Hello to my fellow renters! Here's the situation: I've been fighting with my kitchen ever since I moved into my apartment. It's completely functional, but it's not ideal for the following reasons: it's way too small, the cabinets do nothing to help visually, and the walls have been stained from cooking accidents of years past. I wanted to class the joint up a bit, and decided to install a fake backsplash by way of removable vinyl wallpaper.
Most of us have had one at some point or another... an ugly ceramic tiled floor. Well, here's the good news... you don't necessarily have to tear it up – painting is a great option that requires less time and money than re-tiling. Keep reading to learn more about using floor tile paint to give your space a quick, affordable makeover.
Dirty grout is a common problem. But with so many cleaning tips floating around on the internet, it's hard to know what to believe. So I decided to take the guess work out of it by testing a few methods and reporting back to you. Read on to see what I discovered...
Hunting for a rental apartment is just about the worst thing about modern urban life. Not only do you have to contend with application fees and sketchy brokers, compete with other prospective tenants, and traipse through one messy, half-packed living room after another; but once you finally find a place that you can afford and that doesn't have literal holes in the walls --- you have to move in and actually LIVE WITH all the ugly, outdated apartment features that you tried desperately to ignore as you signed the lease and handed over your entire month's income.
Unless, of course, you are a DIYer.
The only thing we DIYers have to live with is our penchant for hoarding supplies (politely known as "being prepared").
So roll up your sleeves, guys, because today we are going to tackle one often-ignored rental eyesore: the kitchen backsplash. Keep reading to see how these temporary and removable backsplash ideas will make you love your apartment kitchen, without sacrificing your security deposit.
Peel-and-Stick Tile: The Ultimate Removable Backsplash
Yes, that jaw-dropping white subway tile backsplash is a DIY. Designer Abby from Daily Disco used this peel-and-stick tile from Amazon to transform her kitchen. Ok, she clearly did a few other things too (helloooo, amazing pink rug!), but the removable backsplash alone makes a huge difference, and you don't have to be a professional contractor to do this yourself.
Peel-and-stick tile is definitely the easiest way to DIY your kitchen backsplash. If you can wrap a present with somewhat straight lines (admittedly a challenge at times), you can install peel-and-stick tile. It comes in an almost overwhelming array of styles. And, most importantly for our purposes, the "tile" can be removed when you move on to your next heinous rental apartment. Inexpensive and renter-friendly!
Check out some more peel-and-stick tile DIY backsplash ideas:
Melodrama's DIY backsplash makeover with peel-and-stick tile is another example of how you just can't go wrong with the classic, white subway tile look.
This removable backsplash redo on RoomMates shows that you can get a completely different look and style using peel-and-stick tile.
While not quite peel-and-stick, Sincerely Sweetpea's renter-friendly backsplash makes use of a similarly removable product, Facade Backsplash Panels.
And my personal favorite of the bunch: the bloggers behind Atelier de Curiosite made over their Parisian kitchen using white hexagon peel-and-stick tile. Can a rental kitchen get any dreamier??
Peel-and-Stick Tile Sources:
Look out: there are two types of products on the market both called "peel-and-stick tile." For the removable kind that's good for renters, you want 3D sheets that look like tiles; NOT individual tiles that require additional glue. Check out these links for some options!
- White hex tile - Etsy
- Blue sea glass tile - Home Depot
- Tuscan tile - Bed Bath & Beyond
- Slate tile - Wayfair
- Classic white subway tile - Amazon
Fake a Backsplash with Temporary Wallpaper
We live in a truly magical age. An age where things can be sticky, and not sticky, as we wish.
That's why this other peel-and-stick trick, removable wallpaper, is another great DIY renter-friendly backsplash idea. You can simply stick it over your hideous backsplash for a year or two, and pull it up when it's time to go!
Chasing Paper has a truly endless selection of removable wallpaper prints to choose from, and inspiring images to get your ideas rolling (Sorry not sorry for sending you down that beautiful rabbit hole).
