Before & After: A Small Change That Makes a Huge Difference in This Hidden Kitchen Space

published Aug 19, 2022
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Kitchen sink with a nature view
Credit: Getty Images/Justin Paget

People are always surprised when they hear I have a TikTok account. As I tell people, I use it mostly for work: You’d be surprised how much cleaning and organizing inspiration there is on a social media platform mostly known for dance moves!

Recently, while scrolling, I came across a gorgeous idea that helps protect my under-the-sink cabinet from water damage. I briefly wondered why I hadn’t thought of it on my own and then swallowed my humble pie and got to work!

Here’s the idea: Open up your cabinet under your kitchen sink, and jazz up the space with peel-and-stick tile! If you’ve ever had a leak from a faulty disposal or a broken pipe, you know that this under-sink area is prone to water damage, which permanently stains or warps the wood of your cabinet.

Credit: Shifrah Combiths
No grout! Peel-and-stick tile makes home projects so easy to do.

Not to mention, this under-sink area is possibly one of the least attractive storage spaces in the kitchen — you know, with all of the pipes and gadgets and cleaning supplies.

Putting vinyl tiles in this area to protect the wood and add a pop of fun makes so much sense. As luck would have it, I came across the TikTok video right around the time our brand-new kitchen cabinet was installed. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths
My under-sink area is ready to go!

I promptly ordered a tile pattern I’ve loved for a long time. (Yay! A chance to use it somewhere without having to re-tile a whole bathroom!) It came in at a whopping $12.37 (!!!) for more than enough to cover the roughly 2’x3′ area under the sink. 

The process was super easy. I just gathered a box cutter and a measuring tape (a ruler will work too) then got to work. To prepare for the adhesive, I thoroughly cleaned the wood surface of the cabinet with a damp paper towel and dried it. 

Then I carefully measured the width of the cabinet so I could center the middle tile. Centering this first tile and using it as the base from which to place the others makes the whole project look even.

Credit: Shifrah Combiths
Cutting the tile to size.

We (I say “we” because at this point my teen daughter had joined the fun) measured how much we needed to cut off from the back of the tile we were planning to place behind the first tile we laid down. Scoring the back of the tile with the box cutter with a few strong strokes was enough to bend and snap off the excess length. We continued the process for each of the remaining tiles, measuring, scoring, and sticking our tiles down to complete our under-sink puzzle. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths
Putting in the center tile first.

And, yes, we messed up once and had to use one of our extra tiles. As always, “measure twice, cut once” and make sure you’re cutting the correct edge of the tile! My daughter, who pretty much took over the project as I watched (it’s that straightforward to do), pointed out that it’s not “peel-and-stick,” it’s “math-peel-and-stick.”

Credit: Shifrah Combiths
Wow! So easy to do, and it looks beautiful!

Just about an hour after opening the package of tile, our under-sink space had a brand-new look with a protective layer of peel-and-stick vinyl that will no doubt make me smile each time I open the cabinet doors. Now I just can’t wait to find somewhere else to use this clever idea! 

Do you love this idea? Tell us the fun ways you’ve used peel-and-stick in your own kitchen.