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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Here’s a close up from a previous post:
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!!!