APT: Cobble Hill

Turning an ugly backsplash into something that’s quite nice to look at (and temporary!).

backsplash before & after

Remember the ugly kitchen in the my new apartment? The one with the kale chip counters, the cherry-colored doors and the backsplash made out of what are very clearly floor tiles? Yeah, that’s the one. Check out what I just did with the backsplash, though! This was a weekend project that I put very little planning into, and I am really, really happy with the result.

apartment backsplash

apartment backsplash

This is light years better, right? I kind of don’t even hate the kitchen anymore. Don’t get me wrong, if the landlord suddenly asked me to do a gut renovation I’d start this weekend, but in the very likely event that he doesn’t, I’m totally OK with how the kitchen looks now. It’s pretty amazing how well that color (yes, it’s Benjamin Moore Deep Space again) neutralizes the red tones in all of the wood in this apartment. The cabinet color is actually tolerable now! When we picked out the paint we made sure it picked up on some of the gray undertones in the countertop, too. They look more black than green now, which is a very good thing.

So basically all I did here was cover up the tile with plywood that I painted a pattern on. It’s held in place with Velcro, so I can remove it anytime with no permanent effect.

Here’s a step-by-step…

backsplash step by step 1

1. I used 1/4″ pre-sanded baltic birch plywood (not luan). I needed 3 2×4′ panels to do this backsplash. They were about $8 each. I chose ply over masonite/MDF primarily because it’s much lighter weight.

2. I measured out the panel dimensions, then did all of my cuts with a jigsaw. I’m sure I could’ve gotten more perfect lines with a circular saw, but ours is up at the house and I just wanted to get this done. I have a pretty steady hand, so the jigsaw really was fine.

3. To cut out the opening for the outlet, I drilled a hole first so I could get the saw blade in.

4. I test-fit the panels to make sure everything lined up right.

5. I gave the plywood a coat of primer. It’s really important to prime BOTH sides when you’re dealing with flexible stuff like beadboard, molding trim pieces and thin ply, otherwise you’re going to have a lot of warping. Trust me, it’s worth the extra time.

6. One coat of my base color was enough. I let it dry for about 3 hours before getting started on the pattern — I used that time to figure out what I was going to paint! There aren’t any progress photos of the pattern-painting, but I just used primer and little foam brush to paint it on freehand. (And yes, it took forever.) You could certainly use a stencil or stamp or whatever, but I didn’t want any repeats in my pattern. Every little line is unique.

backsplash step by step 2

7. This might sound crazy, but I was a little worried about the original white backsplash showing through the seams of the dark panels, so I put some strips of painter’s tape on a sheet of aluminum foil and…

8. …I painted them to match the panels. Yup.

9. See what I mean? I knew it would drive me crazy to see a sliver of white, so it’s just an extra little bit of insurance.

10. And finally, Velcro! I used almost one full roll of Velcro Ultra-Mate. It cost about $17, which seemed insane to me, but I guess that’s how much Velcro costs unless you’re smart and buy it online first. I just put a few inches in each corner, plus a few extras along the edges for the bigger panels. It’s SUPER secure.

Total cost = $42. Soooooo worth it.

A few things I didn’t do, but that I still might do…

✚ Put a coat of matte polyurethane over the whole thing for extra protection.
✚ Add a bead of clear silicone caulk where the panels meet the counter.
✚ Switch out the cabinet knobs. OK, I’m definitely doing that. The current knobs are cheap-o brassy things that most of the finish has rubbed off of. I think I’ll just go with simple, small black knobs.

EDIT! ALSO! HEY! READ THIS!
Reader Jenny questioned the use of combustible material around a gas range, which is definitely a valid concern. You should check your range’s clearance requirements and local code before doing something like this around a burner/stovetop. In my case, because this is not a high-powered or backless range, the wall in back of the stove is not a concern. The sidewall to the left of the range is another story, though, and I will probably replace that piece with stainless steel upon further thought. I did kind of dismiss it because the range is already actually TOUCHING the wood casing around the window right next to it (that seems bad, right? But my brother lived here for 5 years without setting the place on fire…), but hey, a little extra safety can’t hurt.

doorsixteen_backsplash4_NEW

An unexpected side effect of working on this project is that I really feel like painting. Not painting houses, but painting stuff. I feel like designing wallpaper, too. And pillows. And blankets. And everything, really. I wish I had time! I have so many ideas. I do write them down, at least.

