Make This 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—but not where you'd 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 41.2 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 bathroom countertops, which were often covered in pastel tiles. But the idea has resurfaced, 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. Since the brand's smallest items start at more than $1,000, savvy DIYers (and makers like the Melbourne, Australia-based P0ly Designs) have 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. When properly sealed, the tiled surface proves more practical than wood or glass, 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 own choice of tile. Keep in mind that small-format tiles will be easier to work with, and if you're using unglazed tiles, properly seal them to make cleaning your table easier.

How to Make a 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 ($15, IKEA, works great for this, or you can opt to refresh old or thrifted furniture. Once you have the table, and depending on its size, the rest of the materials and tools will likely cost less than $100. Even better, 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 ($11, Amazon) to completely cover the top, sides, and legs of your table. To get the most accurate dimensions, measure the table when it's fully assembled. Cut the tile sheets according to your measurements.

Step 2: Apply tile adhesive.

Apply enough tile adhesive ($19, The Home Depot) to cover one section of the table at a time. Using the straight edge of a trowel ($15, The Home Depot), spread the adhesive so that it's evenly thick, then 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, while the adhesive is sticky, press the tiles onto the surfaces of the table, including the top, sides, and legs. Remove, as needed, any excess adhesive between the joints. Before grouting, let everything dry at least 24 hours.

Step 4: Apply grout.

Mix the grout you've chosen, following the manufacturer's instructions, then apply it across the tiled surface, working it into the gaps, with a grout float ($6, The Home Depot). Hold the float at an angle, and to be sure of even coverage, pass over the areas from both directions. Scrape off the excess grout and let it set for 15 to 30 minutes.

Step 5: Clean the tiled surface.

Dampen a sponge in a bucket of warm water and clean the grout residue, using a circular motion. To avoid streaks, rinse and wring out the sponge often. Then, to remove any grout haze, wipe off the surfaces with a clean, dry rag and let them dry completely.

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