Showers & Bathrooms


Decorating Over Bathroom Tiles

If you haven’t got the time, money or inclination to go to the effort of retiling your bathroom, there are various things you can do to improve or change the appearance of the existing tiles.  As long as they are well-fitted and secure, and not cracked or damaged, your dull or plain tiles should be suitable for a makeover.

Once way to decorate your plain bathroom tiles is to use tile transfers to add color and pattern.  Firstly, you’ll need to make sure your tiles are really clean.  Following the user instructions, immerse the first transfer in a bucket of warm water.  Once it’s had a good soak, take it out of the water and shake off the drips, then place it on your selected tile.  Once you’ve got it level and you’re satisfied with its position, peel off the backing paper to leave the image on the tile.  Tidy up your transfer with a dry cloth, to get rid of any excess water or air bubbles.  Remember when cleaning your bathroom to take care when cleaning your tiles with transfers on, as abrasive cleaning products could damage them.

Another simple solution to outdated or unappealing tiles is to paint them a different color.  You’ll need to use a specialist tile primer to prepare the surface before you paint it.  Begin by sanding the tiles to create a key for the paint.  Then clean the tiles thoroughly and leave to dry.  Once dry, apply tile primer to the whole surface.  Wait for this to dry before applying a couple of coats of emulsion, eggshell or gloss paint.  If the color you want is only available as an emulsion, varnish of the top of it to make it more durable.

Replacing selected tiles with picture or patterned tiles is another option, if you fancy adding some detail to otherwise plain bathroom tiles.  Decide which tiles you want to remove, and scrape out the grout from around their edges.  Then drill several holes in the tiles to weaken them, and remove the broken bits with a club hammer and cold chisel.  There will be lots of sharp bits, so wear protective goggles and gloves for this step.  Once you’ve removed your old tiles, apply adhesive to the gap and fix your new tile in the usual way, using spacers at the edges.  When the adhesive has had time to dry, remove the spacers and grout the surrounding joints.

A really quick and cheap way to give tiles a new look is to stick plastic tile sheets over them.  To do this, spread adhesive over the back of the sheets and stick them into position.  The sheets come in large sizes, so it’s easy to cover large areas quickly.  They are easy to cut with scissors, so you can fill in the gaps at the edges.  After the adhesive has dried, you’ll need to grout in the usual way.