How to Cover a Dated Frieze (+ How To Create One From Scratch)

What seems like a stylish and unique decor addition at one moment may not always stand the test of time. As a rule, those tend to be the details that age most poorly. Case in point: the kitchen and bathroom friezes haunting many a rental home with their dated and downright ugly designs.

That is not to say that all friezes, also known as border tiles, accent strips, or listellos, are ugly. There is huge potential for a frieze (pronounced freez) to add character and interest to a room. In fact, the Greeks and Romans originally conceived this architectural element as a way to embellish and even tell stories. Today, we recognize the classical friezes that remain as precious artifacts of history and ancient examples of beauty.

 

Source: Bricoleur du dimanche / Young House Love

Unfortunately, not all architects and interior designers of the mid- to late-20th century shared the same timeless interpretation of beauty as the Greeks and Romans. Perhaps that explains why so many of us have ended up, at one time or another, living in homes with appallingly tacky decorative wall accents. 

An ugly frieze can be a tricky element to hide. Rest assured, it can certainly be done! Read on to learn how easy it is to cover up your unsightly frieze using tile stickers and other DIY methods. As a bonus, this article will also show you how to create your own stylish, modern frieze from scratch—no tools or special materials necessary.

Covering a Smooth Tile Frieze? Use Tile Stickers

Some of the most common friezes people may want to cover are smooth tiles featuring a printed or hand-painted design. You might find them running along a kitchen backsplash or as a featured element of shower tile. 

Good news: this is the easiest type of frieze to cover up! Using vinyl tile stickers, you can quickly and easily update your old frieze with a brand new look. Peel-and-stick vinyl is both water-resistant and heat-resistant, making it an ideal material for use in areas where friezes are commonly found. With Quadrostyle stickers, there are several ways you can go about ordering tile stickers to mask a ceramic tile frieze.

Shower tile frieze updated with Quadrostyle Milano tile stickers, @houseofthehulses

 

NOTE: More often than not, smooth, ceramic tile friezes are rectangular and come in a standard subway tile size: 3 x 6 inches. The following suggestions are based on this measurement.

Method 1: Place a custom order

For a quick, hassle-free DIY project, contact Quadrostyle customer support. With the help of a customer service agent, you can order custom-sized tile stickers to fit your accent tiles perfectly. Choose a solid-color sticker or work with one of our designers to adapt your favorite Quadrostyle pattern into a rectangular format.

Customer Kimberly T. ordered these custom Mojave tile stickers to update her bathroom tile frieze.

Method 2: Order a sample pack of tile stickers & cut to size

If your frieze only covers a small area, the most cost-effective solution is to order a tile sticker sample bundle and cut each sticker in half. Each sample bundle comes with three stickers, so when you order one pack of 6-inch samples, you will have six subway tile-sized stickers for covering your frieze.

Method 3: Order a full pack of tile stickers & cut to size

If covering a large area, you can order a complete pack of 24 tile stickers and then cut each in half, resulting in a total of 48 rectangular stickers you can use to cover your frieze.

PRO TIP: With few exceptions, patterned Quadrostyle stickers are symmetrical. As a result, cutting them in half will result in two identical stickers. To prevent any pattern confusion, order solid colored tile stickers.

 

Before & after from customer @sweet_domicile, who used Quadrostyle solid color tile stickers to mask the dated floral frieze in her renter bathroom. 

Covering Textured or Mosaic Tiles? Use Bold-Patterned Wallpaper or Stair Riser Stickers

Textured friezes, especially mosaic tile friezes, are fairly common and more closely resemble the classical friezes of the Greeks and Romans. Unfortunately, such decorative accents require a bit more craftiness to cover. But where there is a will, there is a way!

The key to covering textured or mosaic tile surfaces is to choose a sticker with a bold pattern that will best disguise the relief of grout lines. For example, when covering a textured frieze around her bathtub, customer Rebecca S. chose Willow tile stickers, which features an ornate pattern that effectively masks the texture underneath.

 

 

Customer Rebecca S. used Quadrostyle Willow in Fonte Grey tile stickers to cover a textured bathroom frieze.

 

If you're bothered by the relief or if your frieze is simply too textured to cover with stickers alone, check out our article on covering mosaic tile floors for alternate solutions and even more details about covering textured surfaces.

Paint Over Your Tile Frieze with Tile Paint

Don’t want a frieze at all? Say goodbye to your border tile for good with tile paint!

At first, this method might seem like a simple solution, but for a lasting impact, painting may be more of a pain than you'd expected.

In general, paint doesn’t stick well to glossy surfaces like those most commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens. So, to ensure it doesn’t end up peeling off within a year (or less), you’ll need to prep the tile thoroughly before painting.

First, use an abrasive cleanser to eliminate all traces of grease or calcium buildup. Next, use sandpaper to scour the surface of the tile. This action helps the paint to adhere to the tile surface.

Once the surface is cleaned and scuffed, apply a coat of primer, then two coats of your chosen tile paint. Note: The primer and paint you use should be specifically intended for tile surfaces.

Create a Frieze Using Stair Riser Strips

We’ve covered how you can use Quadrostyle stickers to update dated and ugly friezes, but did you know that Quadrostyle stickers can just as easily be used to create a frieze from scratch?

If you’ve got frieze fever and are looking for an easy way to incorporate this dynamic design element to one of your rooms, use Quadrostyle stair riser strips! These sticker strips come in long horizontal panels, making for easy installation—no trimming necessary.

Frieze made with Shaman Stair Riser Stickers, @winging.it.vanlife

 

To make sure you install the frieze evenly, use a level and draw a plumb line to guide you as you install each stair riser panel side-by-side along the wall.

Looking for more DIY decor ideas? The Quadrostyle Blog is chock full of em’! Browse all of our articles for renovation inspiration, style updates, and installation tips.

 

 


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