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119 Comments

  • Reply Ann April 12, 2013 at 9:17 am

    WOW! That looks amazing.
    I highly recommend doing both a clear coat w/ poly and the caulking. We covered our backsplash too and even though we are careful about water and splashes they still happen and it’s nice to not have to worry about them getting behind the panels.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Yeah, I’m sure I will, I just want to be absolutely sure I don’t want to change or add anything to the design first. :)

  • Reply Ilenia April 12, 2013 at 9:20 am

    OMG.

  • Reply Chloe @Ergo-Blog April 12, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Wow…what a difference!! I just love the new look! I thought you were going to say that you used that removeable wall paper but this is even better! Did you put like any seal over the plywood after you painted it? I would love to do something like this in my kitchen but I wonder what would happen if you make tomato sauce or something and it splatters?? =)

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Not yet, but I probably will. That’s all in the post! :)

  • Reply Jill April 12, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Holy cow. This looks awesome, Anna! Lemon, meet lemonade :)

  • Reply jodi April 12, 2013 at 9:51 am

    oooh! it looks so great! what a good idea, too, to use the velcro. i use command velcro strips to hang up photos around the apartment, but i’d love to do something like this in our kitchen, too. thanks for the idea!

  • Reply Kristen April 12, 2013 at 9:51 am

    How do you think of this stuff?! Looks great.

  • Reply Jaime - Design Milk April 12, 2013 at 9:52 am

    AWESOME!!! I am so glad I now know what the secret project was. It was killing me!

  • Reply Elsie Harrington April 12, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Fabulous! Great job and congrats on getting a brush back in your hand, go for it!

  • Reply Kaitlyn April 12, 2013 at 9:59 am

    This is so incredibly cleaver! I’m in the process of apartment shopping right now and while I’m actually lucking out with finding places with character and good bones, most of the kitchens are atrocious. This post has got my head spinning in all kinds of directions as to how I could adapt it for my future space.
    Thank you so much for this!

  • Reply suzanne April 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

    love this! love love love love love this. fabulous job!!!

  • Reply Cher@Newburgh Restoration April 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Wow, this looks awesome. My sister is looking for a way to do this idea. Now I can send her this tutorial.

  • Reply kay* April 12, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Brill.iant.

    i’m apartment hunting and thinking of ways this will come in useful and can be adapted to other spaces. ugh. i’m so glad i know you. and your blog. seriously.

  • Reply Kari April 12, 2013 at 10:10 am

    what a huge difference that makes! great solution

  • Reply TAT April 12, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Very clever and effective. You could also possibly use strips of small scale quarter round moulding instead of the caulk.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

      The caulk is to create a seal to protect from water seeping underneath the edge.

  • Reply Erica April 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

    That looks amazing! I have a hideous backsplash too, this is a great idea for renters!

  • Reply Adam April 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I’m very, very, very impressed Anna! What a difference and what a MAJOR improvement. It really does change the tone of the kitchen in a very good way. I love it!

  • Reply jaclyn April 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Spoonflower.com can be a great way to satisfy some of those design urges….fabric, wallpaper, decals and now gift wrap. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t before.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 10:25 am

      I have, yes! It’s the time it takes to design and paint/draw stuff that’s so hard to set aside, unfortunately.

  • Reply maria April 12, 2013 at 10:28 am

    beautiful!

  • Reply tamera April 12, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Whoo look at you go! It looks great, huge transformation!

  • Reply Shannon April 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

    SERIOUSLY?! Every day you just keep blowing my mind!
    This is genius!!!!!

  • Reply Garret April 12, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Wow, you made a HUGE difference, especially for only $42 bucks? Very cool DIY home improvement, and what a very clever idea! That is thinking outside the box man!

  • Reply mariane April 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Anna,
    this is exactly what I need to do in my rented kitchen, THANK YOU!! Also, black door knobs, the way to go! I never though of this clever idea and after seeing what Arielle and Daniel did (retiling) I was feeling so lazy not to do this in my appartment!! Now I can make a big change for peanuts!

  • Reply Heather O. April 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Genius! That last photo really blew me away.

