Faux Stainless Steel Removable Backsplash for Renters

My sister moved to England, take a moment and weep for me.  Okay, back to business.  Here is the kitchen in the great town home she is renting in Oxford. Ugly Rental Backsplash Before It’s a great house with lots of great features but the backsplash wasn’t one of them.  A photo I saw made the tile appear to be red and yellow check.  My first thought was McDonalds!  “Butta Buh Buh Bah, NOT Lovin’ it.”  Since you can see straight from the front door, down the hall, over the kitchen table and through to the kitchen ALL from the front door, we knew something had to be done, we’d add a faux stainless steel removable backsplash for renters!

Bright Backsplash Tile Before

In real life, it is a bright orange yellow and cream check, not much better than I had imagined.

Orang Yellow and Cream Tile Backsplash Before
Before she moved we made a stop in at Lowe’s and picked up five rolls of stainless steel Contact paper.  It is called Metal FX and gives the illusion of stainless steel.  It is sticky on one side like vinyl but the silver is actually a finish that is seemingly painted on to a clear sticker.

You can find it here: Faux Stainless Steel Contact Paper on Amazon
Metal FX Contact Paper to cover over ugly backsplash at a rental house

 A few tips for covering a backsplash with stainless Contact paper:

  • Wipe down the tile before you start
  • Cut around the outlets before you apply the Contact paper
  • Press the Contact paper from the bottom up
  • Trim the bottom and top edge after it is applied (if necessary) with a utility knife
  • Press the Contact paper into the cracks and grout lines
  • Do NOT crease the Contact paper (the folds do not smooth out)
  • Do NOT scrub the surface with a scouring pad or the metallic finish will rub off
  • Have patience and a friend to help hold and smooth

 

First we wiped down all of the tile with warm water and then dried it.   The film was just a smidge too narrow to have it run parallel to the counter-top so we ran it up and down in small strips.  We started each piece at the bottom and carefully smoothed it upwards.  With a utility knife we cut around the outlets which was the trickiest part.   It took a few hours to complete the entire backsplash.  If the outlet covers would have come off easily like the ones in my house, it would have flown by even quicker.

How to Recover a Tile Backsplash in a Rental

 The pressed contact paper shows the texture of the surface it is placed on.  This did not bother either one of us, we actually liked the texture and dimension that the grout lines and textured tiles left.  If the backsplash had been perfectly smooth I think it would have been even more difficult because each air bubble or inconsistency would have stood out even more.

Turning a Tile Backsplash into a Stainless Steel Backsplash with Contact Paper

Covering the backsplash with the stainless steel Contact paper really helped pull the whole kitchen together.  It started with such great bones.  The white cabinets, the full size fridge, and stainless appliances and even the concealed dishwasher all look better with the new backsplash.

How to makeover a rental house kitchen backsplash

This kitchen has fantastic light with two ceiling sky lights and a huge window at the back of the space.  With the under cabinet lighting added to that, the shinny new backsplash reflects all of that light giving it an even fresher look.

Black White and Stainless Steel Kitchen with DIY Temporary Backsplash for Renters

 The window sill was wrapped in the same tile so we continued it right over there as well.  We put a small bead of clear caulk to create a seal between the Contact paper and the countertops.  This was very difficult.  If you smeared it on the Contact paper and tried to wipe it too much the stainless appearance started to ware off and became clear.  When it is time to take the contact paper off you can just use a razor blade to separate the caulk and the counter.

English Townhome Kitchen Backsplash ReCover in Stainless Steel

 My favorite part of the kitchen turned out to be behind the cooktop.  Neither of us thought that the Contact paper would hold up well behind the heat, grease and steam that would be concentrated in that area so we found three large black rectangular floor tiles.  We stood them up side by side to protect the backsplash.

How to cover old ugly tile while renting (that can be easily removed when you move out)

They look like a modern take on solid black slate but are not real stone.  Unfortunately we didn’t have any chalk while I was there to photograph it, but I thought that a fun chalk design would look great across all three tiles.  Then with the wipe of a wet paper towel you could redesign it at any time.

DIY Stainless Steel Backsplash with Black Floor Tile Chalk Board

 Here you can really see the texture!  It is like a subtle vintage tin ceiling effect.  It looks fantastic in real life.

Stainless Steel Contact Paper Backsplash Makeover

 Because it is so shinny and bright it reminded me of an industrial kitchen.  Since that wasn’t the style we were going for we accessorized with few colorful accessories to bring some warmth to the space.

Stainless Steel Backsplash in a Kitchen

 What do you think?  Better than the McDonalds kitchen right?  It has been three months since we installed the new backsplash and my sister says it is holding up great!  She is very happy that she can wipe it down and it clean up so easily.  Next up?  Painting the yellow walls a nice soft white. White Cabinet and Stainless Steel Back Splash Kitchen

 

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10 Comments

  • I am sorry your sister is so far away! I have just one and she is 8 hours away which is too far. I hope you get to make trips as often as you need to. As for the contact paper, what a perfect solution. It totally changes the look. Such a good idea!

  • Wow that kitchen looks so nice, would love to have it. think I’m going to be finding that stuff. Might put it on inside panels of upper cupboard doors also. It is incredible what a difference that made in the kitchen, tiles were nice but not orange and yellow.
    We have typical wood looking plastic covered cupboards that I really don’t like at all. We had to accept what place offered when we bought it, very expensive here, (west of Grand Junction, CO).
    When I think of nice house we gave up in KY it really ticks me off we had to leave it. The climate there was bad for my health, so humid and damp. We had mold on north side of our house all the time. Had to power wash it off. Humidity isn’t good for arthritis, asthma and allergies.
    Our kitchen only has a small back splash of one row of white tiles. Think we’ll leave those alone by putting the contact paper above tiles. I’ve been wanting to do something in our kitchen for long time (since we bought house (in 2006) so at least this way we’ll get a start. Think we’ll paint walls a light grey and the cupboards around doors maybe a darker shade of grey. What do you think? Can hardly wait to get started now. Your post was such an inspiration. Think that’s how things are supposed to happen. Where did you get those awesome black tiles behind cook top?
    Happy week

    • I love that idea of putting it in the cabinets, maybe even resurfacing the center panel of a shaker style would look cool too. Also, above the single tiles could look great with all of the white and gray accents. I say go for it! And the tiles were from a home improvement store in England called Home Base. I’d check Home Depot, Lowe’s or a local tile store.

  • I love the texture that was created by the tile underneath. I’ve thought of putting up the faux adhesive tin tiles on my back-splash ( I think they run about $20.00 a section) I’ve never heard of Contact Paper like this. Neat! Do they have a matte finish?

    • Denise, we thought about those same faux tin tiles but the price was too high. The Contact paper isn’t mirror like shiny but it isn’t matte either. It is kind of in between but can’t really tell how it looks until you stick some of it up on the wall. So you might just grab a roll and try it.

      • Thanks for the great idea. I really love the variety of the faux tin tiles, but I agree with you on the price. I love a rustic look, so I’m going to try to somehow incorporate this into it.

  • Would love to know where to get this paper from I have been searching for this kind for a long time now, trying to do my kitchen in the stainless steel look thanks, if you have further information on those of us who would love to get this paper.

    thanks Myrna

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