Redo your ugly, laminate countertops for under $10 with Contact Paper!

UPDATE – See an update over a year later and NEW, BETTER PICTURES HERE:

I have been renting ever since I moved out on my own. For me, it’s a better choice financially. The only problem with renting is the house isn’t really mine. I can decorate and add touches of my own style, but my landlord does not allow us to paint or make any permanent changes. I also do not want to put a lot of money into a house I’m only going to be living in for a few years and won’t make a return on my investment.

The house I live in was built in the 1950’s. It has some, well, some interesting features. I won’t get into all of those in this post though.

My kitchen countertop was one thing I really hated from day 1. When I looked at the house, the landlord was doing a little remodeling and he mentioned he might re-do the countertop and the kitchen sink. I was really happy because I hated that 1960’s bright tomato red cheap laminate it had on it. Not only was it just an ugly shade of red, but it just made the entire kitchen seem darker.

Redo your ugly, laminate countertops for under $10 with Contact Paper

The previous renter had a delay in moving out though so my landlord did not get to finish the kitchen updates. This meant I was stuck with the ugly countertop.  For over 3 years I have lived with this countertop and hated it.

Now that I am doing a lot more recipes and cooking posts on my blog I really wished I had my dream kitchen or at least a kitchen with a normal countertop!  I know my dream kitchen won’t happen for several years but a few weeks ago I started searching online for ways to cover, paint or re-do laminate or formica countertops.  I thought if I could find some extra laminate from a discount/leftover housing material shop or salvage place, maybe I could talk my dad into helping me replace the laminate at least. I think my landlord would have let me do that since I would be paying for it.

Upon my online research I came across a post about using contact paper to cover laminate or formica countertops.  I did not even realize they made contact paper in patterns or colors other than clear!  There are all kinds of patterns, colors and styles of contact paper now. I did not know if it would really work or not. I figured if it did not then I would only be out a few dollars and a couple hours of time. It was worth a try to cover that ugly, red, depressing formica.

Redo your ugly, laminate countertops for under $10 with Contact Paper

I bought some contact paper at a local big box store for $6.99 for a 40 foot roll.  I first measured out the contact paper into sections to work around the sink. It was not deep enough to cover the counter from front to back so I had to do it in a few different sections and applications.  I messed up one time and the paper stuck to itself. It was a good thing the roll was really long as I had to start over on one big section. (Pardon the low quality images, my camera battery was dead and I had to use my Droid which does not take good indoor pictures)

Redo your ugly, laminate countertops for under $10 with Contact Paper

I pulled about 10 inches of a time of the backing off and used a Pampered Chef stoneware scraper to push the air bubbles out.  Had I thought ahead or been patient enough to wait until the next day, I would have bought a squeegee instead of using a 2 x 2 inch scraper. (At least my arms got a good work out!) I continued this process for each section. I also had a little area of a “back splash” if you want to call it that (ha ha) to cover. That was the easiest part of the project.

I then used a box cutter to carefully cut around the edges of the countertop and around the sink and faucet. I did have to cut a couple extra little strips to fix some places I messed up when cutting, but you cannot tell.  For the faucet, I just cut an oblong hole a little smaller than the faucet in the strip of contact paper. Then after applying it, I cut the excess off around the base with the box cutter.

Redo your ugly, laminate countertops for under $10 with Contact Paper

I messed up a couple times but contact paper is easy to work with, just peel and re-stick.  It took me a little over 2 hours to do my counter top. You cannot tell where the seams are unless your really look or run your hands over it. It looks just like a new sheet of laminate! Below you can see what it looks like now.

Redo your ugly, laminate countertops for under $10 with Contact Paper

Contact paper is waterproof, so as long as you do not cut on it or put anything hot on it, it should last a pretty good while. I’ve had it on there over 2 weeks now and had no problems.  Even if I have to redo it once or twice a year, it only costs around $5-7 a roll.

Redo your ugly, laminate countertops for under $10 with Contact Paper

Here’s a close up from a previous post:

International Delight Light Iced Coffee

Everyone who has seen it does not believe me when I tell them that it is contact paper. Even when you touch it, it feels like laminate.  I cannot tell you how THRILLED I am about my sort of new countertop!  I know it’s not granite and it’s not my dream kitchen, but I am not embarrassed to have people over or take pictures of my recipes now.  My kitchen also seems so much brighter now. If you have ugly, laminate countertops you are tired of looking at too, I hope this works out as a great solution for you as well!

UPDATE: After a year & a half I redid my countertops again with contact paper, not because it looked bad though, it still looked great. View the post here for more info & better, updated pictures!

What do you think of my new countertops? Is this something you have ever tried or would have thought of? I would LOVE for you to comment below and to also Pin, Tweet or Share this post. Thank you!!!


    • says

      Ashley, so far no problems with water spots. I did this a little over 2 weeks ago and it’s been fine. I do try to make sure to wipe off any water around the faucet especially when I use it though.

    • says

      Hey Jackie, I don’t know if it will leave sticky residue or not, that part I am not too worried about because I know my landlord will finish remodeling this house when I move out and will remove the old countertop for sure then. However I would think some Goo Gone would get rid of any sticky residue if that was an issue. So far so good, I just wipe down /dry any water that gets around the faucet when I use it. Contact Paper is supposed to be waterproof so… I’ll try to remember to post/comment again in a couple months. :)

  1. Suzanne Deleon says

    Misty, I can’t tell you how tickled I was to come across your blog on Redo your ugly, laminate countertops for under $10 with Contact Paper! I like you am a renter. We live in an old farmhouse built in the 1940’s and it has the ugliest laminate countertops I have ever seen! Since we first looked at this place I wanted to replace those hideous countertops, but being on a tight budget just hasn’t allowed us to replace them! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this fantastic idea! I can’t wait to head out to the store tomorrow to find some contact paper. Who’da thunk there could be such an easy and economical way to change your countertops! Your counter tops look amazing by the way! I am sharing this all over the internet! I hope you don’t mind! Beautiful job and keep these awesome ideas coming!!!

    • says

      Aww, thanks so much Suzanne, so happy I could help you out as well! I know I can’t believe I looked at those ugly red countertops of mine for 3 years when there was such an easy and cheap solution! Thanks so much for the kind comment!

  2. says

    Wow, the countertops look great! I love that you came up with such a wonderful way to refurbish the counter. They are so expensive to replace. Besides, I wouldn’t know how to do it anyway. We just moved into a home that we are buying. It’s kind of a fixxer upper. I would love to update my kitchen but I have bigger fish to fry, such as the florescent green dining room, lol.

    Im disappointed, I typed out a nice long comment, hit the wrong button and lost my comment, oh well. I’d love for you visit my blog at
    shanna recently posted…Beautiful Custom Photo and Art Gifts For Valentine’s Day and Beyond with AllPopArtMy Profile

  3. says

    That’s amazing Misty! My husband just put down a new floor and we want to change the countertop and stain the cabinets but money is so tight. This would be great and won’t set us back. I am going to show him this. Our counters are terrible but at least our floor is beautiful. thanks for the post.
    Bertha Brown recently posted…$100 Grocery Gift Card Winner!!My Profile

  4. says

    No Way! I am seriously amazed! This is awesome and I must try it—on something, maybe my laundry room countertop for starters since it’s so small? LOL

  5. titi says

    Thanks so much…I have ugly white counter tops and u just gave me an excellent idea!…BTW your counter top looks so much better now than the red one….:-)

  6. says

    We’ve been redoing our kitchen, and I’ve seriously been thinking about painting my counter tops with a faux granite look and sealing them. My counter tops aren’t bad per say, they are pretty new but I hate the color! They look sandy during the day, but PINK at night. And I’m just having a hard time justifying painting something that is brand new.
    Then I was reading something about contact paper, and thought ‘hmm, I wonder if that would work on my counters?” So quick search, and I ended up here! I am SO GLAD I came across this post! This would be a great way for me to see if it’s worth changing the look, without spending a lot of money, or ruining the existing counter tops, and so much less work involved!
    I just have one question. Are the seams noticeable, since it wasn’t wide enough for your counter?

  7. J says

    Thank you so much for posting this. I was thinking of doing the same thing, but I had not heard any success stories until I read yours. As it is now May, how are the counter tops looking now? I am excited to find a way to re-do things without needing someones help with heavy lifting or sawing! God bless.

    • says

      Sorry for my delay in replying, I kind of took the holiday weekend offline. :) Yes it’s been over 5 months now and they still look exactly the same! The only thing I have noticed is that the contact paper shrinks just a tad so it’s not completely flush with the edges now. I am probably the only one who would really notice that though…

  8. Kerri Valentino says

    Looks awesome..I was actually searching tips on applying because I bought the same exact color in home depot and thought hey this might look good on my counter tops now I just have to finish thanks for the tips I too used a kitchen utensil

    • says

      Thanks Kerri! It’s amazing how great it works. It has been nearly 6 months since I did my countertops and they still look great! The paper does shrink up a little bit so it’s not flush with the edges but I’m probably the only one who might notice that. :)
      Misty recently posted…Wordless Weds 6-19-13My Profile

  9. Zandria says

    I’ve been thinking of covering over my yellow countertops, as I rent, and wanted to do a quick search on contact paper on countertops. I ended up here and am glad I did. I had actually contact papered cabinets at the last place I lived and it was a huge success. The paint was peeling off and it was this weird gray color. Contact paper covered it up and was nice and even… made a huge difference and I wish I had taken pictures now. It makes the vision of the dream kitchen closer to possible. Plus, you can change the color as you see fit too! Lighten up or darken your kitchen with some time and a little cash. Thanks for posting this!!! I am definitely covering my counters this weekend. 😉

  10. says

    funny thing… I would love to have that period counter top for my kitchen… that material is very expensive and it would look fabulous with my 1938 magic chef art deco gas stove.. funny how people are different, I find the contact paper look to be boring and run of the mill! if only you could send me that counter!!!!

  11. Veronica says

    How well Does it work with hot pans and cups? I have been contemplating getting glass cutting boards or something to place over the counter tops. Right not the complex has painted over the counter tops and its melting with heat horribly. So I am looking for cheap ideas to solve this problem.

  12. Chelsea Conaway says

    Hi Misty!

    The countertops look a million times better! I was wondering if these are easy to remove and if they leave any residue. I am in a (hideous) apartment and would love to do this, but it needs to be non permanent. Thanks!

  13. Patrice says

    Love this idea and can’t wait to do this in my new place this weekend!!! YAY! Your countertops look awesome!!!

  14. Jody says

    Hello. I read this to see if my contact paper would last for a while. I got the idea after wanting my retro kitchen and realizing that laminate counter tops are expensive and that I don’t have that kind of money to have stainless steel countertops. so I spent 10 on a roll of stainless steel counter tops. I tested one side and realized that it was a great idea. im glad to see that it last for a while. your counter tops look amazing. thank you for posting this. now my mom is thinking of doing the same.

  15. Robin King says

    Is it really waterproof? I’m thinking of using if to apply to the side of a wood vanity that I want to shield from water from the shower. I couldn’t find anything on the roll that specifically said it was waterproof. In my case, if it’s not, it may be worse than having nothing on the vanity at all, since it would trap the water against the vanity.

    What do you think?

    • says

      Hi Robin, I wouldn’t say it was 100% waterproof. My counter gets wet all the time and I wipe it off daily. I always wipe it with a dry towel too though so I do not let the water stay on it / air dry. For a bathroom which has a lot of moisture I don’t know how it would do, if it would say stuck on the wood with all the dampness and moisture. That would be my concern.
      Misty Kearns recently posted…Easy, Cheesy Sloppy Joe Dip Recipe (Low Fat Turkey Version)My Profile

  16. Lisa Lontai says

    Thank you for sharing this story!! I hate the bathroom formica on the counter where I am renting (ugly pink) and I have been scratching my head how to fix it without it costing me tons!! I agree I am only renting.
    You have saved me!! Thanks!

  17. sky bellefleur says

    Hey Misty you just gave me such a great idea for my awful wood grained ancient countertops in my sad little hovel rental. I pay very little rent and if I do stuff myself my rent doesn’t go up. Im a grandma and mildly physically handicapped and this is the easiest and cheapest idea Ive come across! Thanks tons! Im excited to try it! Ill het you know how it turns out! Hugs! Sky

  18. Andy says

    This looks great and I am thinking of using this method. I have a question, though – how did you handle the join in the sheets and is it noticeable?

  19. says

    Looks great! I always am inspired by low cost ideas, especially when they come out looking great! Glad you could improve your counter with an inexpensive fix! Have a good and Godly day! Blessings, Laura R.
    Laura Rhodes recently posted…You are loved!My Profile

  20. Mol says

    I have been using Contact paper on my counter tops since the early 70’s! LOL Yep, I’m that old!! I found this post on using contact paper as I am about to change my counter tops again, and am looking for a new pattern to use. I change about every two years. I have also never owned a home, always rented.
    You can’t put hot pans on it, or cut on it, but then again you can’t do that to laminate anyway. You also should not scrub it with any cleaner as it will fade. Pretty much a wet rag will do the trick. I love changing it out for a new and fresh look.
    I am off to look for a new color/pattern for my kitchen.

    • anitha says

      Hi I am a renter too..seeing the comment above I understand that you have good experience using contact paper. I would like to know when u pull out the contact paper will it do any damage to the existing counter top underneath it… will it come out cleanly.. because when we plan to move out we need to pull the contact paper and keep the original counter top as it is..

      an advance thanks for the reply…

  21. Julia Leininger says

    I love your pictures about your kitchen….and I am going to put it on my kitchen counters…they are definitely ugly…..I used a roll of paper to cover the middle of my kitchen cabinets to add contrast and I also covered my refrigerator as it was an old model with turned out awesome….that you for suggesting the kitchen counters….great job!

  22. Mish says

    Hello! Your post is inspiring! I’ve been wanting to remodel my bathroom for a long time but it just costs too much. While we did change out the faucets, that left a very obvious “circle mark” around the faucets on the already ugly cultured marble counters. So until I can afford and get approval from my husband to finally do a remodel, I really want something cheap and easy to cover the countertops.

    I saw a beige marble contact paper by DC fix on amazon and really like it. However, I couldn’t find many reviews and one did say that it gets scratched very easily. Do you have such experience with yours? Also Do you have any suggestions on how we can protect the contact paper from scratching? Thanks for reading!

    • says

      Hi there, thanks so much for commenting! I have not tried it in the bathroom but have seen a few pins and posts on the internet where others have used it in their bathroom. I have not had any issues with the type of contact paper I am using getting scratched or showing scratches. I always use a cutting board when cutting so that helps prevent any scratches. I did choose one that has more of a pattern / more spots/coverage than some of the marble look ones so I am not sure if that makes a difference or not. Let me know if you do try it out in your bathroom & how it works!
      Misty Kearns recently posted…DIY Yarn Wrapped Pool Noodle Wreath for Spring or SummerMy Profile

  23. says

    Several people have asked me how the contact paper is holding up since it has been over a year & a half now. It still looked great but I recently decided to recover it with new contact paper for a couple of reasons. If you rent or just want an inexpensive fix for ugly old counter tops, check out my post to learn how to do it for under $10 with patterned contact paper (and to see updated pictures!)
    Misty Kearns recently posted…Using Contact Paper to Cover and Redo CountertopsMy Profile

  24. Bev says

    I hate to say this but the pattern you chose looks like granny gingham flowers. Very dingy looking…sorry if that’s your style or maybe it’s your pics. I was hoping to see a modern clean faux marble or granite so I could come away inspired to do my ugly counters. To each his own. I will look for some paper and appreciate the idea though.

    • says

      Hi Bev, it doesn’t look dingy in person or like gingham or flowered either at all, not one bit. I have had several people who thought it was just regular laminate. I am sorry if the pictures are not the best, they were taken with my smartphone and I unfortunately have zero natural lighting in my kitchen (because a laundry room was built on the back of it and a garage on the side so all I have is a ceiling light and flourescent one over the sink. I rent so can’t do much about that for now but it is impossible to get decent pictures in there. :( I was mostly trying to show the process and how to than anything and perhaps help someone else out. Anyways, I could not find a marble pattern except for dark grey or blues and neither of those matched. This pattern is just a light tan basew with small darker tan, brown and white flecks like you would see in a laminate counter. My local stores did not have much of a selection but there are lots more contact paper patterns available to order online. You may want to look into paint for laminate countertops too, I have seen a few posts about it and it seems to give a look more like granite and there are lots of color choices. Thank you & have a wonderful day!
      Misty Kearns recently posted…Free Fall and Thanksgiving Printables & Bonus Desktop Wallpaper!My Profile

  25. Santy walet says

    This looks great! I am thinking to redo my granite counter top. Yes, I know who will cover granite top with cheap contact paper, right? But I hate the color and the pattern bmeanwhile didn’t have budget to replace the whole granite counter top. Do you think the contact paper will stick to granite top? Thanks!

  26. Carol L. says

    I love how u brought ur countertops to life!! I am going to try to do this. As long as I have used contact paper, wasn’t sure if it could be used on countertops. But, wow! It really makes a beautiful difference ! Keep up the terrific ideas! Now, I shall try my best to do mine. I’ve been sick of my old -fashioned designed countertop for years, but no more!!

  27. Natasha says

    I have an ugly countertop in my new bathroom in the house I am renting. I however can not damage it whatsoever in anyway. How did the original countertop look after you took the original contact paper off? I would be interested in trying this but I have to do something that I could prove to the landlord would have no lasting effect on the original material

  28. Myra says

    I know this post is a couple years old but thank you so much for sharing this project! We are currently updating a space that has the EXACT same red countertop that you had. I have mentioned covering it with contact paper and seeing how well yours turned out I think that is going to be the route we take too! Thank you again!

  29. Phyllis says

    THANK YOU!!!! My husband and I recently purchased a mobile home to use as a rental. I HATE the back splash and counter tops. I knew I could use the contact paper on the back splash as the previous owner had done it. But that just made the counters look even worse!!! Now I’m going o go in a redo the counters with contact paper too. I kept saying, I wouldn’t rent this place because of the ugly kitchen. Now I can make it look pretty or my renters!!!! THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge