Painting a Tile Back Splash

Ever since we moved in, our intention was to paint the kitchen cabinets and change out the back splash.  Well, Mom and I painted the cabinets, but nothing ever happened to the back splash.  Dealing with the work and dirt of tearing out the old back splash and installing a new one was just not something Yankee and I were getting excited about.  We added a back splash to our kitchen in Syracuse, but that was a simple fix because there wasn’t an old one there in the first place to deal with.  After talking to kitchen designer Debra Hupman, who advised Mom on updating her kitchen last year, we learned that painting a tile back splash was an option.  We read about it, talked to people about it, looked at Pinterest, and read blogs, and decided that painting was the option we would go with at this time.  And finally, a year after moving in, our back splash is now white and wonderful.

It all started one Friday night.  Little Miss was in bed, and I thought, “Let’s just do this.” I had everything I needed on hand.  I shared this photo on Instagram.



How to Paint your tile backsplash

First thing I did was really clean the tile.  I used Dawn soap to cut the grease, and then I took rubbing alcohol to really get at any remaining residue so I could apply an oil-based primer.   After it dried, I added two coats of the same paint I used for the cabinets, Pure White semi-gloss latex by Sherwin Williams.  Voila! That was it.  I think this is my easiest project yet that gave us the most bang for the buck.  Why did I take so long to do it?

Here it is  – the painted tile.  I am so happy with the way it turned out.  I have now put replacing our back splash at the bottom of our home’s to-do list.  This looks great!  Since we really aren’t scrubbing it or rubbing against it, the paint will pretty much go untouched which will make it last longer.

You can see we only have one white outlet, and that was the one we changed ourselves to USB outlet, which we love and use daily.  We plan to change out the cream outlets to white right away.

I am planning to add something interesting to that little rectangle over the stove.  One option is our custom monogram, and another option is a colorful platter.  What do you suggest?

Oh, and did I mention that we LOVE it?  What you can’t tell from looking at this picturesque scene is that the fan over the stove stopped working two days after we moved it.  It was 10 years old, so, we forgive it.  As I write this, Yankee is in the process of installing a new one and building a wooden box to hide it and make it blend in more with our cabinets.  Stay tuned.  We will be sure to share when it is finished.



This table became a great kitchen island - The 2 Seasons

Here is a quick peak of the kitchen before we painted the cabinets and back splash.  Our kitchen island gets lots of use and makes our kitchen an “eat-in kitchen” for with Little Miss’s breakfast and lunch.  We still eat all of our evening meals in the dining room, though, and will continue to do that.

I keep telling Yankee it’s just so bright in here, and I love it.



How to paint a tile backsplash

We both want to change out the pulls, but that will happen after the fan project is complete.



Building a new hood

This is what the fan project is looking like right now.  As I said before…..stay tuned(;



Linking to Savvy Southern Style


  1. Lisa says

    I love it! I need to do that too but it always seemed very daunting. You made it sound easy so I just may go ahead and do it!

    Whenever I need to change out an outlet or switch plate or even vent covers, I just hit them with some white spray paint. It last forever and it’s super cheap, especially if you already have the spray-paint on hand!

    • says


      It took me so long to do because I thought it would take forever. I really wish I painted the tile when I did the cabinets because it was so easy. Good to know about the spray paint and the switches!

  2. Courtney says

    Jordan, this transformation looks absolutely incredible! Speaking of your custom monogram… I’ve been meaning to ask where you had it made since I saw it on some snail mail we we received from you guys a long time ago… We both just loved it!

    • says


      Thank you!!! The custom monogram was an engagement gift from my mother and we loved coming up with our own monogram. The person she used was Claudia Engle. Here is her email. She works with you on your style and it was such a fun process. I have gone crazy using it and love it!

  3. Joyce says

    I vote for the platter. You can change it out seasonally or when you find a new groovy platter you love. It looks great!

  4. Donna Murphy says

    Jordan, A GORGEOUS & amazing transformation. I screenshotted a few to look closely at the tile above the cooktop. A platter sounds great. I love the wooden ones with iron handles…& it would marry the warmth of your floors to the backsplash. wondering if wood and flame is wise tho? Hmmmmm….. You and Yankee need an HGTV show!!!!

