of days and is completely dry.

  8. Nice post. Very Interesting thoughts.

  9. So the question is, can you change the grout color?


Your comments make me borderline giddy! Thanks so much for taking the time!