Renter Dec: Peel and Stick Kitchen Tiles

MAY 28, 2013

Renter Dec copy
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 peel and stick wallpaper to create a faux tile backsplash to add some much needed pattern and character to my plain kitchen. Our peel and stick wallpaper is the perfect renter decor fare — it's easily removed and repositioned.  


finished project

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: 

kitchen

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: 

Kitchen before B&W

Technicolor version coming soon! 

Supplies:

  • Spoonflower Peel and Stick Wallpaper (I used designs by NinaRibena)
  • ruler
  • rotary cutter or scissors 

Choose your Design

Uncut decals collage
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 peel and stick-worthy spot, measure the space you want to cover with your woven wallpaper 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: 

Create_Decal

Order your Wallpaper

I wanted to use 7×3" rectangular tiles, and to cover my wall with five different patterns, I needed to order 1 roll of peel and stick wallpaper 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 rolls you'll need to order for your tiles.

Hello sizing

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 peel and stick wallpaper

Cut kiss cut edge

Before you mark your wallpaper to cut down into tiles, cut off the kiss-cut edge (the peelable edge).

Cut lines close

Mark the back of your wallpaper to cut into your tile size– I chose 7×3" rectangles. 

Cut individual decals

If you choose a 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. 

Decal tilesFrom top to bottom, designs by NinaRibena: Herringbone Black and Champagne, Honeycomb Wasabi and Champagne, Hello Black and Champagne, Fanpod Black and Champagne, and Honeycomb Black and Champagne

 

Once I had all of my tiles cut out and ready for my project, I couldn't wait to see them up on the wall! 

Option 2

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. 

Cut for brick repeat

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. 

Bricked repeat

I eyeballed about a 1/8 to 1/4 inch margin around each tile for the look of grout lines. 

Marking outlets

For cutting the tiles to place around outlets, I found it simpler to mark on the face of the peel and stick tiles with a pencil than to measure around each impediment. 

Outlet tiles collage

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

Progress! Cutting the wallpaper tiles for placement around the switchplates and outlets took the most time, after that, it was smooth sailing.

Mess

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 peel and stick wallpaper is easy to remove and reposition, I could rearrange any non-quite-straight tiles and swap out tiles if any of the designs started to look overused in the repeat.  

Cabinet decals

In fact, the process was so simple, I decided to dress up my cabinets a bit with elements I cut out from NinaRibena's herringbone and honeycomb decals. 

Finished angle

 

Finished day

Finished close

 

Close finished

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! 

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    • Hi Margaret,
      If you need to clean your wallpaper, just gently wipe down with a damp cloth. The use of industrial cleaner or heavy rubbing can cause color to lift. I hope that helps, but if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask!

  • i have questions about all the \”removables\” that people are talking about. my landlord said i could do whatever i wanted as long as it was removable when i left, and i have no intention of leaving anytime soon. my kitchen is paneled walls painted some kind of \”yellow\”; the laundry closet -in kitchen- is white walls with 3 wood shelves.

    i wanted to put something up in some areas, but am so afraid of using the peel and stick vinyl decals, wall papers, etc, as i am afraid that if i have them up for years they will pull the color off the walls or the crappy looking paneling. do you know for sure that they come off \”clean\” from walls? should i just continue to use the paper or even the smooth wallpapers you have using thumbtacks to hold it up? i really don\’t want to loose my deposit whenever i move. just call me peel and stick nervous!

    • Hi Renee,
      Great question! Both of our wallpapers (smooth and woven) are apartment-friendly. When you remove the paper, even after a few years, all you’ll have to do is wipe down the walls with a damp towel to remove any remaining residue. If you’re still a little nervous to give it a try, we recommend starting with a 24″ x 12″ sample swatch. This way, you can test out the wallpaper before ordering the full amount!

  • Allison Harder

    Question… I am in a rental and HATE the backsplash that I have. Do you think I could use the peel and stick wallpaper over the backsplash? Do you think that it would look ok over bumps and what not?

    • Hi Allison,
      Lots of folks use our woven wallpaper to cover a less than appealing backsplash! We do recommend starting with a sample swatch to ensure it’s suitable for the texture of the area.

  • Do you know if these can go over top of existing tile? I’m in a basement suite rental that is actually really nice except the tile has this faint faded-flower look on it. I want to brighten it up a bit!

  • Very nice looking, BUT, are they wipe able, washable, scrub able? Aren’t they a treated paper? It is inevitable that in a kitchen bacon grease, spaghetti sauce or some other icky matter will end up there. Hence (back – splash). As a renter myself, I did something similar with my plain white painted backsplash. I went to a Sherwin Williams showroom and located a pre-pasted “but peal able” vinyl wallpaper roll that is heavy, has a sheen and looks like stone tile. I have found it to be indestructible! I also removed the outlet covers for quicker cutting and limited seams, and went up to the top cabinets including the added height over the sink. $40 and done! Looks amazing!

  • I’m so sorry if I offend you, but that space was so nice before. These stick ons made it look cheap and dorm-like, IMHO. I can understand doing this in my 7 year old’s room on a dresser, but as a back splash, I think it’s tacky. 🙁

  • As a designer, the white space below the cabinets and under the microwave would bother me. Why not continue the tiles, or paint that the cabinet color to match that block of wood under the cabinet on the right? (What is that?) If it something that swings out, paint behind it. Just a thought…