Today's Renter Dec tutorial wraps up a month-long series dedicated to beautiful, renter-friendly projects that are fully removable. We shared how-tos on adding pops of pattern by wallpapering closets and door frames, and a brilliant decal growth chart for kids that you can take with you from house to house. This past weekend I used decals to create a faux tile backsplash to add some much needed pattern and character to my plain kitchen. Our decals are the perfect renter decor fare -- they're easily removed and repositioned.
Working at Spoonflower, we're always printing amazing designs created by the Spoonflower community and we love to decorate our office with a happy mix of colors and and patterns from the Marketplace. (Take a virtual tour of Spoonflower headquarters!) After leaving work, I come home to cook in the kitchen of my rented townhouse, that looks like this:
Admittedly, the surfaces and appliances are nice, but after hanging out at an office brimming with gorgeous patterns and prints, to me, it looks like this:
Technicolor version coming soon!
- Spoonflower decals (I used decal designs by NinaRibena)
- rotary cutter or scissors
Choose your decals
This faux kitchen tile project would look great with just one pattern, or one primary tile design plus a second design for a few accent tiles, but I picked four different designs by Lisa Barrett (NinaRibena on Spoonflower) and one accent tile design in a bright wasabi color. Because I wanted to use a lot of different patterns for my tiles, I chose designs in the same black and champagne colorway to keep the wall from looking busy, and to make the fun green accent pattern pop even more.
Measure your space
Once you've picked out your decal-worthy spot, measure the space you want to cover with your decal tiles. My spot, the wall between my kitchen counters and my upper cabinets, measures roughly nine feet long and fifteen inches high. I knew I wanted to create rectangular tiles similar to the subway-style tiles I'd installed in previous house, but you can choose any shape you like -- square, or even hexagonal like the faux backsplash some of the girls in the Spoonflower office created above our coffee bar:
Order your decals
I wanted to use 7x3" rectangular tiles, and to cover my wall with five different patterns, I needed to order 5 of our 15x15" decals to have enough tiles to cover my approximately 9 foot by 1 foot high space (I didn't tile all the way up to the underside of my cabinets). Pick out your tile shape and size, then calculate how many decals you'll need to order for your tiles.
Depending on the design you choose (or design for yourself!), you may need to order more than the literal square footage you are trying to cover if the elements you want to show in the tile need to be cut out individually, like the Hello print I chose by NinaRibena.
Cut your decals
Mark the back of your decal to cut into your tile size-- I chose 7x3" rectangles.
If you choose a decal design where you'll need to cut out individual elements for your tiles instead of cutting out the grid from the back, an acryllic ruler comes in handy.
Once I had all of my decal tiles cut out and ready for my project, I couldn't wait to see them up on the wall!
But instead of slapping them up on the wall, like I wanted to, I took a few moments to try out a couple of tiling options.
Place your tiles
Now you're ready to start placing your tiles! The paint in my kitchen is matte, so I didn't prep the wall other than a quick wipe down, but if you have a glossy paint in your kitchen, you may want to clean your wall with a bit of soap and water to remove any dirt or oil.
I wanted to place my tiles in a traditional brick pattern, with each row one half brick stepped from the last, so I chopped a couple of tiles in half to begin.
I eyeballed about a 1/8 to 1/4 inch margin around each tile for the look of grout lines.
For cutting the tiles to place around outlets, I found it simpler to mark on the face of the decal tiles with a pencil than to measure around each impediment.
You could plan out which tiles you'll to cut down for the repeat and for outlets by measuring out your whole space, but because I wanted to randomize the different tile designs, I cut the special tiles as I went.
Progress! Cutting the decals for placement around the switchplates and outlets took the most time, after that, it was smooth sailing.
Compared to some of the other home dec projects I've attempted in the past, this one makes only a tiny mess. It's a fast project too-- which is a good thing for a kitchen-- I only interrupted one mealtime. But hey, that's the cost of doing DIY business.
This project is perfect for the committment-phobic, and the DIY novice. Since the decals are easily removable and repositioned, I could rearrange any non-quite-straight tiles and swap out tiles if any of the designs started to look overused in the repeat.
I'm really loving the results. For such a quick and simple project, the space feels totally transformed. My kitchen looks so cheery now, I can't wait to have a dinner party to show it off!