Before and After: A Clever $400 Upgrade for Rental Bathroom Tiles

published Sep 9, 2018
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In today’s Before & After, a Berlin guest bath gets a six-hour, $400, low-key upgrade that’s sure to inspire even the least DIY-inclined among us. Here’s a hint: If you can operate a sticker, you can handle this project.

Before we ooh and aah, let me just say that the bathroom is already pretty nice. It’s black and white, which is a great palette for a rental bathroom, and I love that little black stripe. But, the tenant was not satisfied with “pretty nice”:

I recently moved to Berlin and I rented an apartment in the center. Like 80 percent of the bathrooms in Berlin, there are very simple features and walls and floors are covered with cheap white 14.5 centimeters x 14.5 centimeters [5.7-inch] white tiles.

The guest bathroom was quite important for me because I like to entertain and I often have people over for dinner and parties. I wanted a more fun and stylish bathroom although, being a rental, I could not make any structural changes.

This is so freaking fun, I don’t even know where to start. Let’s go with the nuts and bolts: Every change you see here is thanks to either spray paint or stickers. The patterned tile has so much personality and is a bit hypnotic. Adding orange “tiles” was a great way to liven up the monochromatic room, and it opened the door for the fabulous “terrazzo” vanity front. And while I know terrazzo is a serious material with an 11,000-year history, it just makes me think of early-’90s sneakers and Saved By The Bell. Again, it’s so very fun. And while I can’t imagine committing to real (expensive) terrazzo, this is exactly what removable stickers were made for.

Daniele Federico Melilli of Stag Pads is responsible for this clever and quick makeover:

I discovered PVC tile covers a while ago through a friend and thought I’d look into it to refresh the bathroom. Found a company and had one of their patterned designs printed in the size of my tiles (14.5 centimeters x 14.5 centimeters wasn’t a standard size in their catalog). Same thing with the orange tile. When they arrived it took about six hours to install them; it was really easy. They are removable so totally rental friendly.

I spray painted all the accessories and the faucet with matte black spray paint for metal. I have added an IKEA cabinet and the sink, and covered the front with a PVC foil with a fun terrazzo print that has the same colors of the “new tiles”, and painted the upper part of the walls and the ceiling in a dark shade of grey to make the room cozier and, why not, somehow sexier. It took me in total about one full day, morning to evening. It cost about 350 euros [about $407]. I did it alone.

The vanity is the LILLÅNGEN from IKEA, and the “terrazzo” sticker is from Loko Loko. Now, to be fair, adding a new vanity and sink is a little more advanced than sticking on a sticker, but perhaps your bathroom can do without those more elaborate upgrades. And I never would have thought to spray paint a faucet or toilet paper holder, so thanks to Daniele for that excellent tip.

The bathroom feels fun, fresh and completely new. I love how the pattern works well with the orange I picked. If I had more money I would have replaced the sink, but being a renter made it not worth it.

Calculate exactly how many tiles sticker covers you will need. And be adventurous… you can achieve a lot with some spray paint.

Thank you, Daniele Federico Melilli of Stag Pad!