The start of a new year is a great time to attack all those home DIY projects you’ve been putting off. If you’re lucky enough to have a heap of time off, this is the perfect opportunity to tick some items off your to-do list.
One of the hardest (and most expensive) home projects can be renovating a kitchen. Trying to make a kitchen useful and beautiful on a budget is a battle, especially if you’re not super handy and don’t have a contractor cousin to give you the friends and family discount. But there are ways to cut costs, and there are DIY kitchen projects that even newbie home renovators can tackle.
If you’re looking for ways to brighten up your kitchen with a simple DIY job, the backsplash is a great place to start. This useful, but often-overlooked part of your kitchen can totally shift the vibe of your space. Use it to introduce a pop of colour, or to modernise the entire room.
But first, let’s look at the best way to start your DIY kitchen backsplash project.
Don’t be afraid of “peel and stick”
Although sticky tile can seem like a tacky option, the modern styles and designs have come a long way, with varieties like faux tile and real stone. When upgrading my kitchen, I found the peel and stick stainless steel tile incredibly versatile and easy to apply. Because each tile was 3” x 6” it was easy to measure, and I was able to come up with innovative designs to cover the length of my kitchen wall. You can pattern the tiles in herringbone, subway style, or parquet. See Construction2style.com for an easy guide on a number of patterns and layouts.
This option gives DIYers an array of patterns and designs to choose from for their kitchens. You can go rustic with paper that looks like wood or choose a bold colour to liven up the room. If you’ve never installed wallpaper before, be sure to get yourself an installation kit. They’re small and inexpensive, and you can pick them up at your local hardware store or on Amazon. The kit comes with smoothing tools to get out bubbles and wrinkles, a tape measure, and a craft knife for precision cuts.
Because a backsplash receives a lot of well… splashes, the site K!tchn recommends using vinyl, Novamura, and washable wallpapers.
Make sure you’re prepped before jumping in and sticking on your wallpaper or tile. Roommatesdecor.com has an easy-to-follow checklist and video for prepping before installing your new DIY kitchen backsplash. They suggest using “pencil and ruler to lightly mark on the wall where each tile will be applied”. I found that having a place with good lighting to draw up the plans, and cut when the time comes, made all the difference. They also recommend using a box cutter and ruler to make sure you maintain a straight edge. This is where the wallpaper installation kit comes in handy. The stick-on material is temporary, but continuously removing and reapply can be a pain.
Before application, DIY Network suggests:
“Use a towel, rag or scrub brush with a chemical cleaning solution like a glass cleaner or multipurpose cleaner to remove oils, grease and any type of marks that will keep the back of the mosaic from sticking to the surface.”
Make sure your surface is clean and free of any dust or particles.
Get to work
Your DIY kitchen backsplash can be done alone in a day or two, but if you can, it’s great to have a second set of hands around. Your designated helper can serve as a second eye for accuracy, as well as offering a steadying hand where needed. Plus, you’ll have someone to drink rosé with you in your fancy new kitchen when it’s completed.
This article on DIY kitchen backsplash projects has been updated since its original publish date.