Before & After Renovations

(Finally) Fixed It: Truly Hideous Kitchen Floor Before and After

Move-in day; also an excellent approximation of my feelings about my kitchen floor

I hate my kitchen floor. I have hated it from the moment I moved in, when it consisted of paint-splattered linoleum in a shade that could generously be called “vomit.” I hated it after I tried to fix it by covering the linoleum with peel-and-stick tiles, which – as it turns out – reallllly aren’t the best choice for this large or well-trafficked of a space.

do peel and stick tiles work

They look alright here (mostly because they’re covered by a rug); trust, they were not

The tiles vexed me for many reasons, among them that it took me a freaking week to install them, at which point I realized that no, I am not very good at measuring and cutting, and resigned myself to corners that looked like this:

problems with peel and stick tile


But mostly, they vexed me because while they were pristine and white for, shall we say, 24 hours, at that point I discovered that they were both strangely porous and strangely difficult to clean. In order to remove the constantly-accumulating grey film from them, I had to physically crawl around on the floor on my hands and knees with a box of Magic Erasers. And then my kids and dog would appear, because they live here too, and all my work would evaporate in the amount of time it takes to say “Mom I need Cheezits.”

I’ve written extensively about how (and why) I have always improved the rentals I’ve lived in over the years. I went way too far with my last place, but that was because I was running on pure emotion: I’d just spent three years transforming our San Jose house into the actual house of my dreams, and the idea of going from a completely unique and personalized space into a largely featureless rental felt like the extra bit of misery on top that, at the time, I seriously did not need. But still: I did far too much to that house (lighting! outdoor lanterns! PALM TREES), especially considering that I only ended up living there for a year.

So. I was determined to have a much more measured approach to this house, which I am renting for an as-yet-undetermined period of time, upon which it will be torn down. The floor tile was the biggest and most expensive project I took on, so when it turned out that I hated it I thought…you know…live with it. Except oh my god, I hated it SO much. Even if I’m only here for another couple of years, those years will be spent theoretically not crawling around with Magic Erasers, and that is a good thing.

What I did was essentially find the cheapest possible vinyl “wood effect” flooring, and pick a color that (more or less) matches the flooring in the rest of the house – an exact match didn’t really matter, because I ended up installing little dividers where the two colors meet.

I thought about installing it myself.

Then I thought again, because I remembered this little incident.

The final result:

best inexpensive laminate wood look flooringbest inexpensive laminate wood look flooring

I adore it. It makes me happy every single time I open my bedroom door and walk out onto a floor that is not hideous.

And that, my friends, is worth the while.

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