Botanical removable wallpaper makes a bold and beautiful statement in Apartment Therapy writer Anna Spaller's rental kitchen.
This mid-mod removable backsplash only cost $30 thanks to peel-and-stick wallpaper.
Our own M.E. used removable vinyl wallpaper to update her kitchen backsplash!
This inventive blogger shows how she was able to make her own custom temporary wallpaper using contact paper. Seriously the smartest use of contact paper I've ever seen.
Guess what: Contact paper is just cheaper removable wallpaper. Mind. Blown.
Love the look of marble, but not the price tag? Contact paper to the rescue!
Removable wallpaper and contact paper sources:
- Wildflower removable wallpaper - Urban Outfitters
- Embossed damask removable wallpaper - Wayfair
- Geometric Art Deco wallpaper - Wayfair
- Terrazzo tile removable wallpaper - West Elm
- Subway tile removable wallpaper - Target
- Dark floral removable wallpaper - Amazon
- Marble contact paper - Amazon
- Reclaimed wood contact paper - Amazon
Change the Look of your Backsplash with Paint
Including "paint" in this roundup might be cheating a bit, since not all landlords will allow their tenants to paint. But for you lucky renters who are allowed to paint, you will just die over all the ways you can makeover your kitchen backsplash using paint (like the DIY herringbone tile backsplash above!).
If your landlord is hesitant about you going at the kitchen backsplash with a paint roller, offer to paint back over it when you move out. OR, you can always try the "ask for forgiveness, not permission" tactic, just don't hold me liable if you don't get your security deposit back.
And for those of you who can't paint in your apartment, don't worry, I've got a workaround for you later on!
I know the chalkboard look has been fading in the design scene, but I will never ever tire of a well-executed chalkboard kitchen backsplash. And it's such an easy DIY! As in the example above...
Here's a DIY renter-friendly backsplash idea which doesn't even require you to break out all the brushes and rollers. A Beautiful Mess created this DIY herringbone tile look with just a paint pen and a ruler (and, a lot of patience).
Try using cement tile stencils in a muted palette to paint your DIY backsplash.
Or follow this ambitious DIYer's faux glass tile backsplash tutorial!
And did you know you can actually paint over existing tile?
Make a Removable Backsplash by Installing a Panel
Renters who fall into the woefully tragic category of Being Unable to Paint, rejoice! You can still make a custom DIY painted backsplash using this workaround: paint -- or even tile -- a removable panel instead.
Food 52's Alex Kalita created her renter-friendly backsplash above by tiling a small plywood board. She then mounted the board to the wall with a French cleat. All very accessible, and very temporary.
This rental hack of creating a backsplash on a temporary board or panel can be customized in so many ways. Take a look at some of these removable backsplash panels:
Anna Dorfman puts this technique to creative use with her graphic painted backsplash in her rental kitchen on Door Sixteen.
This unique and colorful backsplash is made of painted peel-and-stick tile. To make the project removable and renter-friendly, you can stick the painted tiles onto a panel cut to size, instead. And, use removable Velcro strips to keep the panels in place!
I am beyond obsessed with all things copper, which led me to discover these amazing copper sheet rolls on Amazon. I used them to create a magnetic copper inspiration board, and have been itching to recreate the project on a larger scale.
Can you imagine a brilliant, shiny, patina-rich copper backsplash in your rental kitchen? It would be totally renter-friendly if you applied the copper sheet rolls onto a board attached to the wall.
You can adapt the same idea using tin tiles from the hardware store, as the DIY Network did here.
Shiplap is having a major moment, and the panel trick can make this stylish look possible in a rental too. Just use the tutorial from A Beautiful Mess, but combine it with Door Sixteen's panel backsplash.
Or, go totally wild and create a custom mosaic backsplash! If you make the mosaic on a single, smaller board, such as for just behind the sink or stove, you can even take the project with you for your next rental kitchen.
Alright, DIYers, I want to hear about your own rental kitchens. Do you have an eyesore apartment backsplash that's in need of some love? Would you try one of these temporary DIY backsplash ideas? We'd love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments!
