accent pillow case baby canvas living room deco My Backsplash SOLUTION {yep, you can paint a tile backsplash} pillow covers farmhouse

You all know we have been busy working on our kitchen makeover. Well, I am here to show you a bit more of the progress we have made! Are you dying to know how I decided to deal with the UNFORTUNATE backsplash in our kitchen? We PAINTED it. Yep, you can paint a tile backsplash! Read on to learn more! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Our tile backsplash was the kitchen element that I was most concerned about when we decided to tackle the kitchen makeover. It just was NOT…MY…STYLE {that’s really the understatement of the century}. But you will recall that we are on a tight budget for this project. That eliminated the possibility of ripping it out and replacing it with something else. We thought about covering the tiles with stainless steel, or even stenciled wood, but the existing tiles are so thick, we could not come up with a good solution of how to finish off the visible edges if we covered them. So, I was left scratching my head.

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Meanwhile, we were trying to decide whether to stain or paint our kitchen cabinets. I tried out several different colors ofGeneral FinishesMilk Paints, which are high-quality acrylic paints that are very durable. I got 3 different pint size cans (you can buy the pint size cans on Amazon and some woodworking store) in 3 different shades of gray. We decided to use two of them to paint our kitchen cabinets. That left me with a pint of the darkest grey coloraccent pillow case baby canvas living room deco, Queenstown Grey, that I wasn’t going to use.


It occurred to me that I could PAINT the tile backsplash. WHHHHHHAAAAATTT????!!!! Yep, I said paint the tile backsplash. Granted, it was not an ideal solution for us because there is really nothing I like about our backsplash tile {I don’t like the size, shape, or texture} AND we have the added challenge of decorative accent tiles featuring some kind of pre-historic lion and latin phrases, but I digress. Painting would certainly improve the look by 500% and it would be FREE {thanks General Finishes}!

Here's a reminder of what the tile looked like before.

And for good measure, here's a close-up shot.

So, one day while my twin girls were napping, I went for it. I figured that even if we hated it, we would not have lost any money and it couldn’t possibly be worse than what was there before.


I started by cleaning and then priming the tiles. Typically, you don’t have to prime prior to using General Finishes Milk Paint, but I was nervous about painting the glossy tile and wanted to ensure the best adhesion possible. I used water-based Kilz primer.

Next, I painted the tiles with the General Finishes Milk Paint in Queenstown Grey. It didn’t look fantastic after the first coat, so I started to get a tad worried.

Fortunately, the second coat provided phenomenal coverage and looked great. I got the entire backsplash done with one tiny pint of this paint {I was literally scraping the paint out of the can to finish—it was a close call}. Finally, I applied three coats of the General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat, flat finish, on top for added durability. I elected to use the flat finish because I did not want added sheen to draw my eye to the backsplash, but most people would probably prefer to use a satin or semi-gloss finish.

And I love how it turned out!

Yes, you can still see the pattern of the decorative tiles, but holy cow, I am beyond happy with how this FREE transformation turned out. The backsplash now kind of blends into the background and looks great with the granite countertops and light grey cabinets.

If I had purchased the product for this project, it still only would have cost me $30. Not bad for a “new” backsplash! As you know, I love a good side-by-side comparison, so here you go!

What do you think of this thrifty transformation? Did you know that you could paint a tile backsplash? Have you done it? What other thrifty backsplash transformations have you seen?

General Finishes Milk Paint also works WONDERS on outdated kitchen cabinets. We painted our kitchen cabinets using these same products and have not had any chipping or peeling as of January 21, 2016 {almost 2 years after we finished the project}! You can learn all about how we painted our kitchen cabinets without priming OR sanding here.

The painted backsplash held up perfectly as well, but we did replace it after about 18 months. Our decision to replace it had nothing to do with the condition of the paint–;it hadn't peeled or chipped AT ALL and was easy to clean. We finally replaced it because even painted we could still see the tiles and it just wasn't the look for us, but I am so glad we painted it temporarily. It was a great, low-cost solution. You can read all about our new laminate backsplash here.

You can check out some more posts about our kitchen makeover progress before you head out, like how we painted the kitchen floor, how we moved some cabinets around and how we created a high impact herringbone plank wall. Stay tuned for the BIG kitchen reveal. It is coming soon! UPDATE: The kitchen reveal is done! Click HERE to check out all the details!

Before you head out and get started, be sure to check out my FREE design guides that will help you help you design spaces you absolutely love! Subscribe now and you will receive a password so that you can access everything in one convenient digital library.

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A note from Carol Nunns, Sew Generously, St. Charles, Illinois: