Oh the things you can Paint!

Justin and I are excited for the day when we will own our own home but, until that day we will live contently in our rented spaces. The issue with rented spaces is, of course, you are unable, as a tenant, to make any drastic change because in the end you will either have to pay for it to be fixed or you will not get a return on your investment. Luckily I have figured out some fun ways to spruce up the place you call home with no damage and few dollars. Of course it involves painting! Paint is great because in the end you can cover it up with more paint! 

      My history as an artist and interior decorator involves a lot of painting and, I can say assuredly that I have picked out a lot of colors that were probably not the best fit. Thankfully though I have learned from my mistakes and we can move on. Move on dang it! When it comes to color and a big wall, less is always more. Meaning even though the color swatch looks too light on that little piece of paper at the paint store, as soon as you paint it on the wall that color is going to smack you in the face! Of course if you want a color to smack you in the face then by all means, paint away! In our latest place of residence I took the more subtle approach on the feature wall but then still had fun painting the wall opposite the window in a bold graphic. See below. These techniques I am going to show you are so easy that you will be running to try them in your space, rented or not.    

The two biggest changes in our rented kitchen are the walls and the faucet. I installed a new faucet and the one that belongs to the owner is in storage. 

      First, the kitchen! The two biggest changes I think you can make to a rented kitchen is the wall color and hardware. I have always wanted subway tile but I am not about to install it on rented walls, so I decided to paint it on. First off, when we moved in all the walls were painted in a horribly cheap flat paint, pretty much the worst thing you can have with kids and in a kitchen because you just can not clean it, everything soaks right in. My solution was to not only paint on a new look but, to seal it so that it could be cleaned much easier.   

                                                                 Making a tile template

       The reason why painting on your own tile backsplash is so wonderful is because you can do any style your heart desires! I went onto Pinterest and scrolled through many pictures and blogs of different tile looks and man are there a lot. Eventually I decided I wanted a light grey "tile" with dark grey "grout". All you need to do is get the measurements of your desired tile and make one out of paper. I like to make one out of paper just to hold it up against the wall to see how well it will fit in the space and if I like the style or not. 

Making faux tile

      After you have decided which style and colors you want the first step is to paint your backsplash with two coats of your "tile" color. Second step is the tedious one, grout lines. I would like to say here that if you are a perfectionist and want perfect angled faux tiles then this part is going to take quite a bit longer for you. As you can see in the photos my grout lines are not perfectly straight, that is because of the technique I used. What I did was I held up my yardstick, drew my grout lines in pencil exactly where they needed to be but then I put down the yard stick and painted over my pencil lines with no straight edge guiding my hand. Risky you say? Well yes it was but I love how it turned out. My point is you can use the ruler as a straight edge guide for a cleaner look or not! The choice is yours. The paint brush I used was a small stiff angled brush like this one. 

Angled paint brush for painting on grout lines.

        After painting on all the grout lines I decided to seal my project with this product below. The reason for this is because a kitchen backsplash gets so much wear and tear that it needs a surface that can be cleaned easily. Let me tell you I am so glad I did use this stuff! Not only is my wall super easy to clean, the shine from the product gives the wall a look of actual tile. Even if you did not paint anything faux on your walls and just want a new color I suggest you seal it with this protective finish, you will not regret it. 

                                          This is the portion of wall behind my stove, mamma like.

                     Our cute little dining room in the kitchen flooded with beautiful morning light. 

       This also was really fun and easy. I painted faux chair railing and panel molding to add a fun architectural feature. Extra note: the pictures in the picture frames are actually cards that either hold special meaning or I just really liked the art on the card itself. 


This wall is our pass by wall. You really can't put anything bulky on here or else you will bump into it. At first I was going to make it a picture wall but after thinking about it some more I realized it would be the best mural wall. Reason being not only can you not hang bulky items on it but you also can not put furniture in front of it. Again I used trusty pictures from pinterest decided I wanted to do a forest look and began my epic art piece by painting the outside edge.  

I was testing the colors before deciding on what to do. Definitely paint your border first, that way when you paint the center you will know when to stop. 

This is a fun technique even if you don't want a mural. Once your border is done paint in the center area leaving about 3 inches of blending space. 


Honestly I could have left the wall like this and hung art or pictures. Having the blended edge is so much easier than taping off a giant square. Also I love this edge because it feels more like a big painting than an architectural feature.  

Finished wall!

I used a darker and lighter grey for the trees to create depth. I painted on the darker trees first then the lighter. Birds are a big thing with me because they remind me of Portland but I really did not want to paint on birdies. Luckily I had found these super rad bird illustrations at a thrift shop for only $6 a piece! 

      In conclusion, we all want to make the places we live our own and if you can put any kind of special touch on your walls then I say go for it! Have fun and make art.