Published on February 28, 2019

Does the following scenario sound familiar?

You spend months apartment hunting, eventually finding the space of your dreams that seemingly has everything: Natural light! A linen closet! Built-in shelving! Proximity to Trader Joe’s! Except… the bathroom is a dated, dingy nightmare. This one minor flaw can actually feel like quite a big one; most rental bathrooms aren’t large enough for a massive renovation, and when faced with strict landlords, even minor updates can be out of the question. But before you pass over your dream home, read this. We recently featured blogger Sara Toufali’s house, and her stunning bathroom gives us hope for our own rentals. It’s all down to one secret weapon: peel-and-stick tiling.

A permanent-looking solution to a temporary space, tile stickers instantly elevate any bathroom. They’re easy to DIY, relatively inexpensive, and—best of all—equally easy to get rid of should you change your mind or decide to move. Peel and stick tiles are also a great fix for rental kitchens, where they can be used to fake a backsplash. They’re essentially the holy grail of rental hacks.

Before diving into the best of peel-and-stick tiling on the market, we tapped Toufali to share her expertise on perfecting this DIY.

Over-plan. “You need to be absolutely precise in your tile measurements before ordering stickers. I thought I had been, but I was less than a centimeter off, so my stickers don’t completely cover the tiles underneath. Also, order extra stickers so that if you make any mistakes cutting, you’ll have backups.”

Prep the area. “Wash your tiles and let them dry fully before applying the stickers. Then, set aside a good amount of time to devote to the application process. Don’t rush!”

Commit to not committing. “Look for brands that will send samples so you can see how the stickers will look in real life before spending money on a big batch. If you’re ordering custom sizes, you most likely won’t be able to return them, so you want to make sure the stickers are exactly right for your space.”

Quality check. “Make sure the decals are high-quality vinyl so that they won’t look fake or cheap. I love my stickers because they look textured and subtly shaded in different places, mimicking real tiles.”

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Photography by Sara Toufali

Toufali chose a Bleucoin peel-and-stick tile called Plain in the “Como” colorway; the slightly nuanced tone makes the stickers look convincingly real. If you’re looking for a bit more pattern, we tracked down some of our favorite peel-and-stick tiling. Here are the ones that’ll take your rental bathroom to the next level—security deposit return guaranteed.

Named for the city that arguably holds the world’s most famous tiles, Porto is an Azulejo-inspired print that’ll bring a bit of old-school character to your bathroom. Set the blue pattern against sunny yellow accents, like a ceramic toothbrush holder or plush towels, for a space that feels quintessentially European.

These black-and-white tile stickers are handmade and they definitely look it. Slight fading creates a custom look, and while these are actually made from vinyl, the detailing makes them look like ceramic.

For a classic touch, you can’t go wrong with marble. If you’re after a bathroom that oozes understated elegance, adding this peel-and-stick option will do the trick. Each little hexagon is meant to mimic the look of Carrara marble.

Blue and white is a timeless color combo that works in pretty much every space. In your bathroom, adhere this Italian-inspired pattern to the wall around your tub for a vignette that’ll look like it came from a chic little bed and breakfast in Puglia.

Here’s another blue-and-white print we love (if it ain’t broke…). This one is great for anyone bemoaning the contemporary qualities of their rental. It comes with built-in aged detailing, featuring painted-on “chips” that add to the sticker’s rustic quality. This particular pattern also works great as a kitchen backsplash.

If you’re craving something more modern, opt for this fun starburst print. The deep teal is on-trend right now, and the bold pattern is great for more maximalist decorators.

See more ways to update your rental:
The Super Easy Rental Hack You Haven’t Heard Of
How to Fake a Backsplash in a Rental
Found: The Easiest Way to Bring Charm to Your Rental

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