Kitchen Tour

This “Peel-and-Stick” Backsplash Completely Transformed a Bland Kitchen

published Jun 28, 2023
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Ben Cuevas Los Angeles Apartment Renovation House Tour
Credit: Ben Cuevas

When artist Ben Cuevas moved into his stunning Art Deco Los Angeles apartment, he added personal, stylish touches to every room in the home — except the kitchen. Cuevas admitted that he didn’t cook often, so he figured it didn’t matter much what the space looked like. But then, something dawned on him. 

“Over time, I realized I actually didn’t like spending time in my kitchen because it wasn’t beautiful like the rest of my apartment,” Cuevas said. “It was just a bland space where I didn’t want to spend time. So, to give myself

motivation to cook more

Credit: Ben Cuevas

Cuevas set his sights on updating the kitchen backsplash with a DIY to refresh his space, which he said felt like a “blank canvas.” 

First, he gathered all the necessary items to update the kitchen backsplash. 

Cuevas knew he wanted to complete the DIY kitchen backsplash himself, but he also sought out a pro to “help narrow down my choices and select a tile pattern that would be most harmonious energetically with that area of my home.”

Mark Ainley of Sense of Space Contemporary Feng Shui helped Cuevas find peel-and-stick tile panels from Sunwings (he chose their long, hexagonal mosaic wall tile). After he’d found his dream backsplash, it was time to gather the other materials, including a table saw (which you can rent from a tool library!) and measuring tape. All in, the materials, with the backsplash, cost around $700.  

“Technically, you can cut this tile by hand with a utility knife, but it is very difficult, so I definitely recommend using a saw,” Cuevas said. “The one I got is great because it’s fairly compact and portable but can still cut something serious like a 2×4. It sliced through the tile panels like butter.”

Then, it was time to install the kitchen backsplash tiles. 

Here’s the step-by-step process for how Cuevas installed kitchen backsplash tiles.

  1. Measure the area where you’ll hang the backsplash and calculate the square footage. This will tell you how much to buy (he recommends buying a little more to be safe). 
  2. Clean the wall and let it dry completely. 
  3. If you’re using a table saw, he recommends covering your work area in plastic, opening the windows for ventilation (vinyl tile particles aren’t great to inhale), and wearing safety goggles and a mask. 
  4. “Cut your tiles to size as you go (always measure twice) and peel and stick them into place. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but goes quickly once you get the hang of it!”

Because Cuevas is an artist, it’s no surprise that his peel-and-stick tile installation looks fabulous. If you try your own DIY tile backsplash project, he recommends researching the actual peel-and-stick tiles before buying, and getting samples first, if possible. 

“I went with a permanent peel-and-stick-tile, but they make removable ones too, and there are some that you can easily cut with an X-acto knife,” Cuevas said. “Which can be a good option for someone who wants a fresh look in their kitchen without the extra step of using power tools.”

Now that Cuevas’ kitchen backsplash has been installed, he says his home feels finished. “Every time I go into my kitchen, I smile a little,” he said. What more could you ask for?