Adding Some Character with a Bead Board Backsplash

We started this project a few weeks ago, thinking it would be done in one weekend. Sadly, that got drawn out 3 more weeks. But finally we’re done (for now)! It’s the most recent step in several little changes in our kitchen since we purchased our house in September 2012.

If you remember, here is what the kitchen looked like right after we moved in:



Not a fan of those pink counter tops, brown walls, and you know I didn’t like that back splash! I knew it was going to get ripped out and replaced, but didn’t know when or with what.

The next thing we did was paint our counter tops after discovering $20 counter top paint at Home Depot. Aesthetically, it’s the best $20 we’ve ever spent. Functionally, it’s not the greatest (it chips a little and can’t have hot things on it) but considering the alternative was either pink counter tops or shelling out thousands on a solid surface counter, I’m very happy with it! Here is the kitchen after that step:



As you can see, the kitchen was still having a bit of an identity crisis in regards to what color the walls would be. For some reason I was having a terrible time deciding what color to use!

After the countertop change, I didn’t have to worry about the color working with pink anymore (but really, what color does work with pink?) so it opened up a new range of color options. Calder said he wanted yellow, so we went for it. Here it is after that step:



And now on to the bead board! First thing we had to do was get rid of the blue tile. Calder got a new tool that is like a little oscillating blade and it has various types of blades you can use. It worked really well not only for this step, but for notching out the bead board pieces when we had to work around outlets and the window (since we don’t have a table saw or anything like that).



How do you like our little pseudo-workshop set up in our kitchen? Gotta do what you gotta do! Next we covered the hole with some cement board by drilling it to the studs.


And you may have noticed the boards changed from natural to white. That’s because I primed them with some white Kilz before installing. I waited to paint until they were fully installed and we had caulked. I’m not sure I would do it that way again or not. After we had installed it all (using construction adhesive and tongue-and-groove pieces that attached to each other) there were some slight gaps because our walls aren’t perfectly straight. That’s what happens when your house is 100 years old I guess. Anyway, I only filled the biggest gaps with caulk thinking that the paint would take care of the rest. Well it took about 4 applications of paint to those gaps to fill them. That is why this project took so long to finish! I painted the whole thing once with a semi-gloss white. I believe it’s called muslin white by Glidden but I don’t have it in front of me, so not sure. If anyone is particularly interested in what color let me know and I’ll double check for you! Anyway, then I went through and filled the gaps 3 times, 4 for some that weren’t wanting to fill, and then did one more whole coat so the sheen would be the same throughout.

And now here we are, in natural light (first picture is before the counter tops were reloaded):





And with our lights on:





We couldn’t be happier with it! We both agree that it really brightens up the space and adds a lot of character and texture. We also changed out the switches and outlets from black to white, and I painted the underside of the cabinet over the sink white as well which really helped make it look cleaner. This was relatively affordable too! We were able to complete the whole thing for about $250ish (not including the tool but including the outlets/switches) where as a tile back splash could have easily been double that for basic white subway tile (or more for a fancier option).



Above the sink, I want to hang a colorful framed print by one of my favorite artists, Katie Daisy. Also, you can see that we took the bead board to the ceiling around the window, but not above the cabinets. That’s because we plan to add a valance over the cabinets to take them to the ceiling and eliminate that dust-catching worthless area above them and add some trim or crown molding where they meet the ceiling. We will add the same trim at the ceiling where the bead board currently touches it as well to hide any unevenness that is visible as of now. However, we are kitchen-projected (yes I just made up that term) out at the moment so we probably won’t do this for a few months. Besides, we have plans to do some landscaping in the front of our house with the help of my beloved in-laws! And some more progress in the bedroom is happening soon, as well as organizing the 2nd bedroom before one of my besties comes to visit in a month or so (hello Container Store!!).

Good news about that is there should hopefully be some more frequent posts on here! Much farther down the road holds the possibility of Calder building new door and drawers fronts for our kitchen, adding hardware, and MAYBE getting new counter tops. We will see! For now, we’re having fun changing one thing at a time 🙂 I hope you like the upgrade as much as we do!


4 thoughts on “Adding Some Character with a Bead Board Backsplash

  1. How long have you had the bead board installed? Do you have any problems with it? Is it holding up well? I have a customer that thinks she wants to do this but she is concerned about maintenance. I saw your post and decided i would ask your advice instead of just giving her my opinion. It’s always better to obtain feedback from someone that has used a product. Thanks. And it looks great!

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment! We actually have only had it installed and finished for less than a week, so I can’t yet comment on the maintenance. I will say that it is painted with a semi-gloss paint which makes it wipeable. I also primed it with Kilz to prevent any bacteria growth. And I have seen it installed in many many kitchens and in design magazines, so I can’t imagine it would be terrible. As of now, I would definitely recommend it as an inexpensive way to add timeless character to your kitchen!

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