Before & After: Revamping the Kitchen Floor

This weekend was spent making over our kitchen floor, which as you can see, started off pretty grim when we moved in a little over a month ago. The old floor tile felt dirty on our feet and no matter how many times we mopped it, it still remained a lovely shade of stained, yellow-ish blue. Not cute. We decided to shop around for affordable peel and stick, vinyl tiles in black and white. We were surprised when we found out both Home Depot and Lowe’s did not sell simple black and white, vinyl stick-on tiles. I called several tile distributors in the area and got a lot of “Ha, are you serious? I haven’t seen a checkerboard floor since the 80’s” responses. Uhh, obviously these people don’t browse Pinterest on a regular basis.

I ended up finding a wholesale tile distributor in New Jersey called Mazer Wholesale, where they sell packs of 20 white or black tiles for $7/piece with a 5-year warranty. Yes, please! We were able to give our floors a new look for under $100 in just one weekend, so I think it was definitely worth it. The tiles arrived just two days after my order was placed, so I couldn’t have been more happy with the shopping experience. Plus, the owner even posted a black & white checkerboard tutorial video on YouTube explaining how to install the tiles easily. I have a feeling we’ll be ordering more tiles from them to give our bathrooms a quick floor fix as well.

Anyway, back to the old floors! This is what our kitchen looked like when we had our initial walk through of the home.

Here’s how the floors look now, with our bright blue walls and IKEA storage area. I really like peeking out to our other rooms and seeing the transition of colors. I definitely think the downstairs feels a lot more like “us” now. I am excited to do the same to our upstairs, which for the most part, hasn’t been touched since we moved in (eep!).

The first thing we did was decide how we wanted to install the tiles on our floor. We were trying to figure out if we wanted to lay them diagonally or straight. We ended up choosing the diagonal route (left), which took a lot longer than it would have if we were working with straight lines, but I think it makes the room look wider. We began laying the tiles from the front, righthand corner and placed all of the whole tiles.

Once we finished sticking all of the whole pieces to the floor, we had to start cutting out patterns to place the pieces which were touching the walls. It was incredibly difficult to cut pieces around vents, quarter round and door frames, but with some patience were were able to knock it out by Sunday afternoon. We both definitely had our fair share of dramatically flopping on the floor out of pure exhaustion and having sticky finger syndrome for 48 hours, but it wasn’t anything Goo Gone couldn’t help fix.

Our vents were the most frightening shade of brown I had ever seen (sorry for the lack of a “before” photo), so I sprayed them with black RustOleum. It’s surprising how much of a difference the black vents make in the room—everything looks a lot more clean and polished now.

Here’s a view from our dining room, where you can see one example of the flashing (is that what it’s called?) in the doorway, which Pete replaced throughout the kitchen and mudroom.

I really like the retro vibe of the kitchen and although it still needs some TLC (painting the door white, touching up the white in the mudroom, hanging airy curtains), I think it suits our personalities perfectly. Speaking of personalities, I am so happy that I am spending my life with this boyfriend of mine. We went through crazy mood swings together during these two days, which consisted of excited-exhausted-delirious-hot-and-bothered-starving-hopeful-proud-and-smelly. There’s nothing I enjoy more than singing songs together and inserting the words “Betty White” or “schloops.” We are both absolutely nutty and I couldn’t be more ecstatic to share our quirkiness together.

That being said, I felt awful that Pete has to tolerate my obsessive, perfectionist tendencies. I’m a crazy person and insisted that we have the tiles line up perfectly where the kitchen meets the mudroom. Luckily for the ginger, I assigned myself to a large majority of the painfully difficult tiles, which resulted in a lot of grunting, throwing parchment paper pattern balls and occasional swearing on my part. The worst was trying to place tiles underneath the incredibly heavy oven, which cannot be moved out of the way due to its awkward placement. Runner up for the worst was trying to get tiles behind the fridge without cracking the tiles we had already placed in front of it.

Here’s a view of our mudroom, which now has brand spanking new cove moulding at the bottom. This is one of the many rooms on our neverending to-do list which needs major lovin’. The creepy door leading to nowhere looks like someone from a horror movie clawed at the trim for days. I definitely need to sand the window and door frames and give everything a nice coat of white paint, not to mention toss the previous owner’s little tree car freshener. Baby steps.

All in all, I think this is one of those budget-friendly projects which can really makeover the entire look of a room in just a day or two. Plus, we’ve come pretty darn close to resembling the inspiration photo I “pinned” on Pinterest (one of my new favorite websites!) a while back:

Has anyone else ever tackled a quick, affordable, DIY floor makeover? If so, how did it go (comment with photos if you have them!)?


41 thoughts on “Before & After: Revamping the Kitchen Floor”

  1. Holy. Crap. It’s beautiful.

    BEAUTIFUL!! You guys did such an awesome job, I’m so impressed by how gorgeous everything looks. Also, I think it’s hilarious that you change song lyrics to include Betty White’s name…haha we do that with our dogs too!

    You guys are seriously an inspiration. I need to step up my game!


