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DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

Hello friends! I am super excited to share this weeks project with you. Call me crazy if you like, but I painted the kitchen backsplash! If you follow me on Instagram you know I have been talking about doing this for a while now. I knew it was big decision and I definitely took my time considering it, weighing the pros and cons. But I finally took the plunge and went for it. Do I love it or hate it? Would I do it again? I am spilling all the details including why and how in today’s DIY painted kitchen backsplash. Are you ready?

DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

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DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

Why I painted my kitchen backsplash 

Do I hate my kitchen tile backsplash. No. In fact, I was the one that chose it seven years ago. But it was starting to feel a little dated and if I were renovating the kitchen today I would have chosen something a bit more simple. The granite counters are on the busy side, as was the backsplash, and I wanted to simplify the look a bit.

Changing the backsplash is more cost-effective way to update the look than changing the countertops. Replacing the old tile is totally doable, but is more involved than paint. So I decided to give painting a try and the worst thing that could happen is I hate it and just replace the whole thing if needed. This is what the existing tile looked like when I started. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

DIY Painted Backsplash Supplies

Small Roller
Paint Tray
Paint Brush
Painter’s Tape

Step 1

First things first. Test the paint. Luckily I had some scrap tile leftover from when we originally installed the backsplash that I could test some different paint options on. This is not only a good way to see your color choices in larger scale, but a good test to see how well your paint will adhere to the tile.

My backsplash is a natural stone and very porous so the paint adhered very well. If your tile is ceramic, porcelain, glossy, or in high-traffic areas, I would suggest priming the tile first.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

I had three paint colors in mind, all of which I had on hand. A light option (SW Nuance), a medium option (SW Dorian Gray), and a dark option (SW Iron Ore). I have used all of these somewhere else in the house and all were a latex paint in a satin finish. None of these are a special type of paint for wall tiles.

NOTE: Again my kitchen tiles are natural stone. They soak up paint very well. If your tile surface is different or if you are painting ceramic floor tiles, you will want to use the right paint. I would not paint floors without floor paint and several primer coats. No matter what you try, test it on a small area first!

Step 2

Hold up the samples and see which one you like best. My gut instinct before I saw the colors on the tile sample was to go light. I didn’t want to go with a pure white paint because it might not match the kitchen cabinets.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

While I loved all the colors, I decided I could always go darker if I wanted, but it would be harder to go lighter after painting it dark. So I chose Sherwin Williams Nuance to paint the backsplash. You may also remember this is the same color I used to paint the brick fireplace and the walls in our bedroom.

Step 3

For best results, prep. Aka clean. Kitchens get really dirty especially around the stove and painting over grease is never a good idea. So before you paint, I definitely recommend washing down the entire backsplash and any areas nearby to remove any residue.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

I used my go to Dawn dish soap, clean water, and a sponge. I wiped down the backsplash and some of the cabinets that were in need of a cleaning. For stubborn areas you may need to use a scrub brush.

Step 4

I am going to deviate for a minute, because I also decided now was a good time to repaint the ceilings and the walls a different color. It has been my plan to give the kitchen a new paint job ever since the One Room Challenge, but with the stairs, hallway and closet projects earlier this year, I just hadn’t gotten around to it.

Clearly this step will not apply to everyone, but I always find it easier to knock out all the painting at once especially if you need to paint the ceiling since it’s very difficult to do without painting the walls. As you can see, the ceiling definitely needed it!

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

Once the ceiling was painted, I moved on to painting the walls. You will want to make sure to use a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to protect your floors and countertops.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

For the walls I used Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, which is the same color I used in the family room, living/dining room, and the downstairs hallway. For the ceiling I used Behr ceiling paint I got at Home Depot. To see video of the process, check out my kitchen Instagram story highlight.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

Step 5

Next step, paint the backsplash. I’m not going to lie, this part was a little nerve wracking because Barry was still on the fence. But I trusted my gut, and went for it.

