How to paint tile.

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painting tile 

 You might be wondering why I ever got the idea that painting tile might be a good idea. Well…The top is my bathroom at it’s absolute best. About 2 weeks ago.  I have been working at remodeling it…on a serious budget.  And when I say serious, I mean, almost nothing.

Bathrooms are gross and stinky.  No matter how much you clean them, they just never seem to be all that pretty and clean.  At least when you have kids.  And just eat away at the cash when you try to give them a makeover.  They need all sorts of special sized containers and shelves, as well as special paints and such.  Geez.

But, we found some ways to freshen and revive this bathroom for cheap!  And when I say cheap…cheap!!

Okay, first up for me was the tile.  It was in great shape and it seemed foolish to pull it down and put up new.  But…I really, really, didn’t like it.  It just wasn’t jiving with what I wanted to see while sitting on the pot.

So..I painted it.
Yes, it worked.
Yes, it was easy.
Yes, it was cheap.
About $25.00! And not even really that because I used the same white paint I used for the sink (which you can see if you click HERE)…

painting tile

Here is a before. The tile is a beigey color…generic.
And frankly, a bit dirty looking.

painted tile

I painted it white white.
And added a border of charcoal on the top 2 rows.

I used the same tile paint to also paint the sink and it worked fantastic! What a great difference! You can head over HERE to see the finished room.

Here are the paints I  used… Rust-Oleum 7860519 Tub And Tile Refinishing 2-Part Kit, White (their special tub and tile 2-part version) and Martha Stewart. ,multi-purpose craft paint in charcoal.


That refinishing paint is stinky!  And has a time limit that is has to be used within.  But man…it works!

I used a basic craft paint for those top 2 rows.  I plan to throw a coat of clear sealer on top of it.  But I also bought several extra containers for touch-ups.  This tile is so low-traffic that I can’t imagine it will need a lot of touch-ups.  So far…it’s holding up ridiculously well!!  I’ll keep you updated though!

Update: 3 years later and this paint is still holding up great! There is a bit of peeling around the sink faucet that I believe I would have avoided if I had removed it to paint rather than simply taping. The tiles have held up absolutely brilliantly!


Pretty darn impressive…right!!
A difference is made already just from painting tile!

Not bad…not bad at all!

Update: to see the finished bathroom remodel click HERE. It’s way cool!

If you like this post, you might also like:

create a lathe floor
paint a sink
upgrade an ugly door.


Nellie is the founder of NellieBellie, and takes basically every photograph you've ever seen on this site. She also runs our web design business, the Savvy Sites Administration.


  1. Danielle @ So Munch Love

    September 4, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Love this! I never thought of painting over tile, but now I’m REALLY wanting to. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Nellie

      September 8, 2015 at 7:44 am

      It’s so much easier than you would think! And what an inexpensive way to get a new look1

  2. Cindy

    February 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Love your ideas! So it’s been over 18 months now. How is it all holding up? How about cleaning it? I saw on the sink thing that you clean it as you normally do, but what do you normally do? Specifically?

    I am seriously considering trying this. I have a 70s bathroom that is the pits. It is that awful brownish yellow mustardy thing and the floor is tiled with it as well as the walls and the tub and the toilet. It looks like a mustard factory vomited all over it.

    I simply cannot afford to replace all of that, but painting it… that’s an idea. Since my toilet is basically the same kind of stuff as the tile, I’m betting I could do that too.

    I just want to make sure that all my efforts won’t disappear in a year. This needs to last for a good long while.

    You did a GREAT job!

    • miznelliebellie

      February 16, 2014 at 8:27 am

      It’s holding up well! One thing I didn’t do that I should have is remove the faucet and then paint. The paint is peeling from around the faucet because it didn’t adhere properly. I’m sure if I had removed the faucet first it wouldn’t be doing that.

      I would do it again, for sure!

  3. ROBIN

    July 12, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Great idea! We’d love to do this in our Cafe, but where’d you find this paint? Home Depot and the Rustoleum site only show the tub & tile kits.

    • miznelliebellie

      July 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      mine came from Menards. Do you mean the white paint or the gray? The gray is just all-purpose craft paint from Martha Stewart.

  4. Heather Luckhurst

    September 25, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Great transformation Janel! I love that color of paint you used for the top two rows of tile!

    • miznelliebellie

      September 25, 2012 at 9:23 am

      thanks Heather!!! It worked great!

  5. willy

    August 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Wow! you mean I can do away with the old green tlle I have! what about the tile floor to. This is my main bathroom so gets used everyday. What about my old porcelan tub. Would it hold up or that and the tile that is on the wall around the tub? If so I thank you for this!

  6. Holly Lefevre

    July 29, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Brilliant and impressive! You go girl. I am hiring you next time!

  7. Daniela @frugal ain't cheap

    July 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I painted pink tiles in our bathroom 6 years ago. yes, PINK! I used 1-2-3 primer and then 2 coats of latex paint! still going strong!!!!! way to go! I didn’t know about the specialty paint…good to know for future reference!

  8. Gwen

    July 24, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Looks great! I need to paint the grout on our tile floors or something. It’s AWFUL!

    • Janel

      July 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

      did you just comment on all these posts in one shot. You are an overachiever! Thanks!

  9. Erin

    July 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Well done! I’m dying to paint the tile in my bathroom, but I’ve been unsure about the whole idea. Yours looks fabulous! Great choice to do the charcoal border.

    • Janel

      July 24, 2012 at 7:32 am

      Thank you Erin!! This is year 7 of us living here and I finally gathered up the kahunas to paint it. Finally it came down to taking them down and replacing or figuring out how to make it work. So, it didn’t seem to do harm to try it. That charcoal border gives it a bit of oomph doesn’t it! Have a great week!

  10. Bella

    July 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Wow…the colors are GREAT!! And only $25?! Oh how I wish I knew about this years ago when I was living with pink and mauve bathroom tiles!

  11. Barb Sledge

    July 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I painted mine over 5 years ago with Zinnseer fast prime 2 and then a good paint over that, and it still looks easy and cheap to do…I love how you painted yours!! Looks geat!

  12. amy Renea

    July 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    It looks FABulous! The grey border is brilliant!

  13. Bliss

    July 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I am impressed!


  14. cassie

    July 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    WOW! how cool is that! love he stripe!

  15. Niki

    July 22, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I love it. I have a new love for painting tile. We have a fireplace that had minature subway tile painted over our house is over 100 years old) and I couldn’t figure out why anyone would paint such a tile, but after heat gunning the paint off, I realized why it was pretty damaged and worn. So I repainted it black and it looks wonderful!

  16. Jen @ Four Marrs & One Venus

    July 22, 2012 at 10:08 am

    First I think your Colors you picked are beyond outta this world!! It looks super duper trooper Fresh! Can’t wait to see more!!!! Good Work!

  17. Carri Wright

    July 22, 2012 at 10:07 am

    This looks so good… wondering if I could use it on the tile in the shower ?? Or am I pushing it ? LOL I’d sure love to re-tile the shower but can’t afford it.. I’ll have to check out that paint.. Your bathroom looks great..


  18. Holly

    July 22, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Looks great! I’ve heard you could do this but never saw it done before. Great job.

  19. Jessica @ Mom 4 Real

    July 22, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Very pretty! Love the gray on white…so glad to know that tile can be painted too!


  20. Smallgood

    July 22, 2012 at 8:13 am

    What? Get out! Okay, I will no longer be put off by crazy colored bathroom tile in older homes. Janel told me I could paint it. Your bathroom looks lovely.

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