Choosing Grout & Hanging Drapes

by | Feb 23, 2013 | Master Bedroom, My House | 60 comments

I received a few opinions on the grout choice for my kitchen back splash and it made me take a look at my choice again.  I do read your comments and take them to heart.  I had bought gray grout, but the more I thought about it, the more I was unsure about the gray.  Finally, I read a comment from a reader who suggested I test it out on a small section of tile.  Duh.



I put a small amount of tile on a piece of cardboard and applied the gray grout.  It wasn’t working for me at all.  It’s not that it looks bad, but it really brings out the gray in the tile and makes it look much darker. (Really, the two test patches look like entirely different tile, it’s that dramatic.)  I was also concerned with how this might highlight any mistakes.

I have gray grout in my floors and I like it there… 


…but it just wasn’t working for me for the back splash.  So, I tried white…


Perfect!!  It blends with the tile and is much brighter.  It’s just what I want.  Now, I know the issues with white grout.  I have white grout in my half bathroom.  The fact is, though, this isn’t going on floors, it’s going on a back splash.  I’m expecting it will hold up pretty well…over the stove is my biggest area of concern, but I’m going to seal the grout and tile and will keep an eye on it.

You have no idea the torture it was for me to have a bucket of grout sitting on my counter when I couldn’t get started on applying it.  My husband saw me eyeing it and he knew the look.  “You’re not thinking about putting the grout on today, are you?”

“Yeah, I am.  But I won’t.  I know I need to pack and get ready for the trip.”  I showed great restraint and went about doing the things I needed to do.  I’ll grout when I get back.

I was able to finish my bedroom curtains, though…



…and they are proper curtains with lining and everything!  I made them for another tutorial, so you’ll get to see all of the how-to details soon.  The grain sacks are hanging over the chair, because I’m going to use them for the upholstery.

Our counters have also arrived at the store, so we’ll pick those up on Monday.  So many projects…


  1. Audrey

    Wow, the difference the grout makes in the appearance of the tile is amazing. Who knew? With the gray grout the tiles appear a dull gray. With the white tiles it looks much brighter, I like the white much better! I can’t wait to see it all complete. Good luck and have a nice trip.
    Audrey @

  2. Jane

    I absolutely agree with your grout choice. I’m a big fan of gray grout, but something about your tiles and the pattern just really calls for white. I think the gray just makes it too busy! But it always good to test just to be sure 🙂

    I’ve had white grout on my sink backsplash for two years now. It still looks great and I never did anything to seal it, so I wouldn’t worry about the white!

    Can’t wait to see it all finished!

  3. Janet Lawson

    Your curtains are beautiful. I like the look of the white better than the grey on the tile.The grey,to me, changed the whole look of the tile.I would of never thought of doing a sample piece to check the color.Thank God for the comment section.LOL.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Fiona, Lilyfield Life

    hi Marian – perfect way to work out what you want. I also have white grout in my kitchen and there is something that you can mix into your grout that means you don’t have to seal it (i forget what it is but your hardware shop will know) – i used it in mine and two and a half years later the backslash is still perfectly white even behind the stove – and it does get splashed with grease and tomato etc and is still white. (but sealer will work the same also)
    (remember you featured my kitchen about 2 years ago)
    hope you have a good trip – i can’t wait to see your kitchen – it’s going to be beautiful
    cheers Fiona

  5. Alison@soiledrotten

    Loving those curtains!

  6. Linda@Coastal Charm

    Good choice..going with the white grout. LOVE the drapes too!!


  7. Kathryn

    love the curtains,plus so smart on the tile,, hope the travels where good and no delays…hope Washington make a decisions sooner so we don’t have delays on flights…I had one that almost made me miss a flight that was very important,all due to security.
    Again love the drapes

  8. Lisa

    I can’t believe the difference between the white and the grey,,,,,the white looks so much cleaner…Good choice.

  9. Jessica

    I LOVE your curtains…looking forward to your tutorial! And I agree, too, the white grout would have been my pick! 🙂

  10. rie

    I like the white for the back splash but boy am I kicking myself for using white for our bathroom floor. I’ve settled on the fact that its just going to look dirty. Live and learn!

