As promised, I’ll show you the steps for creating the look of graphic cement tile, for much less.
Off the entry of our house is a quiet living room. One thing we loved so much about this new house was the potential for impactful updates that didn’t cost a fortune. This room is a great example. With the help of paint, we’ve created an updated space that works with our modern/traditional style and sets the tone for the rest of the house.
Before we get into the how-tos, let’s look at the before and after:
The tile is a little crazy, I’ll admit. And yet, it feels so fresh and happy, and that makes it worth it.
If you have a space in your home (a fireplace surround, backsplash, floor) that needs an inexpensive update, perhaps this how-to will give you just the inspiration you need.
To get started, I had to select a pattern. A quick search on Pinterest offered so many gorgeous examples. I looked through photos and tile companies until I found a pattern that I met my two criteria: 1. I could live with the pattern and 2. The pattern could be easily replicated and handpainted.
After narrowing it down to a couple of finalists, I decided on this pattern from a company called Tabarka Studio. I loved the simplicity, the handpainted feel and it seemed like a very simple pattern to paint.
The trickiest part was figuring out the math to make the pattern perfect.
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STEP ONE | Clean the tile to remove any dirt, soot, etc.
With just that first coat of primer on there, I knew this was going to be a good choice. I taped up my paper samples just to make sure I loved the pattern, the scale, and figure out placement.
STEP FOUR | Draw the pattern
(That sounds super confusing. Sorry. I explain the pattern making process in the template pdf. Download below.
Penciling in the pattern was the most labor-intensive step. It took a few hours (maybe 4 or 5? split between a few evenings) and I just popped in my headphones and listened to a book or podcast.
STEP FIVE | Paint the pattern
The tile would have been fine with one coat, but it was a little more transparent and the brush strokes were slightly more visible than I wanted, so I went back over with a second coat.
Our chimney has a small water leak that has caused the paint to bubble. I started the project earlier this winter and only got so far as painting the base coat and marking the pattern. At that point, we were having carpet installed and everything from the upstairs was piled in the living room for several weeks. Once the carpet was done and furniture moved back up, I went back to work on the fireplace. We were experiencing the wettest winter ever and unfortunately, moisture had caused the paint to bubble.
My two options:
Sand down the paint and start over (knowing that until the chimney is completely fixed, water will likely leak and cause damage again).
Just keep going and embrace the bubbled paint.
Guess which option I chose :)
Also, when I removed the tape, it pulled up a bit of the paint from the tile. I just went back over with my brush and touched up.
STEP SIX | Season the chalk paint
You may remember I did the same thing with the painted lamps in my studio. This post explains the process a little more.
And it’s done!
The graphic pattern gives the otherwise traditional room a nice dose of energy and the classic black and white pattern still feels versatile.
If you paint an area that gets much more wear and tear, be sure to use several coats of protective finish (like this) to seal. This post is a good one from another DIYer who shows how she painted her tile floors.
I put together a guide with my template and how-to instructions to make recreating this project a bit easier.
If you do paint your tile, please let me know! I’d love to see how it turns out …
Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you asap.