How to Cover Ugly Backsplash


An ugly or outdated backsplash can really bring down the look of an otherwise beautiful kitchen. If you’re stuck with an unappealing backsplash that you can’t replace right now, don’t worry – there are some easy and affordable ways to cover it up and give your kitchen a mini makeover. In this article, we’ll explore several methods for camouflaging an unattractive backsplash, from removable adhesive wallpaper and peel-and-stick tile to clever paint techniques. With a little creativity and effort, you can disguise that unsightly backsplash until you’re ready to replace it.

Use Removable Wallpaper

One of the easiest and most economical solutions for covering an unsightly backsplash is to apply removable wallpaper. Self-adhesive wallpaper comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures, allowing you to easily transform the look of your backsplash.

When selecting removable wallpaper to cover your backsplash, opt for one with a bold, distracting print that will draw the eye away from any flaws underneath. Marble, brick, and geometric patterns all work well. Make sure the wallpaper is marketed as removable or repositionable so that it can be taken down later without damaging the underlying surface.

Measure the backsplash area carefully and cut the wallpaper to fit, allowing a few extra inches on each side to accommodate uneven walls. Thoroughly clean and dry the backsplash before applying the adhesive wallpaper. Remove any glossy sealants, which can interfere with adhesion. Apply the wallpaper smoothly from top to bottom, pressing out any bubbles or wrinkles as you go. Use a plastic smoother or the back of a spoon for the best results.

Removable wallpaper allows you to give your backsplash a whole new look in just an afternoon. When you’re ready to replace the backsplash down the road, it peels off cleanly without any sticky residue or damage.

Install Peel-and-Stick Tiles

For a more permanent solution, consider installing peel-and-stick backsplash tiles. Self-adhesive tile comes in an array of materials like ceramic, porcelain, or vinyl, and can mimic natural stone, metal, or glass. Purchase peel-and-stick tiles that complement your existing kitchen decor and work well with your cabinets and countertops.

Make sure the current backsplash area is smooth, clean, and dry before applying the adhesive tiles. Level any uneven areas and seal the surface per the manufacturer’s instructions. Plan the tile layout and do any necessary cutting beforehand. Remove the backing from the tiles and press in place one-by-one, being careful to properly align grout lines.

The entire project can be accomplished in a weekend with just a few affordable supplies. Peel-and-stick tiles allow you to inexpensively upgrade an ugly backsplash with a fresh new look. Unlike wallpaper, tile is more water-resistant and durable. Down the road when you redo your kitchen, the tiles can be easily removed.

Paint with Creativity

An innovative paint treatment is another excellent way to camouflage an unappealing backsplash without breaking the bank. With the right colors, techniques, and tools, paint can transform the space.

Consider painting your backsplash a dark, dramatic shade like navy blue, charcoal, or black to serve as a neutral backdrop that hides any imperfections. Or opt for an eye-catching accent wall with a colorful mosaic or Moroccan tile-inspired stenciled pattern. Use painter’s tape to create sharp edges and protect surrounding areas.

For a more organic look, try using a specialty glaze or tinted plaster skim coat troweled or rolled over the existing tile. This gives a translucent, mottled effect that helps hide flaws. Or roughly stencil on layers of varied colored paints and glazes for dimension. Sponging, ragging, stippling, or even stamping work great over an existing backsplash surface.

The design options are almost endless with creative backsplash painting ideas. When done right, you can completely transform the space with color, texture, and pattern to disguise the underlying tile. Paint also lets you easily change up the look as often as you’d like.

Install Board and Batten

Board and batten is an affordable and straightforward way to install a whole new layer right over an existing backsplash. This classic wall treatment involves applying vertical boards over the surface, spaced out and separated by battens (narrow strips). It creates a completely new texture and look.

Use 1″ x 2″ boards and 1″ x 2″ battens for smaller backsplash areas, or size up for a larger space. Measure precisely and cut lumber to fit. Prime and paint the boards and battens your desired color before installing. Screw the battens directly to the backsplash first, spaced equal distances apart. Then attach the vertical boards over them, being sure the edges line up cleanly.

The contrast of the battens over the boards gives a rustic, cottage style look that works in many kitchen designs. Opt for crisp white boards and battens or go bold with navy or black. Mix up board widths, colors, and heights for extra dimension. Add molding along the top for a finished look. With a little carpentry work, you can disguise any backsplash shortcomings.

Hang Decorative Coverings

For a quick cosmetic upgrade, consider hanging removable coverings directly over your backsplash. Attaching textured wallpaper borders, decorative moldings, antique tin tiles, or wall plaques can help camouflage an unappealing backsplash between renovations.

Self-adhesive wallpaper with vibrant patterns or faux finishes works nicely for this. Measure properly and trim to size before sticking on. For open shelving, attach colorful contact paper along the back. Frame out the backsplash area with affordable PVC or pine molding pieces. Or mount rectangular metal or ceramic wall tiles, spaced slightly apart to hide seams and flaws.

The design options are limitless – get creative! Layer different textures, materials, and dimensional objects until you achieve the desired effect. Hang removable coverings with adhesive strips or Command hooks for non-permanent installation that won’t damage surfaces. When it’s time for a real backsplash makeover, everything can come down quickly.


Dealing with an outdated or unattractive backsplash doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. With clever use of wallpaper, tile, paint, texture, and removable coverings, you can disguise flaws and completely transform the look of your kitchen. Any of these affordable backsplash makeover options allow you to refresh the space on a budget and timeline that works for you. Don’t live with ugly until the big reno – give your backsplash a quick facelift instead!