How To Change The Look Of Counter Tops With Contact Paper

For those who can’t afford new counter tops, you can change the look of counter tops with contact paper. Cheap and easy.
(Well, it’s cheap anyway. I won’t say I found this project to be an easy one. I’m not particularly patient!)
After I showed that I used simple $5 contact paper on my kitchen counter top, and also used contact paper up the walls above it, there were some questions.
Was it sticky and hard to do? Yes, in places it was. I was looking online last night and discovered that there is contact paper that will not stick to itself, but it is about ten times more in cost. However, it might be worth it, looking back!
But I have to say, this was the cheapest route, with the restrictions I had.
I don’t know how other people do this, though I did watch a few YouTube videos and got some ideas. But when it comes down to it, you simply have to find your own way. 

Some points I will make:

1) Start in a corner and work out. (That’s if you’re using a pattern or checks, etc.)
I did not do this, and I regret it. I will probably eventually take some of it down and do that. That way you have a much better chance of getting things to line up.
I did not work horizontally. I figured, it’s only 17 inches and I’m still going to lack about 8 inches, so I chose to bring the length toward me.
In other words the 17 inches began where the corner and the counter top started and I worked toward myself.
After all was said and done, I liked the look of this technique better. 
2) Overlap. When you put one piece down and are ready for another, overlap by about half an inch.
Contact paper is water resistant, but if you don’t overlap, water could collect where the pieces intersect. That was my fear anyway.
3) When you go around the kitchen sink, you can watch YouTube videos of various ways to do it. 
Remember that it is stretched tight. So don’t cut too close. Give yourself some leeway in case the stretch causes the contact paper to move away from the sink area. It’s easier to cut a little more than to start over.
4) Contact paper sticks to itself. My technique was to pull the paper away about 10 inches or so. Then I folded the paper back upon itself. This way I was only working with 10 inches of stickiness at a time and it was much easier to handle. 
I would suggest using something like a credit card to gently smooth it down as you go. Then I would pull another 10 or so inches and keep going. This made it much less apt to stick to itself.
(If I did this again, I might save my pennies and get the type that does not stick to itself. Might keep my blood pressure from going up trying to extricate myself from sticky paper!)
5) There are going to be bubbles. On my surface, there was texture, so there was a LOT of bubbles. You simply take a straight pin and put a pin prick in the bubble and then attempt to smooth it out. This worked for me in most places, and you will never see the pin prick. 
And folks, remember, this is a cheap-o budget job, so there will be little imperfections. Things like that usually bother me. But I have to look closely to see them, so I’m not going to sweat it. 
This is an economical way to completely change the look of your kitchen.
You can always use cutting boards placed over areas that particularly bother you, and you won’t see the imperfections at all!

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  1. I was so excited when I saw the article on your Little Blue House in the Country Sampler magazine. Your use of color has inspired me to take the leap and add some color to my own decor. I love your red hutch and your touches of red throughout your home, and would love to know what brand and color of paint you use. It is the perfect color of red without being overpowering. Your blog is so inspirational. I love it!

    1. Well, thank you, Karel! I didn't paint the hutch. I bought it that way at an antique mall years ago. I did, however, paint the potting bench. But you haven't seen that painted red yet. I simply grab a swatch and just hand it to the guy at Lowes or wherever. I used Valspar. I have not branched out into the milk paint and all that. I don't know enough about it, and I'm not paying a fortune for a small can of paint! But all the paint colors are kind of overwhelming to me. I just go for a red that isn't orange-y in the least, but more toward barn red color.

  2. Dear Brenda I have just come back from a holiday and found your stunning new kitchen makeover!! You are so creative, what an amazing change you have achieved and how clever to be able to make the original kitchen so much your own style!! Hope you have a happy week!
    Helen xox

    1. Thanks Helen. I imagine with your creativity and skills that you have lovely spaces. And I'd love to see them!

  3. Beautiful! I really love this one! I am going back and look at all the pictures again. I always find things I didn't see when I go back.

    1. I've been adding other things. I will take more pics later this week to show you. I'm getting ready to make a gallery wall in my living room. Had to change some things up, but I miss my gallery wall from the little blue house!

  4. It's good that you have patience to do projects like that. I once tried to hang wallpaper and I it was a disaster. I have always had to pay someone to wallpaper or install tile etc. Glad that you found a way to update your kitchen and make it reflect your style.

    1. It's been fun to see your kitchen again. The black counter seems integral to the decorating scheme, and I admire you for taking on that sticky project. It turned out well. I love the decorative piece you put onto the front of the sink. It's a nice vintage touch that keeps the black and white checks from pulling the look too much into the 1950s. I think the metal sheen of the little lamp goes well with the sink, but I'd like to suggest that you add a touch of lace or a few buttons to the pretty red lampshade to give it a bit more texture. This isn't a criticism — it's just that the red shade seems to be saying, Hey, I'm an untouched canvas! (I bet you've probably already thought of something, and you've just been too busy to get to it.)

    2. I had to delete my comment above because it answered the wrong comment somehow! I think you're right. I shall be thinking of ways to adorn the little lamp. I don't take any suggestions as criticism. Suggestions are integral to getting the look you want.

  5. Hi Brenda

    I don't think I've commented before but just wanted to say I LOVE your kitchen re-do. It looks amazing. And love that you did it on a budget.

    It's gorgeous!


    1. And what's great is, anyone can do it, and have the kitchen they've always wanted without expensive materials.

  6. Hi Brenda! I'm out traveling but wanted to check in on you! Oh, I would not have thought this was contact paper! Your kitchen looks so cute and you did a great job. I had trouble just trying to get the contact paper to lie down and not stick to itself under my kitchen cabinets. You're the most creative one.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  7. I'm just loving your kitchen so much!! Every nook and cranny is amazing. I love all your bottles on the window sill too!!


    1. I use those colored bottles to hold the faucet and hose in place when doing laundry. To guide the water in the right spot in the sink!

    1. That's what I was going for. Cozy. A friend's husband saw it online and I asked him what he thought: He said it looked like something from the 30s. I think he thought that wasn't so great. I do!

  8. I really love everything about your kitchen! You definitely have the touch when it comes to decorating. Using contact paper on the counters and walls is so clever. Absolutely amazing! Excellent tutorial…

    1. I can do wonders with thrifted and budget finds. But I know zilch about expensive antiques, pottery, etc. Zilch.

  9. This looks so good. I wondered about the apt rules of this kind of decorating, but figured it can be removed I guess. Love the thought of red in the bathroom!

  10. Oh thanks! Ive been looking at contact paper online and elsewhere. This is awesome. Who would have thought? Thanks for sharing this today. Love your new banner!!

  11. Brenda, since the first blog post that I saw (back in Texas), I have been amazed at how talented and resourceful you are! Your new home, may not be as fancy as your former homes, but you have made it your own and it is charming! I wish that I was as talented as you are, you make it look so easy! Keep up the great work!

    1. Well, it's not that bad. And when you have a whole roll or contact paper in case you make a mistake, it's not that scary.

    1. What is it with him anyway? I got that at Target for about $7.99. It just goes over the door. No holes at all.

  12. One house we rented I used the brick contact paper for my kitchen counter back splash. I remember reading a suggestion to dip the contact paper in water (peel back off first) and it would be easier to work with. I remember doing that and It worked nicely for me. I had no problems with it wanting to come off.

    1. I would love to have a solid red for the bathroom. I found the kind that doesn't stick to itself and is easily repositionable at http://www.designyourwall.com. It is 18 inches by 49.5 feet! It is $45.50, but you get A LOT. Nearly 50 feet. You might could go around your house with this stuff!

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