Craving more ideas to turn your rental into a home you can love? Check out these other posts!
Searching for the perfect mosaic tile backsplash for your kitchen be overwhelming. The sheer number of options is mind-boggling, which means that figuring out a unique style that fits your personality can be difficult. So today we're sharing some inspiring mosaic tile backsplash ideas that will help you pin down the look you're going for. Bits of china and tile have never looked so beautiful. Here are a few mosaic back splashes that just might make you start breaking dishes. Opa!
These circular tile mosaics give the kitchen a happy, whimsical sort of feel thanks to their bubbly shape (literally and figuratively). They were made by Clayhaus Modern Tile using their You Design Tool which allows clients to customize the colors of the circles. They also offer hexagon patterns, rhombus patterns, and many others.
If you're looking for a metallic finish, this mosaic tile backsplash by New Ravenna is made using 24K gold glass, agate and quartz jewel glass. The gilded surface adds a beautiful reflective quality, giving it a sophisticated feel that many other tiles don't have. The unique design makes it feel very high end.
This backsplash and countertop is made using recycled glass, so it resembles the terrazzo pattern that is so popular lately. While this doesn't appear to technically be a mosaic tile made with mesh backing, it still achieves the same look thanks to its many small pieces. Read more about it here.
If you're really looking to go bold, you might consider tiling an image on your backsplash. This definitely requires prior mosaic tiling experience, but if you've got it, flaunt it! (Otherwise though, hire a pro). This will make an incredible impact on your space, and will forever be a conversation piece for your guests.
This mosaic tile backsplash is made using a variety of different types of tile, and even utilizes broken pieces of pottery in many areas. And they took it one step further, making it functional by adding a broken half of a mug to hold pencils and a pair of scissors. What a unique idea!
This beautiful mosaic tile backsplash is really two patterns in one... the shapes made by the grout lines and the subtle colors in the tiles themselves which form a lovely natural brown hue all together. Something like this which combines both geometric and organic shapes would perfect to offset any kitchen that is feeling too white.
This light colored mosaic kitchen backsplash has the look of penny tiles with a more contemporary vibe thanks to the triangular tiles. The subtle variation in color from tile to tile picks up the surrounding hues perfectly, tying in the warm wooden countertop and the crisp blue walls.
Marisa over on Design Sponge chose to use black grout in her colorful backsplash.
Check these two out from Therese Dejardin Studio.
Adore the sweet contemporary pattern of this one, which relied on a tile cutter rather than a hammer for its creation.
And, finally, Ginger's Major Mosaic Kitchen Makeover posted right here on Curbly a few years back, which is so great it needed another shout out.
Have you seen any other interesting backsplash ideas? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!
Need a more temporary backsplash solution? Read this list of temporary changes for your unchangeable kitchen backsplash.
This project combines two of my renovation favorites: wood and tile! This is such a unique idea for that typical breakfast tray. I can see so many uses for this little guy! What about you?
Patterned floor tile, specifically encaustic cement tiles, is a trend that's been steadily growing over the last few years. (Heck, I even used some in my own bathroom remodel -- and I love it.) It's a bold choice and definitely not for everyone (or the commitment phobic), but if you're a fan or just need a little bit of inspiration to push you over that design fence, here are 14 stunning bathrooms with patterned floor tiles!
After years of dreaming of our perfect bathroom, we had honed in on a look that we knew we would be pleased with for years to come. I pinned and pinned my little heart out until Pinterest finally started saying, "This looks familiar; didn't you already pin this?" Our vision was set, now we just needed to find a way to bring this vision to life.
Listen up! In case you haven't entered our KitchenPalette giveaway yet, you still have time! The KitchenPalette system is a product that lets you change the look of your kitchen with an interchangeable backsplash. Click though here to read more about the product and enter to win (hint: it's easy ... you just have to leave us a comment!)
If you've ever thought of building or remodeling a kitchen (and let's face, who hasn't?), you know it's tough to settle on design choices. When it comes to tile, those choices are permanent ... usually. Now, Kitchen Palette has created a product that lets you change the look of your kitchen with an interchangeable backsplash. Read on to learn more about the product, and enter to win a Kitchen Palette system valued at $350!
Start Wizard of Oz Voice:
People. The Curbly House now has a functioning toilet!
End Wizard of Oz Voice.
Yeah, I bet you were wondering how we were getting along all this time in house with no bathroom. Fact is, the bathroom has been gutted for weeks, and those of us working on the project have been making runs (hah) to the nearby gas station for nature's calls. No longer! Read on to watch my video journal, find out how our new bathroom started coming together, and see if you can spot a special surprise that we've been expecting...
Dated kitchen be gone! We're about to get fresh and fun(ky) up in here.
Okay. My ongoing investigations for my future kitchen re-model has uncovered some surprising facts that kind of blow my mind. First is the assumption--on my part and probably on others--that natural stone tile is the most durable. According to my tile guy, that's totally
My boo and I are going to be putting in a new floor in our kitchen very soon. We've gone over the options and have kicked around the possibility of cork, wood and tile. Each have their pluses and minuses, which is why we're still vacillating and, frankly, why we haven't started the project. Now, to make things even more confusing, we have thrown in the notion of tile that looks like wood. Yup, the floors highlighted in these images are actually tile.
The first two images are from the Tesoro Collection via South Cypress.
The great thing about these floors is because they're porcelain, they're super easy to work with, unlike natural stone which can be a mother for the DIYer. From my cursory investigation, prices hover around the 4 (for ceramic) to 6 (for porcelain) bucks a square foot neighborhood, which means they're affordable as well.
I think the success of their install has a lot to do with their grout lines. Take for example the one pictured below. That has to be un-sanded grout for such tight grout lines.
For comparison, here's a bathroom floor done with standard sanded grout lines, which looks overtly tile-y and busy, but that's what happens when you use a highly contrasting grout color.
Here's an example of another good install. It's something called Easy Wood from Marca Corona that I spotted on Garden State Tile's Facebook page:
Lest we think these tiles would only look good under our feet, take a look at this (probably ceramic) shower install:
Nice-looking, super durable and easily DIYable? Throw in a heating element and that's a combo hard to dismiss.
POST UPDATE: We spent yesterday perusing the aisles of our two favorite tile shops looking for samples of such tiles. I'm happy to say they're as gorgeous in person as they are in these pictures. Some things to keep in mind if you're going to DIY it, however. First, they're dense and long (one we saw was a whopping 8" x 48"!), so you'll need a tile saw or grinder to do any cutting. Second, you'll want to grout them using a FINE-SANDED GROUT if you want to keep those grout lines minimal.
Not everything is big in Texas…especially not my 650 square foot condo that I felt needed a little excitement. Everyone knows the kitchen is the epicenter of one’s home (no matter how small), so I figured this would be the best place to create a piece of art that would inspire my cooking as well as conversation from my family and guests.
I ran across the idea of creating a backsplash using broken plates and glass. As you see, starting small...
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed the wool felt craze that's been going on the last year or two. People are using it to make pretty much everything imaginable, from simple circular coasters to laser-cut rugs and now: geometric wall tiles!
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to play with a new tiling product called Bondera TileMatSet. Simply put, Bondera is pressure sensitive sticky back on a roll that eliminates the need for mastic and thin set when tiling walls, countertops or splash-backs. It's billed as VOC free, mess free, and it allows immediate grouting after tile installation. Sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too. I mean, it's sticky back tape for goodness sake! How's that going to hold heavy tile??
Mosaics, I love you. Let me count the ways.
- You are ancient. The oldest evidence shown in the archaelogical record indicates that mosaics date back to 3,000 BC in Mesopotamia.
- You are seemingly universal. So many cultures and so many artistic traditions have adopted you as their own medium of expression. Each work is imbued with a unique look specific to the time and place of the maker.
- You are complex assemblages of small things. The...