  11. Danielle

    Love the white grout and those curtains look amazing!

  12. Janie

    Great choice on the grout and I am so impressed that you showed “remarkable restraint” not delving into the grout before your trip! Have a safe one.

    I just made my reservation to spend the day with you in Roswell, Georgia! Looking forward to a wonderful time. Hope you and Maryanne can give me some advice on a piece In my bedroom that I want to “blend” not “match” with a painted piece that is next to my bed. I am stymied!

  13. Sandy

    Love your drapes! Your make-over master bedroom is remarkable and so lovely. I’m sure it’s an inspiration for many of your readers. I for one, need to make a paint choice to balance my bed dressing.

  14. Kim

    The white grout; oh yeah! Much nicer than the grey:) BUT, I noticed you have a different rug in your kitchen below your sink…I LOVE it; where did you get it? I want one…Thanks!

  15. Stacey

    Wow! You have such wonderful decorating taste. The grout is prettier in white, I agree with y’all. The curtains are amazing.

  16. Gabrielle

    We also recently redid our bathroom and we were choosing between the two. We used Silver travertine which I fell in love with right away. It is a small bath and the tiles are 1in by 2in rectangles in a normal pattern. I was leaning toward white grout too but in the end knowing that it was going on the floor and how much that would need cleaning I went with a very light gray and I am pleased with it. That is a great idea to test the tiles I’ll remember that when we do the kitchen backsplash. We have leftover tiles, we bought tooo much so I need to use it up somewhere. Love you website…and style.

  17. Jennifer

    Can’t wait to see the finished kitchen I know it will look AMAZING!
    The last kitchen I had unfortunately had white grout. One of my friends said that Dawn soap and a toothbrush worked wonders. So I tried it, and after tons of scrubbing, it looked a little better. Than I picked up a Mr. Clean magic eraser and that was…well, magic! It cleaned that white grout like nobody’s business! Those things work on almost everything.

  18. Deanna

    The two samples do seem like to different tiles! Amazing!

    I like the white as well, and think it will be fantastic in your kitchen!


  19. Michelle Flynn

    Love the curtains and the white grout! Excellent choices.

  20. Melissa

    Love the curtains, and can’t wait to see the tutorial.

  21. kristin

    LOVE the white grout!! Sometimes we need two heads to figure things out! Oh my, love the curtains and the chair is going to look fabulous!!! You have the BEST job! And you get soo much accomplished…what a lucky woman you are!

  22. Sandy

    Love the curtains..looking forward to tutorial. Loving the white grout, what a difference that choice made.

  23. Nanci

    I don’t know if you read these, but grout sealer is super easy and cheap to apply. I would recommend it to give you peace of mind. White looks better, I agree with you.

  24. cindy hattersley

    Both choices would have looked wonderful…it all depends on the look you want to achieve. I have done both…darker grout sometimes looks nicer with darker counters for a more contemporary look. I think you made a great choice and your draperies are beautiful!

  25. Marian Luther

    SO glad you chose the white and not the grey! It looks beautiful and light and bright; listening to your heart is always the best choice! I did the same with my vintage subway tiles and although everyone tried to push me towards the trendy use of grey I resisted and am so happy I did. Your kitchen is about you and what you love and need, it’s beautiful!

  26. Terry

    I just tiled my backsplash too and there is an additive that you can purchase for the grout that you mix in with the grout before you tile. (I got mine at Lowe’s) and it will seal the grout all the way through as it dries. I suggest getting it.

  27. colleen

    ha ha our husbands know us sooooo well. I agree with the whilte grout. next to your white cabinets and the warm wood of the butcher block counters, the tile will really sparkle. I am soooo glad you did a test run, really helps to finalize that decision.