If this is something you are debating yourself, I would only do it if you fully understand your worst case scenario and think it is worth the risk. A lot of folks on Instagram thought I was crazy and told me not to do it. You just have to be confident in your decision.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

I used a small roller and Sherwin Williams Nuance to paint the backsplash.

For the tight spots around the cabinets, countertops and edges, I used a small brush. NOTE: I rolled the majority of the backsplash with the roller first and then let it dry for a few hours and then came back and did the edging. You don’t want any of your paint to be tacky when you come back to do the edges or it will mess up the paint you have already applied. Trust me on this!

I applied two full coats of paint to cover my backsplash completely. You can see video of this process in my kitchen Instagram story highlight.

Step 6

Last step. This is totally optional but something I really wanted to address. Years ago we had the kitchen  cabinets painted which I do not regret one bit! BUT, the under side of the cabinets were not painted and it always drove me crazy. So I used this opportunity to paint the under side of the cabinets as well.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

Step 7

Once the paint is one hundred percent dry you can move everything back into your kitchen and enjoy!

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

How to Paint Tile – Frequently Asked Questions

Do I love it or hate it? 

So far, I love it! It updates the entire space and gives the kitchen a whole new look and didn’t cost me a dime since I already had the paint.

Will it hold up?

I have no idea. Only time will tell. Yes it will get wiped down often, but it’s not like a floor that we would be walking on. That’s a whole different story and I wouldn’t advise anyone to paint their ceramic tile floors or shower without thoroughly researching the best paints for those applications specifically.

Will I still replace the backsplash?  

I see this as a temporary solution. I would imagine at some point I will, but for now I am a happy camper and have other projects to focus on. This tile painting project was an easy way to get a fresh new look and honestly it made a huge difference! The painted tile is likely a short term fix, but depending on how it wears, maybe I keep it.

Do I feel guilty about painting over something that was perfectly fine? 

I think most people get stuck on this one, but for me the answer is no. I have learned to accept that as time goes on, my style and tastes evolve and change. I am allowed to change my mind and want different things. Our home is always evolving and the longer we live here the more things will change. 

Can I use this method to paint my bathroom floors?

I honestly cannot say because I have never painted floors. However, I have seen others do it. If you want to paint an entire floor I think epoxy paint, enamel paint, or patio paint would be a better option. But I would not attempt it without thoroughly researching the best floor tile paint first since floors experience a lot of wear.

Did you prime or do a base coat first?

No. I did not. However, a good coat of primer is never a bad option. Since I tested my paint on small sections of my scrap tile first I was confident it would adhere well. BUT if you have glass tiles or another smooth surface, the best option would be to prime the tiles prior to painting.

Was this hard?

No, not at all! With just a few simple steps and a little prep work, this fresh coat of paint transformed my kitchen. Anyone can do this project and the good news is, it doesn’t take much time to do 😉


It has been almost two years since I painted the tile kitchen backsplash and it still looks fantastic! It has worn very well and I do not have any chips in the paint. A few scuffs, but overall it has worn very well!

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

I am so glad I finally pulled the trigger on this project. It was an easy and affordable solution that completely changed the look of the kitchen! If you want to see all the behind the scenes and video from this project, check out my kitchen Instagram story highlight.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

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Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

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DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash

This post, DIY Painted Kitchen Backsplash, appeared first on Garrison Street Design Studio.


  1. This looks great and is a wonderful updated refresh on the tile. The effect is a backsplash with textural interest. I like it! And I like the gray paint. Our house came with busy granite counters and busy tiny tile backsplash. The backsplash was poorly installed, so maybe having a go at painting it wouldn’t hurt! And if it did, then I’d really be motivated to get a new backsplash. Win/win!

    1. Thank you so much Marsha! I also felt it was a low risk update, and you are correct, if it doesn’t work out, it’s extra motivation 🙂

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