I have been waiting for this moment for months. If you’ve been following along, Frankie and I rented our new apartment sight unseen. All I got sent to me by the leasing agent were shady photos of a mockup of what the apartment should look like once the renovation was finished. So, on the bright side, it was not only going to be new to us, it was going to be new-ish–new floors, new paint, new appliances, new cabinets, new faucets, new hardware. The only problem I saw was that it was my 2016 dream. And it’s not 2016 anymore.
This may be an unpopular opinion but, I’m just over the all white kitchens and the gray vinyl plank floors. There was a time when it was all I was pinning and all I wanted. In fact, when I moved from Michigan to South Carolina 6 years ago, I dabbled with the idea of painting every single cabinet white and tearing the floors up from a dark laminate to a color similar to the one I have now. But, my style is ever-changing, as am I. I knew I wanted a Parisian vibe for this apartment, particularly for the kitchen. I’d been talking about it to Frankie for months and sourcing different pieces. And then I stumbled upon this flooring and I just knew. I had to have it.
We started playing with the layout of the floor as soon as we moved in by laying the tiles on the ground (with the paper backing still attached) to see how we wanted to start. Typically, with tile you want to start from the center of the room. However, because of the “L” shape of the kitchen, starting at the true center made the entryway tiles look off balance. We decided to lay the tiles out starting at the entryway and it ended up working out and looking perfect from every angle. I chose the entryway as a starting point because that’s the second most typical start, and for us it made sense, since it’s the most photographed area of our home.
All we did to start was sweep twice (you want to make sure every single crumb and fluff and hair is off the ground), mopped, and used alcohol wipes to make sure the surface was prepped the best it could be. We let the floor completely dry and then got to work. We laid all the tiles down that we could lay down in full without making any cuts. To do this, we followed the instructions that came with the tiles. Ours were very simple and pretty self-explanatory–peel off the paper backing, lay on a clean, dry surface. We didn’t need to prime the floor or add any extra adhesive. I may have done so if these were meant to be permanent, but they’re not.
Then, the challenges came. We had no idea what we were doing for making cuts until we found this video. It seems to be a bit easier for planks and square tile (wait, Kyla…aren’t your tiles square?) Yes, but they’re laid in a diamond shape, so all of the square rules go out the window. I took photos of this method and will do my best to explain, but if you’re still lost, the video was super helpful!
We finished making all of our cuts, placing the tiles, caulking around the perimeter (and any imperfections), et voilà!
The most frequently asked questions:
Is it worth it to do peel and stick flooring in an apartment?
One thousand times, yes. We live in an apartment and I think you should love where you live. I think you should be thrilled to open your door when you get home and if a quick, inexpensive project will make your heart skip a beat, yes. For me, it’s no different than painting or switching out a light fixture. It’s temporary and you can even save it for your next place if you treat it well!
Do you have to remove the floor if you move?
Yes. But like I said, we didn’t add any extra adhesive and we’re very confident we can take the flooring up without causing any damage to the original floors.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
The cutting. Oh my lord, the cutting. I told Frankie that any flooring we do moving forward, including real wood flooring or ceramic tile will be a piece of cake. Not only was this our first time doing it, but the instructions it came with shows you how to lay it in a step pattern and cut square tiles. And like I said, we decided to lay them diagonally so we were just winging it. That being said, laying down the full tiles and making sure they matched up was the easy part. Coming up with the template, measuring, and cutting to the exact measurement was a bit of a challenge. Don’t let that discourage you, though. Once you get the hang of it, it’s fun…and very rewarding!
How long did it take you to do?
About 25 hours between Frankie and I for the entryway and the kitchen. That is including prep and caulking. And just remember, this was our first time. I’m confident the next time we do flooring it’ll be much quicker since we have a feel for it now.
How did you pick out the flooring?
I don’t make any design decisions unless I have to have it. If I can live without it, it’s a no from me dawg. Find something that speaks to you and run with it! I knew exactly what I was looking for (in my head) and searched and searched and found this.
Is my room too small to do something like this in?
Never! The smallest rooms + the most unexpected = the greatest result. I love a dark, moody, busy room–especially powder rooms! Whatever you want to do in whatever room you want to do it in. I say this all the time…your home should feel like you. It should feel authentic to who you are, not like a Pottery Barn catalog. It should be a collection of what you love. Go wild. It is always worth it.