  28. Lynn in DG

    Wait Marian! I am the same as you. Have materials. Must finish job no matter how much it does not make sense at the time.
    Did you consider epoxy grout? I just did my kitchen backsplash with traditional subway tiles and I DID go with the gray epoxy grout. I wanted the gray pulled out of my brand new, drop dead gorgeous Montclare Danby marble countertops. It looks great.
    However, I hate grout. I hate dingy grout. Even more so I hate cleaning dingy grout. So we went with epoxy grout for the backsplash. It comes premixed and yes it is more expensive but not too bad for just a backsplash app.
    I cannot lie. It is a PAIN to apply. My husband balked the whole way through. But we managed to get it accomplished with him floating it on and me wiping, packing and cleaning close behind. I like to think of these projects as sort of an Outward Bound experience for a marriage. A team building exercise per se.
    Supposedly we never have to seal it and it will be stain free. AS in not hot pink after two weeks cuz my kids love cherry limeade drink mix cloud stain!! Fingers crossed.

  29. LesleyB

    Hi, I love your curtain fabric but every time I see a photo of your bedroom I wonder why you don’t use those shutters actually on the window instead of just being a decorative item. Just wondering!

  30. Dianne

    Love the curtains! Your bedroom is really coming together! The white grout will look really good with the white cabinets, window trim, etc. Looking forward to seeing the counters.

  31. Nancy

    You are so amazingly clever Marian, that I hate to make this comment, but I think your new drapes are too short. Perhaps it is the photo which makes them look as tho they do not touch the floor… I think they would be far more elegant if they actually skimmed the floor rather than sitting up what looks like two inches above the floor. Even better would have been for them to ‘pouf’ a bit on the floor….so that they would have a softer edge where the fabric billows on the floor.

    The room is gorgeous…so is your entire house….but the length of the drapes as shown just takes away from your professional look.

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Yeah, I hung them a little high, mainly so I could clean under them. They look a little higher in the photo than in person, though. When you walk in the room, it looks like they touch the floor.

  32. Nita@ModVintageLife

    Oh…white was definitely the right choice. I never like white subway tile with dark grout. I love white grout with white tile. I know everyone talks about it getting dirty but…..I have it in both my kitchen and bathroom….and it’s WHITE. I have not had any problems with it at all. The white grout was there when I moved in 8 years ago and it still looks just as good. One day I will retile my kitchen and it will have white tile with white grout again. So glad you listened to your readers. The grey makes the pattern too busy too.

  33. Maria

    Your curtains (and bedroom) are gorgeous! I don’t think the curtains are too short at all. They are perfect! I guess it depends on individual taste. I cannot believe the difference the grout makes in how the tiles look. What an amazing difference! I like the white much better. Blessings on your day!

  34. Mary Jo Gibson

    The grout will be AWESOME. The curtains are PERFECT! And I am SO stealing the idea of the grain sacks for upholstery 🙂

  35. julie

    I once read that no matter WHAT color grout you put on your floor tile it is eventually going to be gray…so you might as well start out that way! But for a back splash, I think white will not be a problem at all. Especially since you’re going to seal it. White grout on tile counters (!) or floor — big mistake. White grout on your marble back splash — GORGEOUS!

  36. Kathryn

    so funny all the differing opinions. But what impresses me is the fact that you don’t get irked (or at least not publicly) ! I’m enjoying the progression posts. Thanks for including us

  37. Linda S. in NE

    That grout experiment was worth it’s weight in gold, wasn’t it? So glad one of your readers thought to mention it. I love your bedroom curtains, and as someone who could/would not sew to save my life, I cannot imagine gathering up all that material and trying to get one section or the other to run under a tiny little needle. Your talents are vast, indeed. I hope you have a safe trip this weekend.

  38. Debbi

    The white grout looks great. You can also use epoxy grout which is self sealing. You don’t have to use a seperate sealer over the top. We used it with our glass mosiac tiles in our kitchen. It does dry fast so you have to work fast!

  39. Beja Foster @ Howdy Honey

    I am SO using cardboard to test grout when I do a backsplash. What a great idea. I wonder how easy it is to grout over grout that you don’t like, say, in a bathroom. I wouldn’t think too hard since it’s just covering the existing grout.

    Y’all got me thinking!