    • says


      Thank you for the kind words. Love that idea with the wood and iron handle. I’ll have to ask Yankee about that one he is Mr. Safety while I would not of thought of the heat!

      • Lori says

        Hello I love what you did it looks beautiful. I do have a question? Did you sand the cabinets and prime them first before painting?

        • says


          Yes I did sand and prime the cabinets. I even used a defroster before sanding. I did this with our last kitchen and the paint held up great. It takes some time but I know it will last.

  5. says

    Amazing transformation, Jordan!! It looks like a completely different kitchen. I like the idea of a colorful platter on the back splash above the stove. Enjoy!!

  6. Nancy DePew says

    Hi Jordan,
    Was just wondering what paint did you use on your cupboards?
    Your kitchen looks beautiful…can’t believe the difference!

    • says

      Hi Nancy,

      Thank you it is so bright now I LOVE it! I used the Pro Classic paint line from Sherwin Williams in semi gloss. My color was pure white.

  7. Carolyn Rasnick says

    That looks fantastic!! I have two painted tiles that I found at an art gallery in that space in my kitchen that I just love. I could have had them inserted in the back splash but wanted them to be movable should I ever move. They are a kitchen theme with bottles, fruits and glassware in bright colors. I’ll text your mom a picture and have her forward it to you!
    Also, love that colorful new rug! You have had some Saturday Selections of blogs with lots of bright colors. ,Be sure to go back and look at some of them for some great ideas!

  8. Cheryl Johnson says

    Just beautiful! I always thought it was a big deal to paint tile and here you go making it look easy!

  9. Gena says

    Hey Jordan,
    love the Kitchen, just wondered if you thought of doing black switch covers instead of white. it would tie in with your black counter top and hardware you have, just a thought. looks lovely!

    • says


      Thank you for the kind words. I am one step ahead of you. We replaced those covers last week, and I will be writing a post about it that will be published next week. Thanks so much for reading our blog.

  10. Ann C says

    Love the idea of painting the tile. I thing hanging a platter that you like in the square above the stove is a great idea. You could change it out with the seasons! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Claudia says the change…since you have as appliances, you might want as outlet covers…I love mine..also did light switches, as plate but black toggle switch!!! Above stove, I have a tray from my Italian China …lots of color….also easy to clean..Would be careful with wood monogram..maybe high up on new vent hood.

  12. Senobia says

    Love, love, love your transformation utilizing only paint. Gorgeous… I have been thinking about having my cabinets painted and had no idea the tiles can be painted as well? I am typically not a DIY person but you made this sound and look so easy!

  13. Topcat says

    I think you should paint that blank space with chalkboard paint! You could change up cute messages, or write shopping lists. And it would tie in nicely with the island top.

  14. India says

    You’re kitchen is absolutely beautiful (especially with the now white tile backsplash!). My thought for above the stove would be a solid color (one that is in the beautiful pitcher holding your cooking utensils) with a monogram on top of that in white, or even in a steel color to match you stove.
    I absolutely am in love with your metal island and the metal lazy Suzan on it. Would you happen to know where you got them?

    • says

      Hi India,

      The metal tray on the island is just a tray not a lazy susan. I got it this summer from World’s Market, hopefully they are still in stock. I am now thinking I could turn it into a lazy susan. Hmmm thanks for the idea!!!

  15. Kathy Peach says

    Your kitchen is just beautiful!!!
    Did you use an oil based primer and oil based paint on your cabinets? I see you used an oil primer on your tile. Did you an oil based paint on those also?

    • says

      Hi Kathy,

      I only used an oil based primer for the tiles. For the cabinets I used a deglosser, sanded, and used a latex primer before using a latex paint.

  16. Cheryl says

    Your kitchen looks fabulous!
    When we first moved into our house in Florida I hated the kitchen. It was very dated and there was just enough money in our budget to buy all new appliances which we did. I’m an artist so I like things out of the norm. I took down our tile backsplash which turned out to be easy as pie as the gro

  17. Cheryl says

    Was so dry the tiles just about fell off the way. Now I was left with a very rough surface and if I talked with anyone in construction they told me I would have to sheet rock! Well that wasn’t going to happen so I got out my paints and painted different color stripes to coordinate with the colors in my kitchen. Everyone that comes to the house thinks I wallpapered!