If one element of your home is a natural do-it-yourself project, it's the kitchen backsplash. With flooring, electrical, plumbing, doors, and windows, you can comfortably call in a professional and never feel guilty about doing so. But backsplashes are practically made for DIY.
Do-it-yourself backsplashes tend to be lightweight and made of materials that are easier to apply than the usual ceramic or glass. Many come with pre-applied adhesive backing, while others stay up with light brads or construction glue. All in all, DIY backsplashes go up quickly and with less effort than tile, but they look fantastic and enhance any kitchen.
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Lifestyle blogger Katie Bower reasoned that laying laminate flooring on her backsplash would be the best way to get the wood look without the wood cost. Taking advantage of a clearance sale at her local home improvement store, she tacked up an entire wall's worth of laminate on the cheap with a cordless brad nailer. It is wipeable and waterproof, as long as it is properly caulked at the bottom.
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New York-based designer Kiel Wuellner felt it would be "too expected" to lay real ceramic subway tile for his kitchen backsplash. So, to great Instagram acclaim, he used temporary wallpaper.
Yes, vinyl self-stick products are a staple of many DIY backsplashes. But this idea is different. Wallpaper comes in large sections, so you can roll it out across a wall in one strip instead of methodically assembling small pieces. More than anything, wallpaper opens your decor options to the max. Go for faux brick or subway tile, as Kiel did.
Or throw care to the wind and try any number of other designs: art deco, nautical, Trompe-l'œil, geometric, or floral. This woven polyester wallpaper is self-adhesive, lays down smooth, and unlike paper-based wallpaper, can be easily removed.
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Installing ceramic tiles on a backsplash is hardly a novel idea. It is, in fact, one of the smartest ways to cover a backsplash, since tiles are sturdy, waterproof, and easy to customize. They are also difficult to install accurately and well. Tile is heavy and its adhesive, thinset, can be hard to work with. Not only that, but tile is permanent. This bars renters from ever-changing out the dated harvest gold backsplash that they must confront every day.
Bypass this with the ultimate DIY backsplash: tile decals such as Gypsy Yaya did above. Made of waterproof vinyl, tile decals come in large panels that are visually segmented into smaller tiles, from 2-inch squares on up to 12-inch square. With faux grout lines, these tiles look uncannily like the real thing. Spanning the design globe, from Portugal and Morocco to Mexico and India, tile decals add vigor to your kitchen with minimal work.
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Natural stone lends a timeless aesthetic to any part of your home. Yet real stone is anything but a DIY-friendly material. Enter manufactured veneer stone, an artificial product made of Portland cement, aggregates, and iron oxides. These materials are baked in molds created from real stone and they pop out of the oven looking amazingly realistic.
Best of all, manufactured veneer stone can be installed as a DIY backsplash with relative ease. Molly Wey, over at the design blog Stilettos & Diapers, literally stumbled upon this fact when she was at Lowe's and saw an Airstone veneer stone display.
She purchased Airstone for her kitchen backsplash and found that it was as easy to install as a puzzle. Even her young son jumped into the game. And so fast! Only eight hours later she had a beautiful new stone kitchen backsplash.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
If you want to make your tile backsplash, think along the lines of low-cost and uniform. Few tiles capture those qualities as well as subway tiles.
Subway tiles have a 1:2 dimension ratio. This means that for every inch high, it is 2 inches wide. A common subway tile size is 3 inches by 6 inches.
Subway tiles are great for do-it-yourselfers since they tend to be inexpensive. Because every tile is uniform, there is no complicated mixing and matching of different colors and sizes.
Katie at the design blog Addicted 2 DIY used subway tiles and discovered just how easy it is to do her tile work by purchasing pre-mixed thinset mortar, instead of dry, powder thinset.
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This could be a kitchen in a century-old rowhouse. But it's not. Instead, it's a wonderfully crafted duplicate made from a low-cost material that is easy to obtain: tileboard.
Tileboard is medium density fiberboard with a hard melamine layer on top that gives it its look. Tileboard often, but not always, adopts the look of tile. You can purchase a tileboard that looks like brick as did Lauren at Bless'er House. To disguise the material's faux origins, she applied faux whitewash: one part white semigloss paint to one part water, brushed on twice.
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Painted Ceramic Tile
If awards were being handed out for the most DIY of all DIY backsplashes, it would be this one: painting your ceramic tile backsplash. No tear-out is involved, no purchasing heavy materials or hauling them back home.
As Laura Gummerman shows on her design blog A Beautiful Mess, transforming a dated, worn and downright ugly backsplash to one that is, in her words, fun and happy can be as easy as painting on a new coat. She used silicone epoxy paint (Top Secret Coatings, Clear Green shade) to give her earthen brown subway tiles a fresh, bright new color.
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What's not to love about this wood beadboard backsplash? Yes, sinks and counters are wet areas, but properly sealed, wood beadboard can serve as a backsplash.
Kristen from Ella Claire spent almost nothing to purchase 1/4-inch pressed wood beadboard and tacked it to the wall with construction adhesive and a brad gun. Now her kitchen has a stately and classic feel. While she painted the beadboard traditional white, you can apply any color to it.
The best thing about beadboard is that it goes up so quickly. Large boards quickly span most kitchen counters.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Tin Ceiling Tile Backsplash
The larger the material's format, the easier it is to install the backsplash. Those oversized materials like beadboard and wallpaper go up much faster than smaller format materials like veneer stone or 4-inch tiles. Tin or faux tin ceiling tins fall mid-point in the size categories.
Available in a multitude of embossed patterns, tin ceiling tiles are generally sized at 24 inches by 24 inches. This means that a single tile, with some cutting, will span the 15-inch vertical distance between the countertop and the bottom of the wall cabinets. Eight to ten ceiling tiles in a single row will cover most kitchen backsplashes, and for a price of just $80 to $100.
Note that many tin ceiling tiles are actually faux tin, made from plastics. These made warp or melt if applies close to a stove. Other tin ceiling tiles are made from plated steel.
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Design maven Nicole Block, who runs Brooklyn, NY's The Nic Studio, specializing in stationery, design, and illustration, felt her own home was a "dirty, outdated pit." So she did what any self-respecting designer would do to spruce up her kitchen: she created an entirely new product called Tyles.
Unlike other vinyl self-stick DIY backsplashes, Tyles is decidedly not faux. It does not aim to replicate the look of real tiles. Instead, it uses original artwork hand-drawn by Nicole to create utterly unique and fantastic backsplash designs.