  40. Denise T

    Oh, I like white better ….Love the drapes….

  41. dianna

    I so miss the furniture make overs. I know the house is important, but I still miss your furniture finds. dJ

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Yes, those will come back again once I get through these freelance projects. I will be getting ready for the Lucketts fair, so I will have a lot to show. I also just worked on a piece last week with my mom, so you’ll see the reveal of that next week. There’s a season for everything. 🙂

  42. Kelly

    If you are worried about the space behind the stove area, we used marble and then the space there we used stainless steel. It’s perfect!

  43. Audrey Zumwalt

    Hi Marian. Your hard work is paying off. Everything looks great. I really love how your bedroom is coming together. I hope you have a wonderful trip and I know you will come home very inspired. Good luck.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  44. Loretta

    Did you know there is an epoxy grout that never needs sealing! We have it in our bathrooms and its wonderful, no mildew at all in showers in the south!

  45. Kerri Arthur

    Hi Marian,

    Ok…I have been looking and looking for drapery fabric and I LOVE your choice for these drapes!

    Could you tell me what pattern this is? Did I miss it at Joann’s or Hancock?

    Any help would be appreciated!

    LOVE your stuff by the way! 😉


  46. Laura

    I love the look with the white grout!! I definitely looks much brighter. And the curtains look beautiful as well!

  47. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline

    Busy busy lady! Everything is looking lovely. I want to come crash your house and just soak in the gorgeousness. 🙂

  48. Lilli

    Gorgeous gorgeous selection on the tile! I have white subway tile on my backsplash in my kitchen, and also chose white grout! My husband and I DIY it too!! Word of caution on the sealer!!! When I was researching — every sealer will have a yellowing effect on your pretty white grout! We chose not to seal! I hate that dingy yellow color! We are just trying to be careful, so far it’s worked out great! We also used those strips for hanging the tile! Awesome shortcut- good luck. I love your ideas, your enthusiasm,creativity and hard work! Thanks for sharing with us!

  49. Claudine

    Dear Marian, it is amazing the difference the grout makes on the tiles! Thank you so much for showing the samples! I am going to show your site to a friend that is renovating her kitchen right now!
    I also love the curtains in your bedroom and love those shutters…

  50. April

    Hi Marian, I’m a local to you,Hanover, mother of 3boys and 4 grandsons- really enjoying your website – and your adventures! tip for you ,New Oxford Treasures thrift store has an amazing small scale antique chaise lounger in lucketts green.75.00 and an unusal dresser of high quality with tambour doors(like on a roll top desk) that slide horizontally. will be looking for your paint at lucketts on my next trip to leesburg. looking forward to your next decorating adventure,sincerely, Miss Arpil

  51. Jill

    I read that reader’s comment and wondered what you might do about it! So smart of you to test it out before it became permanent. Thankful that the reader made such a great tip! I will remember to do that when we retile out kitchen. I think the white grout looks beautiful! And I love the curtains! Can’t wait to see how that chair turns out!!!

  52. Rhonda

    Wow, that made a huge difference! I never would have thought grout color could make that much of a difference! Good for future reference!

  53. Karen

    I used white grout on the backsplash in my last kitchen. Loved the look. One tip, though… be sure to seal the grout really well. Re-apply sealer every year. Otherwise, (I learned this from experience), spaghetti sauce, coffee, red jello, or anything with a high color content will stain the grout. Can’t help but splash this stuff every now and then. 🙂

  54. Bettsi

    Wow, that is a dramatic difference between the gray and the white grout- must remember that! I really love the curtains, Marian. Very classic and lovely- I think you really are getting “your” bedroom this time- hurray!


    The grain sack on that chair is going to be wonderful. I would imagine that it would be hard to work with, considering the thickness, but I know little about upholstery work! Great projects!

  56. Barb

    Curtains are A M A Z I N G! I’m counting on that tutorial because I’d like to (fingers crossed) get to work on some curtains for our new home. Love the fabric. Love your style. Good luck with the grout!

  57. Nora Moon

    Would you mind sharing the name of the fabric you used in your bedroom?


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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