  • Reply Elisabeth April 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Holy Smokes! I’m a homeowner (Omaha = affordable) and want to do this to my own kitchen. I really think with the poly coat and silicone beading, this could last a long time. Such a wonderful idea that doesn’t seem too terribly daunting. Thank you for the inspiration. Your unique, precious-snowflake lines look wonderful, btw.

  • Reply Martha April 12, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Anna, this looks great! You’ve got me wondering how plywood might survive as a cover-up for the vinyl flooring in our rental’s kitchen.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

      I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be fine durability-wise. I like plywood floors, personally. I think the only issue would be that the surface would be “squishy” to walk on if you used Velcro because it does add some dimension (about 1/8″). Assuming you can’t screw into the floor joists (best option), I’m not sure what you could use to secure it place. Carpet tape wouldn’t be strong enough…

  • Reply Jessica April 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I commented on your last kitchen post, the lady with the “adobe” tiled backsplash. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do something similar in my own home for a year now! I would duplicate this project this weekend, but damn if I don’t have family coming over already. Wait, maybe that’s even more reason to be doing this project at 2am…. of course I’m also infamous for taking WEEKS to pick paint colors.

  • Reply Lena April 12, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Nice! I think the cabinets look almost good in those pictures now, (partly because you can only see part of them, I’m sure). Looking forward to the new knobs!

    • Reply Dusa April 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      I agree! Matte black knobs would seal the deal! Awesome job, Anna!

  • Reply Emma April 12, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I’m surprised what a difference that makes. You’ve just inspired me to update my own awful backsplash – I think it’s about 30 years old so probably overdue!

  • Reply Jenn April 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Love this!!!! Where did you get your triangle towel??

  • Reply Jaimie April 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    That color (Deep Space) looks much lighter here than in your other photos. I LOVE that pattern you went with. Both organic and geometric. Reminds me of an African textile.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      I think the color reads lighter here because the sun was shining on it directly when I took the photos.

      And yeah, the pattern definitely has a Malian bògòlanfini influence!

  • Reply whitney April 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    This is amazing! Wow. Where you see potential, I see tears and giving up :)

    Question – What did you use for the pattern? Did I miss that? Just some white paint?

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      I just used primer. That’s step #6 in my long-winded post. ;)

  • Reply Ella April 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Lovely! You clever woman you.

  • Reply hydroju April 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Soooo very nice!

    And since you’re so good at cutting plywood, why not cutting out some new plywood doors to replace the cabinets old doors? (which i guess can be stored if the landlord wants them back at the end of the rental) I don’t know if plywood would be suitable for that but i sure love plywood natural color much more than red-ish wood.

    • Reply Valerie April 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Yes! Temporary plywood cabinet doors! I’m sure a lot of people would be curious to see if that could work…

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      I got into that in my last post about the apartment kitchen, actually. I’ve considered changing the doors, but there are so many design flaws with this kitchen (the badly staggered cabinet heights, the floating microwave, the cabinet above the fridge, the weird island on the other side of the room, etc.) that it really becomes a “lipstick on a pig” kind of thing. I don’t mind the cabinets now that the backsplash has been changed, so I’d rather save my time and money (good quality birch ply at that thickness is quite pricey, and I’d need a lot of it) and put it toward working on my own house. ;)

      Down the road, I might propose painting the cabinets to the landlord. We’ll see. In the mean time, I’m happy.

  • Reply mommy April 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    It looks fantastic! I can see a duvet cover in this pattern in my bedroom. Hint. In your spare time.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      I’ll think about it, but only because you gave birth to me. That was pretty nice of you. :)

  • Reply anne b. April 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    it’s kind of amazing (super amazing!) how much of a difference this makes! and I love the design. go anna go!

  • Reply Lizzie April 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Wow, that was really, really smart. And you’re right, it makes that wood tolerable now! Love the design.

  • Reply Nicole B April 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is amazing! Totally makes me want to do the same to my horrible blue-gray square tiled backsplash. The rest of my kitchen is fine – white floors and white cabinets with a boring gray laminate counter (it’s also pretty big, especially for Astoria – about 18′ x 18′), but there is SO much tile to cover that i’m not sure i’d be able to get it to look at crisp as yours does!

    Question – next to your stove, did you stop the paneling just below the top of the stove or does it continue down? I ask because my stove is in a nook and the tile surrounds it on all sides all the way down to the floor and it has a gap of about 2-3 inches on each side. Sorry for such a long post, but I have been struggling with ideas of how to cover the backsplash for awhile and never wanted to spend too much.

