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. 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!
In real life, it is a bright orange yellow and cream check, not much better than I had imagined.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here you can really see the texture! It is like a subtle vintage tin ceiling effect. It looks fantastic in real life.
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.
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.