Update Your Backsplash on a Budget

3 1/2 years ago we moved to the DC area and into a cute townhouse in Northern Virginia. It was such a huge change from our single level Jacksonville home but I was determined to make it work. We are renting the townhouse and that has proven to be a challenge when it comes to giving it our sense of style without altering anything too much. The easiest way to accomplish of course is with a simple coat of paint. But when it comes to a 4 floor townhouse, where you apply this paint has to be smart so you don't spend a week repainting everything when you move again. We decided to accept our white walls and just add color with accessories throughout the house except for two areas. One was our Master Bedroom (white just was not going to cut it) and second was the backsplash in our kitchen.

The kitchen is spacious with plenty of cabinets for storage and even a great island that not only adds counter space but gives my two boys and perfect area to have their meals. Although I am not a fan of the dated oak cabinets, the kitchen did have dark granite counters but no backsplash. The backsplash area was the same flat white paint found throughout the rest of the house. This was not conducive for someone that loves to cook and tends to make a mess while creating my gourmet masterpieces. So we needed to find a simple cost effective (cheap) solution. After searching on the internet for different options, paint being one of them, I came up with the idea to use Chalkboard paint. I already had a can in my garage used for other projects so it was a great inexpensive option.

After painting the backsplash a solid matte black, although an improvement, I felt it was still missing something. I again searched for inspiration and mostly found beautiful handwritten quotes and whimsical drawings adorning the backsplashes I found. But then I came across an idea to create faux tile just by adding grout lines. Genius! The results are unique and glam with a bit of whimsy still. A perfect stylish solution and under $20 for half a days work.

Here's what you'll need to create you own unique backsplash:

  • 1 can of Chalkboard paint

  • Paintbrush

  • 1 level

  • 1 Chalk Marker

  • 1 Piece of cardboard

  • Exacto Knife


  1. Clean your backsplash area with soap and water and a sponge to make sure all the cooking grease, etc is gone.Wait until it dries before applying the first coat.

  2. Apply 1 light coat of the chalkboard paint. Let dry.

  3. Apply 2nd coat. This should be enough but touch up any areas that may still have wall color showing through.

  4. After you have a solid black background and it's completely dry, grab your level.I was lucky enough to have a 2inch wide level that I highly recommend purchasing to get the job done easier and quickly.

  5. Lay the level on the counter or in my case the existing granite 4 inch backsplash.

  6. Shake your bistro marker and test it on a paper to make sure it runs evenly before drawing you lines on the wall. Draw your first horizontal lines first all the way across before starting on the next line above it. Continue drawing horizontal lines all the way up reaching your upper cabinets.

  7. Next using the cardboard and Xacto knife, draw out a 4x2 rectangle on the cardboard and cut out your tile template.You will use this template to draw you vertical lines. Remember to stagger your "grout line" so they imitate real subway tiles.

Other cool tile option are square 4x4 tiles running horizontally or if you are feeling adventurous, you can even on draw them on a diagonal!

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As I watched my body change slowly from Spring to Summer for the worst last year, I felt powerless. I kept indulging, making bad and unhealthy choices but that was just part of the vicious cycle. The softer, flabbier and more lbs I put on, the more depressed I got, and the worse I treated my body.

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