    It really looks amazing!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Nicole, the panel behind the stove extends to the same point as the countertop, just like the rest of the backsplash.

  • Reply Anya April 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    That looks AMAZING! I’m feeling very inspired to do this to my ugly late 80’s MDF nightmare of a kitchen.
    I’m a landlord and if you were my tenant and sent me a link to your blog and showed me what you have done to your homes, I would totally grant you permission to paint the hell out of the cabinets, gut it, whatever you wanted to do.

  • Reply dean / my little apartment April 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    WELL DONE!! Love this solution…

  • Reply Brian April 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Looks great! I knew it looked familiar, then found this in one of my open browser tabs (Agnes Martin’s Untitled 1962): http://www.zwirnerandwirth.com/exhibitions/2003/022003Martin/untitled62.html

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Nice! I’ve never heard of that artist, but I like that painting.

  • Reply Christina W. April 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    1) This looks really good! I love the little design you made. Kinda Lotta Jansdotter-y. 2) Totally unrelated, but on the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day site, they have glass hand soap bottles that are still printed all over with the same stuff as the plastic ones. I love mine because the plastic ones always crumple and become a pain about halfway through. Or maybe I am just bad at plastic soap bottles.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Huh, weird! I’ve been using/refilling my Mrs Meyers bottles for YEARS (seriously…like 5–7 years) and they’re still fine! Nice that they have glass bottles, though, I didn’t know that.

  • Reply sophia April 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I might dare to say that I cherrish this color story of deep space with hints of white and wood (ha, ha).
    Plus, it always amazes me how powerful good design is… your chosen pattern attracts the eye so strongly that blurs the vision of these nasty doors. They are still there but aren’t on focus anymore.

  • Reply Dana @ House*Tweaking April 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    You clever little dog, you. Love it.

  • Reply Annie April 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    this is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing – I’m off to Bunnings!

  • Reply Jade Sheldon April 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Wow! What a difference…

  • Reply laura April 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Wow, that looks amazing. The old backsplash was definitely the worst part of that kitchen, this looks so good.

  • Reply Jenny April 13, 2013 at 6:34 am

    It looks lovely. But don’t fire regulations in the US require fire-proof backsplash around stove tops and other sources of heat? I’d be concerned the plywood could catch fire?

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 13, 2013 at 7:25 am

      I’m pretty sure that’s only the case with high-powered gas ranges (Wolf, Viking, etc.) in terms of what’s behind the stove’s built-in “backsplash” (the part where the controls for the oven/clock are). The sidewall is another story (the requirement for this specific range is 4″ clearance for combustible materials above counter level) but considering the front left corner of the range has 0″ clearance from the (wood) window casing, I think that’s probably more of a concern — though it’s nothing I can do anything about. I may replace that sidewall piece with stainless steel anyway, though. You make a good point! I’ll put a note about this in the post.

      (Edited to add that I’m referring to clearance for vertical materials, NOT horizontal.)

      (Further edited to add that you see so much crazy stuff in NYC kitchens that the window positioning didn’t even phase me. Now I’m eying that molding suspiciously, though! Maybe I’ll just avoid that burner. Heh.)

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 13, 2013 at 8:10 am

      OK, I’ve edited the post and the photo that shows the sidewall. I also added a picture of the window casing for extra drama. Thanks for bringing this up, Jenny!

    • Reply Cathy Wright March 17, 2015 at 4:57 am

      I have the same situation in our apt. The stove is right next to the wall, but there is NO way to give a 4 inch clearance AND the paint on the sidewall has already bubbled in the past from the heat. I’d be very interested to learn if you ever put up some sort of fire- or heat-resistant “side splash” there. I was thinking of some kind of stainless steel or tempered glass.

      • Reply Anna @ D16 March 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

        Hi Cathy, I no longer live in this apartment, but no, I never did put up a side-splash. I never had any trouble, either. Of course, there’s a huge wood window casing inches away from the burner, so…I’m not sure the biggest hazard here would’ve been my plywood panels, anyway. ;)

        I would think stainless steel would be the simplest route, though.

  • Reply bliss April 13, 2013 at 8:12 am

    you are a goddess. awesome.

