We bought a house! After a move to Texas (from California), homeownership finally became a possibility for us in October 2022. We moved into the home of an avid DIY-er and I was inspired to continue where she left off. This brings us to the main bathroom, where the star of the show is now the peel and stick tile.
Although most of the house was updated in unique ways that caused us to fall in love with it, the 2004 bathroom remained untouched. Designing the bathroom, I was in heaven. But once the quotes from contractors came back starting at $20k before materials…well, it was time to rethink things. Unfortunately, you can’t have champagne taste on a beer budget. After all, we did just buy a house. So the design boards started to shift and morph into what was realistic, but still exciting!
Budget Bathroom Renovation – Phase 1
So now the priorities discussion: The vanity, the shower, and the early 2000’s large pink floor tiling needed to go. Well, we decided to approach this in a DIY Band-Aid style renovation. That said, the shower will just have to wait. I am not about to take on a shower replacement without a professional involved. But the floors, fixtures and vanity? We knew we could find a budget-friendly way to make those items over, and peel and stick tile elevated the entire space in one fell swoop.
All About the Deals!
After some very minimal browsing for vanities online, Facebook Marketplace started inserting them in my searches for other furniture. Long story short, we scored this $5,000-$8,000 Restoration Hardware vanity for $650 on Facebook Marketplace! At this point, the design took full shape around this piece and the deal hunting continued.
Two large, 54″, beveled, wooden mirrors came in at $140 for the pair from Facebook Marketplace, and lighting and tub fixtures from Amazon came through with discounts for “new with damaged packaging.” (If you don’t know about this Amazon option, check out my post 5 Ways to Decorate on a Budget.)
Our final budget and DIY friendly item, peel and stick tile for a full statement wall. There was no way we could stick that gorgeous vanity in a plain white bathroom, and paint didn’t seem “special” enough.
Now, About That Peel and Stick Tile
Chris and I are not the type to go for the muted neutral tones, so when I proposed an entire wall of emerald green tile, he was 100% on board. (Gotta love him!!!) The cost difference for this peel and stick tile versus inexpensive real tiles is about double. Not to mention, with real tile, you need to consider the mortar (or MusselBound), grout, tile saw, spacers, trowel, sponge, etc., as well as the knowledge of how and where to start…and the mess! With peel and stick tile, all I used was this rotary mat and ruler and a utility knife with a new blade. Don’t forget a level!
How to Install Your Own Peel and Stick Tile
So if you want to tackle your own bathroom tile in a day and fool everyone into thinking you are are a pro, here is all you need to know.
You will need:
- Rotary mat and ruler
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
- Peel and stick tile of course! (here is what we used)
Measure out the square footage of your space and order your tile. Always order extra to account for strange cuts, mistakes, etc. Next, think about where you want to begin your project visually. I started at the bathtub, knowing that I didn’t want a half-tile piece running along the top of the tub, an area that is very visually obvious. From here, I worked my way across to the vanity, then moved up and down the wall from there.
I used my level on every single sheet. Don’t skip this. I can only imagine subway tiles looking like my handwriting on unruled paper…starting off straight and ending up in the bottom corner. Your peel and stick hack will fool no one if your tile job ends up looking like first-grade handwriting. A laser level can definitely make the job a little easier and quicker if you have one or want to purchase one.
Keep your scraps
As you cut down your pieces with your rotary cutter, you might notice that a lot of your scraps fit into the empty spaces along the edges perfectly. Don’t throw the scraps away! Precut scraps beat cutting and measuring brand new sheets! Let’s be honest, the point of doing this with peel and stick tile is to spend as little time and money as possible, so let’s make that happen.
As a final touch, caulk all those edges leaving your masterpiece with clean lines. Your work may not be perfect so caulking along the tub and in the corner of the wall will create a more seamless appearance.
And that’s all there is to it! This is 100% a project for beginners! Dive in, try it, and share a photo so we can all be inspired.
*A note for renters
As a former renter, this is something I would want to know: Our walls are orange peel textured. I had to take off two pieces that were not level at different points during of this project and pieces of the texture (dime sized or smaller) did come off with the peel and stick tile sheet. This could be due to our matte paint, the age of the paint, or this product could require some minor repairs if you need to take it down when your lease is up.