Friday, February 8, 2013

Redecorating 2013 - How to update laminate countertops

My house has the most hideous counter tops you have seen...No, seriously...they're really awful.  I don't even know why they make laminate in this color.  When we first moved in, I toyed with a lot of ideas about how I could disguise them - unattached ceramic tiles , paint, just never walking into the kitchen...and finally found the idea of using Contact Paper.  It was 3 years ago, so I have no idea where I found the idea, but I'm sure it was the result of a Google search.

Since then, I have had to redo them about once a year.  It costs less than $10 and takes about 2 hours - not bad!  This year, I had to redo the whole thing (usually I just do the flat surfaces, and leave the back splash) because they discontinued the color I was using.  So you get to see the process from start to finish.  First, a few before pictures...

Why?  Just Why?

This side is even worse because of the matching back splash...

So for this project I needed contact paper, scissors, a utility knife and something to smooth out the paper.  I use my Pampered Chef Handy Scraper because of the rubber edge, but a piece of stiff cardboard will do the same thing.

First, cut the Contact paper into pieces that are big enough to cover from the back over the front edge of the counter top with plenty of extra (1-2").  Then, starting on one end, peel off the backing and lay the first sheet as straight as possible.  If the end of the counter is exposed, make sure you can cover that edge as well.  It's a big piece of paper to work with, so I only peel off 6-8" of the backing paper so that it doesn't get stuck together.  Use your scraper (or cardboard) to press it into place and remove any bubbles.  Start from the middle and work towards the edges.

Slowly peel off the backing paper as you press the paper into place, until the whole sheet is stuck down and bubble free.

Then take your *sharp* utility knife and trim along the edges.  Be careful so you don't cut off areas you wanted to cover.  On the corners, you will need to cut along the edges so you can overlap the pieces.

Then go on to the next piece.  You will want to lay it carefully, and may need to re-position it a couple of times to get it right.  You'll want a small overlap, probably less than 1/4".  Then continue as you did with the first one until the whole section is covered.

Take extra care around the sink to make sure it fits well.  I also do extra overlap because of the extra water that always seems to be on the counter.  I don't have many problems with it peeling, but just be extra careful.

So much better looking once its done!

Contact paper will hold up with light to medium use.  Always use cutting boards as it can be cut easily, even with dull knives.  I find that the surface holds up for about a year (I usually replace it after canning season, which is when it gets the most damaged - I was a little behind this year!)  This is only the second time I've done the back splash (It lasted 3 years), and if I hadn't been changing colors I wouldn't have changed easily could have lasted a few more years.

Total cost of project

Contact Paper (2 rolls)                        $12
Tools                                                  Already had

Total                                                   $12

Comment and let me know what you think and also let me know if you try this for yourself!

Grace and love,


  1. I am about to rent a new apartment but hate the counters. If I do this would I be able to peel off with no damage when I move out? Could you let me know at I appreciate your response!

    1. The contact paper will probably leave a little bit of sticky residue that you need to scrub off...I have no idea how hard it will be to remove, because I always take the paper off and recover it :/ But I did notice it being a little sticky. Hope that helps!

  2. Countertops are a standout component of any kitchen…for better or worse. Some people are lucky enough to mince garlic atop custom countertops that match the style of their dreams; others may chop leafy greens on unsightly surfaces straight from the 80s (or worse). quartz countertops

  3. I saw this many years ago and thought it was an amazing idea, but never got around to doing it in my kitchen. The one thing that was added to this method when I saw it was several coats of poly. I wonder though if it would hold up better, longer. Is it more scratch proof or not. Love the results of your countertops. Really nice. Mine were the same type only Home Depot 80's orange. shudder

  4. Hand sanitizer well help remove the sticky residue more easily

  5. Goo b gone gets rid of the stickies