Q: I love the look of sleek white tile and grout, but my boyfriend is concerned about keeping it clean, especially the grout on a floor that's home to two dogs. This would be for a very modern-style, all-white kitchen. What do you think?

- H.

A: Um, you just wrote "two dogs" and "all-white kitchen" in consecutive sentences. Though I am loving white lately, I completely agree with your boyfriend about his cleaning concerns on the floor. Even if grout is properly sealed, you'll need to work pretty hard at keeping all that white grout on the floor clean. That goes for counters, too.

Think hard about your finishes. You can accomplish an airy, all-white look without actually having all the finishes pure white. Mixing in shades of gray with whites will not only give you the clean, modern look you want, but it'll also make the whites seem even brighter, and the whole room will feel grounded and more inviting.

For the floor, consider a nonslip tile for your dogs' safety as well as your own. Many commercial-grade ceramic or stone tiles in large rectangular shapes minimize the amount of grout on the floor and will give you a sleek look. A honed or matte finish will usually be less slippery than something shiny or smooth. Grays are very popular now; choose a light- to medium-gray tone to help hide dirt. The grout should match the tile or be just a tiny bit darker. As it stains over time, no one will ever know.

Minimize the grout lines on the counter, too, with a white or mostly white quartz product or stone slab, or even stainless steel for a low-maintenance and classic but modern look. Your backsplash could be white rectangular tiles with white grout, as the walls won't get as dirty as the floor. For a more modern appearance, choose a larger tile than the typical subway tile.

Trust me, you'll all be a lot happier going with a gray floor.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.

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