  • Reply FripperyVintage April 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I’m new to your blog and love it alreayd! Great post!

  • Reply Cori Magee April 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    So cool. Perfect shade of gray.

  • Reply kelly w April 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I read this before bed last night and subsequently had an epic dream about painting a room. There were circles and lines and Benjamin Moore labels.

    FWIW, I’ve never actually painted a room.

  • Reply Steph Nelson April 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Nice Job!!! :)

    You could paint the brassy knobs

  • Reply suswhit April 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Wow!! Amazing! Love it.

  • Reply Jessica Funaro April 14, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Long time reader, first time commenter (I think?). I’m stunned by how beautiful & clever this project is. You have truly outdone yourself Ms. Dorfman. Brava!

  • Reply lesley April 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I just read about this company in NYT – they do the same sort of thing, but with handscreened magnetic tiles. http://www.moonishco.com/

    You both have just given me a ton of ideas!!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 14, 2013 at 9:16 am

      Wow, that’s a whole ‘nother level!

  • Reply Jennie April 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Not only is this brilliant, but now I understand why the beadboard in our bathroom is warping! Anna, really you should write a book with all of your collected DIY knowledge.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 14, 2013 at 10:05 am

      The only book you need is the Reader’s Digest Fix-It-Yourself manual! That and just Googling everything first. :)

    • Reply Nancy September 5, 2013 at 11:57 am

      I was wondering how you knew to paint both sides of the board.

      • Reply Anna @ D16 September 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm

        I’m not sure I know the answer to that question, Nancy! Just some knowledge I acquired somewhere along the way…maybe in art school?

  • Reply Zona April 14, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Great Job! Amazing what is difference it makes…

  • Reply PhillyLass April 14, 2013 at 10:34 am

    This is so cool! Anna, your ingenuity and vision just blow me away every time. I can’t wait to see what you do next!!!

  • Reply gracie April 14, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Shit cool design :D

  • Reply runswithscissors April 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    This is really so much better than most of the “temporary” backsplash cover-ups I’ve seen! Good job!
    When you caulk you may want to consider temporary also. DAP makes a product called Seal ‘N Peel that is made for drafty doors and windows but probably would be just fine for this application. Doesn’t leave a mess when you’re ready for it to come off.

  • Reply lau April 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    LOVE

  • Reply KMP Modern April 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Way better than the before shot! This is a great and simple DIY project for renters who can’t make major renovations and who want to live in some kind beauty. I love the design you created with the paint too. It’s delicate and easy and way cooler than white tile. Thanks for posting!

  • Reply Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker April 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Wow! What a great project. I absolutely love it. And you’re so right about the color neutralizing the wood tones. We have really orange-y wood floors and we painted our lower level a very dark grey and it had a similar impact. Love when that happens.

  • Reply faye April 16, 2013 at 2:37 am

    that looks really nice!;)

  • Reply Annick Gaudreault April 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I just discover your blog and it is the kind of creative space that I like!

  • Reply Anna (My Design Ethos) April 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Such a genius idea to paint over plywood! I ended up painting an ugly laminate backsplash until we re-do our kitchen, but this is a great idea if you’re renting. (Definitely change the knobs too! :) xx

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      I changed the knobs already! Pictures soon. ;)

  • Reply ~Michelle April 17, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    So – did you stick the other side of the velcro to the original tile? WIll it be hard to remove? That would be my concern.

    It looks so so nice. I would never have thought to put a blue grey color up with those dark greeny countertops AND the cherry-ish cabinets. Never in a million years. So nice.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Yes, the Velcro is stuck to the tile. Easy to remove any leftover adhesive with a razor blade, it’ll just take a few minutes! :)

  • Reply Emily @ The Em Dash April 17, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Wow! This turned out great. Awesome job!!!!! I’ll definitely have to keep this in mind for future ugly backsplashes.

  • Reply Melissa April 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    This is brilliant. Amazing. We live in a rental with an old, disgusting kitchen I have no idea how to improve. Forget nice stainless steel appliances – think old beige appliances and some kind of light-color veneer-that’s-peeling cabinets. Same neighborhood as you (next to the Two for the Pot guy – amazing teas and spices!). If you ever run out of things to renovate in your apartment (ha!), you are welcome to come do some inspiring over here.

  • Reply ginger from the style of being April 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Love it so much. Any DIY that allows you to change your backsplash every six months is a winner with me.

