A budget bathroom makeover with stick-on vinyl tiles

Are Temporary Makeovers to Kitchens and Bathrooms a Waste of Time? 4 Reasons for Considering a Quickie.

Renovation and investment media is full of cheap, quick-fix solutions to the most expensive rooms in the house. As a future buyer I don’t know how happy I’d be with some of them. Cosmetic changes with high VOC paints, MDF, plastic laminates and DIY inexperience may not last well or be good for household health.

So let’s start this post by saying I’m not talking about a ‘make this look good for a quick sale’ sort of makeover. I’m talking about a renter or homeowner who can’t do a full renovation right now but wants something slightly less ugly to see every day.

Before changing tile frieze with vinyl tiles

After changing tile frieze with vinyl tiles

Here’s a few reasons why a micro-budget bathroom makeover may be worth doing.


The big one. It makes you feel better! Some people may love this heritage frieze but in our colourful home it didn’t fit. The bathroom silicon was old and mouldy. The paint was peeling off the ceiling. And beige floor tiles, beige shower/bath surrounds and beige walls made the room REALLY BORING. Changing the feel of a space we use multiple times a day could wait until we had the energy/money to do it properly. Or a mini facelift could happen now and remove some daily irritations.


The main ingredient in this refurb was removable vinyl tiles that cover existing tiles (2 different styles from Bleucoin on Etsy). Scary thought I know but they were super easy to use and are supposed to be water/heat resistant, durable, and easily removable without residue or damage. We’ll see how that goes over time but there are plenty of temporary wallpapers, decals and stick on ingredients available. Just make sure you check the reviews and customer feedback for your supplier.

If you don’t want to spend much on a house you don’t own, or live in spaces you hate, small cosmetic changes are magic. Just remove them when you leave.

After changing tile frieze with vinyl tiles

Quick, temporary bathroom makeover with paint and stick on tiles

After changing tile frieze with vinyl tiles


With decor trends and resale value emphasised on every renovation show, home owners are getting very nervous about colour and pattern. Whatever you choose is bound to go out of date when the in-crowd moves on to the next look.

But if you’re not spending a lot of money or making major changes it’s easier to experiment. Try specialty paint effects. Try unusual tiles. Try crazy accessories. Add a bit of YOU to your home rather than living with bland for future home buyers.

A room you use every day doesn’t have to win design awards. But it helps if it lifts you up rather than getting you down.


I did think twice about vinyl stickers. They’ll eventually be plastic landfill which we’re trying to reduce. But replacing a basically sound bathroom fitout is also a waste. I don’t love anything in this room so it would all go if we did a proper update – shower stall, tiles, bath, vanity, ceiling fan, light and hardware.

In contrast, new silicon, fresh wall paint, a secondhand mirror, and skipping a renovation or two until everything wears out seems less wasteful.

What do you think – game for a sticky quickie?

Update one year later…

The stick-on tiles still look good!

We only covered the frieze so we didn’t have many hardwearing surfaces to deal with. The frieze does run around the inside of the shower though and is covered in water every day. I’m assuming these won’t stick as long as everywhere else but so far they’re holding up well. We don’t use harsh bathroom cleaners which probably helps.

We had one vinyl tile fall off behind the towel rail (because other members of the family jam a whole towel in the gap!) but it was stuck back up and hasn’t moved again. I kept a lot of spares in case a few fell off but we haven’t needed them. If you’re careful with preparation and cleaning it looks like removable vinyl tiles will stick around for a while.

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