Make a Temporary Tile Backsplash for a Rented Home

I’m not a home improvement expert by any means, but I love being able to personalize my home.  I’ve also never owned a home (although one day I hope to own a Victorian-era house with a wrap-around porch, pocket doors and a tower.  Did you hear that, universe?)

Anyway, I rent a circa 1890 house but unfortunately, all its cool architectural details were stripped out a looooong time ago.  As a renter, I can’t exactly do any restoration or remodeling, but I’ve come up with some creative ways to “temporarily” restore old-time deets to my space. 

Here’s one idea I thought I’d share:

I made gorgeous Art Nouveau tile backsplashes for my bathroom and kitchen, while keeping the walls intact.

1.  I bought clip art of Art Nouveau tile designs.  The clip art comes on a CD so you can upload it directly to your computer.  The clip art is copyright-free, which means you don’t need to pay a license fee to use it.

2. I had the tile clip art images printed on actual tiles.

3. I had the local hardware store cut a piece of plywood for me, the size of the area above my sink.

4. I tiled the plywood.

5. I hung the tiled panel of wood over my sink.  I used long nails with extra-wide nail heads, and instead of driving the nail through the tile (which wouldn’t work — it would shatter the tile), I wedged the edges of the panel under the nail heads.  I tapped in one nail every couple of inches along the edges of the tiled panel.  Imagine it’s kind of like an old-fashioned photo album, when the photos were held in place by paper tabs in the corners.  The nail is never nailed through the tiled piece — it’s nailed RIGHT ALONG THE EDGE.  The nail head is what holds the panel in place against the wall. 

6. I took it a step further by buying adhesive plastic jewels from the craft store and sticking the jewels over the nail heads, just as a decorative touch.  Obviously, this is optional.

When you eventually move out and need to remove the panel, all you have to do is pry out the nails.  You can easily fill in the nail holes and patch the paint.  And best of all, you get to take the tiled panel with you.  If it doesn’t fit over your next apartment sink, you can always have it custom framed and use it as a gorgeous wall hanging.

Happy decorating from Kim Brittingham at

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