  • Reply Elisa April 22, 2013 at 4:42 am

    This is brilliant! I’m going to have to recruit my brother to do this, but my kitchen could definitely use it. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply Tracy April 23, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I would buy this pattern in a minute if it were a fabric. I have a chair I’m reupholstering that would look great with this pattern (especially with a navy blue background). So I for one say — please design!

  • Reply GiRRL_Earth April 25, 2013 at 11:13 am

    What a brilliant idea. I love this. I wished you live closer to me so you and Danile could counsel me on how I can freshen up my kitchen without a major overall (because I cannot afford it). My kitchen is so ugly and so oudated that I have a feeling you and Daniel might quite possibly hyperventilate if you entered my kitchen — it’s that scary!

    Let me give you a taste: I have BLUE PANELING in my kitchen and some sort of faux stone paneling behind my stove.

    When I first moved in (a year ago) I ripped down some of the paneling and behind it was sheets of melamene “tile looking” stuff… I also took some of the horse hair plaster when I tore down the paneling. Oops.

  • Reply Geninne April 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    YOU are a genius! It looks amazing!

  • Reply Inspire Me Heather April 29, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Your backsplash is seriously too cool – love it!! I’ve got this linked to my DIY backsplashes post too today, for inspiration!

  • Reply Rachel Moran April 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Looks great! This is perfect for my sister who also lives in an apartment.

  • Reply Cindy deRosier May 1, 2013 at 8:15 am

    This is a brilliant solution to a problem A LOT of people have! Awesome job!

  • Reply Lindsay May 2, 2013 at 4:51 am

    SMALL changes really make a BIG difference! Another idea would be to just paint an artistic backslapsh and protect it with a layer of glass, turns out beautiful and saves time having to look for wallpaper

  • Reply SilvanaKathryn May 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I love this!! For the side that you want to put stainless, you could also use flashing. It is very inexpensive and comes in a long roll that can be cut to any shape. I used it as a full backsplash in my basement apartment. It works beautifully.

  • Reply Michele May 3, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    That’s so awesome!

    When I moved in I bought pretty Japanese paper, cut 1×1′ “tile” and laminated them. They’ve been held up by double sided tape the last 5 years and still look awesome. Such a small change but it’s made all the difference.

    • Reply Cathy Wright March 17, 2015 at 5:03 am

      I know I’m replying to an old post, but I would love to see the “tiles” you made. Do you have a picture?

  • Reply Carole May 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    You could have a piece of tempered glass cut to cover the panel at the end. It would render it fireproof and be easier to clean and not mess up your total coolness….

  • Reply Sydney May 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    This has got to be the most insane, simplest, solution I have ever seen! You had an amazing turnout and I am completely in love with it. I’ll be graduating college soon (Sunday to be exact) and I know the place I move into, after my parent’s house, is going to need some love. I can tell this is going to be something that I will use! Simple, easy, and inexpensive is how I like it! Thanks!

  • Reply Anu May 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    The backsplash looks really pretty now. On another note, could you please tell me where you got your dish drainer from? thanks!

  • Reply Ann May 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I luv how you’ve made this rental your own. Beautiful work! I am about to move into a partially carpeted unit, which I’ve never had to deal with before. Do you have any recommendations for covering it up, aside from ripping it all out? Thanks Anna for a great blog!

  • Reply grayskey June 11, 2013 at 10:20 am

    put a little bondo (yes the stuff they use on cars) on those seams and sand smooth and they wont even be noticeable

  • Reply Whitney November 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I love this post and refer to it all the time with clients who have ugly cabinets that they won’t change. I also included it in a recent blog post I did and wanted to give you a heads up. ( http://theavarice.com/?p=1161 ) Thanks for the great content!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 November 20, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Great post, Whitney, thanks for including my backsplash!

  • Reply MaryHS December 9, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Did you have any issues with the depth of the wall outlet? The former owners of my house put panelling up everywhere — and the sockets are too deep as a result.

  • Reply Jacy January 14, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I thought it looked fine before, this lady doesn’t even know what an ugly kitchen is. Lol

  • Reply Tina July 25, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Hello! I just bumped into this article by chance and I really like your towel rack with the movable hooks! Where did you get it? Thanks! Love how the kitchen turned our btw :)

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