I’ve been a little obsessed with paint lately. I have been on the hunt for an aqua shelf for months. I looked online and at all of my favorite local retailers, but the only ones I could find were way out of my price range and just not the right shade of blue.

Then, I found a relatively inexpensive ladder shelf at City Mill and decided to make it my own. I got spray paint in the perfect shade, that was suitable for any material and that also doubled as a paint and primer in one. I spent an afternoon on the project and couldn’t be happier with the result.

It’s amazing to me how something as inexpensive and easy to use as paint can transform almost anything into something remarkable. The same goes for ceramic tiles.


While installation and removal can be costly, painting tile can completely freshen up a space for a relatively low cost. If you have ceramic tile that could use a face-lift, here’s how you can get started:

Assess the area

Try to avoid humid spots like bathtubs and showers. The moisture won’t work well with the paint. Countertops, walls and low-traffic floors work well.

Clean it thoroughly

First, repair any damaged tiles or grout, and then follow up with an abrasive but mild tile cleaner. Use baking soda and vinegar together for a homemade cleaning solution.


Rough it up

Using 1,800-grit sandpaper, remove the gloss from the tiles. This will help to prime the surface so that the paint sticks. Vacuum the debris and wipe the surface with a damp cloth when you are done.



Apply two coats of an epoxy primer. This will help to ensure the paint lasts, and it works well with almost any type of paint. Rough up the surface with sandpaper after the coats dry. Clean the debris and wipe with a damp cloth when done.


Apply several coats of semi-gloss or high-gloss paint, leaving time for drying in between coats. Wait two to three days, to ensure the paint dries thoroughly. Then, finish it off by sealing with a few coats of clear, water-based urethane.

Remember to treat the tile like other at-home projects. Protect the areas around the area of focus, and if you are uncomfortable at any time, consult a professional.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.