    1. Ahh, I love that other people sing songs with their dog’s name as the lyrics..we thought we were the only ones! ha

      Thanks for your kind words, you are just as fabulous!


  2. I love love love it and I’m totally inspired. I have horrible memories of being a child and having to clean black and white checked peel and stick tile in my parent’s house…let us know how it is to clean!


    1. Thank you! So far the tiles have stayed very clean luckily. The only thing at first was a lot of the excess sticky stuff from the back had gotten on the fronts from our fingers, so we just cleaned them all with some Goo Gone. Since then they haven’t gotten very dirty and it’s a lot easier to see crumbs on the floor now 🙂


    1. I bet you could! It looks a lot better in our teensy mudroom, so I’m sure it would look great in a small kitchen. I definitely want to try it in our downstairs bathroom as well, which is teensy.


  3. Wow, I’m impressed! We replaced our floor a few years back with one of those floating, interlocking floors. It was not easy (thank you, house built in 1947 with no right-angles to be found!), but the end result was great. Unfortunately, I was not blogging back then and therefore I have no pictures to share…booo!


  4. Thank you to everyone for all the words of encouragement. Shannon did most of the hard work…I get distracted easily and start Googling Gilbert Grape Videos…Match in the gas tank…


  5. Holy kazoli!!! That is an amazing transformation. You should be really proud. ESPECIALLY considering how m-fing hot it was this weekend.


  6. I wanted to thank you for this blog post. I see that you already found it through the pingback, but my wife and I basically copied what you did in our own kitchen, and we’re really happy with the results. Here’s the link:

    My wife stumbled upon your blog a while back, and I’m glad she did. We were going to pay a contractor a lot of money to redo our kitchen floor, but this post convinced us that we could do it ourselves. Kudos.


  7. Love the revamp! That blue with the black and white is a real knock out. My wife and I have been thinking about doing floors like these to cover up the ugly vinyl floors for now… and then save up and possibly put something else later on down the line. (Thanks for the Mazer link btw… great price!) Looks like it’s been over a year and half now, and I’m curious how the tiles stood up to kitchen use so far?


    1. Hi Kevin! The tiles are still in great shape! We are really happy with how they came out and you really can’t beat the price. Thanks so much for your comment, good luck with it!


      1. Hello! I was excited to find your blog as I am also desiring to do a (budget friendly) diagonal checkerboard floor in my kitchen. Are these twelve inch tiles? Do they give off a high shine?


      2. Hi Kristin! Sorry for my slow response, your message was sent to my spam inbox. To answer your questions, yes, the tiles are 12 inches and they are also glossy. I don’t know if I’d consider it a high shine, but they are definitely not matte. Good luck, I think they are a great option for a budget friendly checkerboard kitchen!


  8. I know I am a little late to the game but I am so glad I found this! These are the exact colors I am doing my kitchen and I was wondering how it would look with the wood and everything else. I was also having trouble finding tiles, I just ordered them from the place you linked to! Thank you so much for posting this! I cant wait to see my finished product!!!!


  9. Hi!! LOVE LOVE LOVE your new kitchen and you have inspired to revamp my kitchen in my apartment. I already have the black and white tiles, thank you late 70’s, and was looking for kitchen ideas based on the tiles. When I saw yours I immediately fell in love! Would you mind telling me what color paint you used for the walls?

    I am in the process of refinishing my old yellow and brown kitchen tile to a clean white and would love to use the same cheery paint!

    Hope this finds you well and thanks for your help!!


  10. Hello! I love you floor makeover… it’s awesome! I’m curious do the tiles have a texture to them? or are the more of a flat black and white? I’ve seen a few peel and sticks in stores that have a lot of texture to them, I’m trying to decide if buying from the link you provided is a better option! Also do you do anything differently when you clean these? or do you sweep/mop just like a normal floor?


    1. Thanks Brittni!! The tiles have a very subtle texture to them, but nothing crazy. Just some line hair type textures to give it a bit of depth. I tend to sweep the floors and then use a wet Swiffer on them, but that’s just because we have dogs and it’s easier to get all the hair up. Thanks for reading!


  11. You can probably see from my pingback that I LOVE your kitchen. I have a few questions about the tiles – did you take up the previous linoleum before putting down your new tiles? Our linoleum is “bumpy” (there’s a photo on my post). My brother’s all “Oh you can just put tiles over that” but I’m not so sure. Also – how are the tiles holding up, now that it’s been a few years? Our kitchen is the main entryway to our house (nobody comes in through the front door!) so I wonder about durability.


    1. Thanks for the kitchen love! We were lazy and didn’t take the linoleum up because it didn’t really have any texture to it. I think with yours having the bumps it would be difficult to get a flat surface, so it might be worth pulling up and applying to the subfloor. The tiles are holding up great! We haven’t had any issues with them so far…but we have some spares to use if some need replacing. I’ve been impressed with their durability, especially since we have two dogs. I definitely recommend it for a semi-quick and affordable fix! We plan to redo the kitchen eventually, but this was an easy update for now.


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