How to Make a Trendy DIY Tile Table for Less Than $100

These popular surfaces put a modern twist on a retro material.

Retro tile designs are having a moment right now—but not where you might expect. The durable material has moved from kitchens and bathrooms into living areas and bedrooms as tiled tables take over social media. On TikTok, #tiletable has 8.3 million views and counting, and Instagram is flooded with consoles and side tables covered in monochromatic square tiles.

tiled table with books and plant
Jacqui Turk/Courtesy of P0ly Designs

The designs are reminiscent of tiled countertops and bathrooms you might recall that were often covered in pastel tiles, but the idea once again surfaced thanks to Danish furniture company Ikon København, which was founded in 2016 by sisters Amalie and Sarah Thorgaard. Their designs, which include cube side tables and rectangular consoles, feature minimalist shapes covered top to bottom in neutral or pastel-colored square tiles. But as the brand's smallest items start at more than $1,000, savvy DIYers (and makers like the Melbourne, Australia-based P0ly Designs) quickly learned how to recreate the look at a fraction of the price.

A modern twist on a classic material, tiled tables bring an unexpected element to living rooms, bedrooms, home offices, and more. Plus, when properly sealed, the tiled surface proves more practical than wood or glass tables, resisting scratches, stains, and water marks (no coasters needed!). Most examples you'll see on social media use glazed ceramic or porcelain tiles because they're lightweight and inexpensive, but you can customize the design with your tile of choice. Keep in mind that small-format tiles will be easier to work with, and make sure unglazed tiles are properly sealed to make cleaning your table easier.

How to Make a DIY Tile Table

To make your own DIY tile table, you'll need a table with square edges, enough tile sheets to cover the entire surface, tile adhesive, and grout. An inexpensive option like IKEA's LACK side table ($10) works great for this, or you can opt to refresh old or thrifted furniture. Once you have the table, the rest of the materials and tools will likely cost less than $100, depending on the item's size, and you can easily complete this project in a weekend.

What You Need

  • Square or rectangular table
  • Square tile sheets
  • Tile adhesive
  • Square-notch trowel
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Bucket and water
  • Sponge
  • Rag

Step 1: Measure and cut tile sheets.

Purchase enough sheets of square tile ($10, Amazon) to completely cover the top, sides, and legs of the table. Be sure to measure the table when it's fully assembled for the most accurate dimensions. Cut the tile sheets according to your table's measurements.

Step 2: Apply tile adhesive.

Apply enough tile adhesive ($14, The Home Depot) to cover a section of the table at a time. Using the straight edge of a trowel ($11, The Home Depot), spread the adhesive to an even thickness. Comb over the adhesive with the trowel's notched edge to create ridges.

Step 3: Lay tiles and let dry.

Working one section at a time to ensure the adhesive is sticky, press the tiles onto the surface of the table, including the top, sides, and legs. Remove excess adhesive between the joints as needed. Let dry at least 24 hours before grouting.

Step 4: Apply grout.

Mix grout in your color of choice according to the manufacturer's instructions. Apply grout across the tiled surface using a grout float ($6, The Home Depot) to work it into the gaps. Hold the float at an angle and pass over areas from both directions to ensure even coverage. Scrape off excess and let set for 15-30 minutes.

Step 5: Clean the tiled surface.

Dampen a sponge in a bucket of warm water and clean grout residue on the surface of the tiles by rubbing in a circular motion. Rinse and wring out the sponge often to avoid streaks. Wipe with a clean, dry rag to remove any grout haze and let dry completely.

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