DIY Countertop Revival

1 Hour

This is the perfect project for renters or apartment dwellers! Are your kitchen countertops ugly and dated? Use contact paper to revive them! All you need for this project is decorative contact paper or adhesive shelf liner, which I found at Target for $5.24; clear caulk (about $3 at any home improvement store); a razor blade or box cutter; and finally, Mod Podge or a food-safe sealant. I searched a lot of stores for shelf liner in a black and white design,and on my expedition I found many options: faux wood grain, faux stainless steel, and other cute options that just didn't happen to match my vision, but may be perfect for your home. Get creative with your countertops!
This project is very detail-oriented, as the laying of contact paper can get pretty tedious. It's sticky, but it is easy to remove and realign, so you can give yourself a few shots at laying the paper down without bubbles or wrinkles.
The first step is to wipe down your counter with soap and water, and allow it to dry. This is really important because the contact paper sticks better to clean surfaces.
After the area dries, measure your counter space. You will have to have a seam between two strips of contact paper; I recommend creating as few seams as you can. I added 1/2" extra on each side, which I trimmed more precisely later.
1. Remove the backing in small pieces, to avoid a sticky mess; 2. Trim the edges close to the wall; 3. Add clear caulk along the wall seams; 4. (Opt.) Use sealant for protection (my counter here is not for food, so I used Mod Podge).
Some advice: When making a seam with two strips of contact paper, overlap about an inch. That way the opportunity for food or water to slither its way underneath is slim.
The best part? The counters will easily be restored when I move--I'll just peel them up and scrape off the caulk with a razor. Good luck with your counters, and have fun!

Top Hometalk Projects

3 Great Ideas To Easily Upgrade Your Window
31 Update Ideas To Make Your Kitchen Look Fabulous
3 Wonderful Ways You Can Upcycle Old Windows
25 Christmas Wreath Ideas You Don't Want To Miss This Year
15 Pieces Of Furniture That DIYers Built From Scratch
30 Essential Hacks For Cleaning Around Your Home
The 25 Most-Viewed Mason Jar Projects on Hometalk
Megan Poletti

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 29 questions
  • Ginger
    on May 18, 2019

    If you are renting and your Landlord does not approve, how difficult is it to remove and will it damage the old counter top?

    • Kevin
      on Apr 6, 2020

      peel it off and buy some "goo be gone" wash the counters and the landlord will never know the contact paper was there

  • Gabrielle Falk
    Gabrielle Falk
    on Sep 2, 2019

    How does contact paper stand up to the usual grease splatters etc.? I jdon't think that contact paper would stand up to much scrubbing.

    • Ginny
      on Dec 15, 2020

      Make sure to use a cutting board for ALL your cutting. Even a butter knife can make a cut in the contact paper. Non abrasive cleansers only or your print will be scrubbed off and have discolored spots.

  • Beverlyparks
    on Apr 9, 2020

    Will the contact paper work on tile and will it be easy to remove,(I live in an apt.) So I would like to remove it if and when I decide to move

Join the conversation

4 of 184 comments
  • Laurie Bell-Kohn
    Laurie Bell-Kohn
    on May 5, 2020

    Would this in a bathroom!

    • Ginny
      on Dec 15, 2020

      I'm going to try it in my bathroom. I will pay special attention to caulking around the sink so no water can get underneath for germs and bacteria to grow.

  • Renee Cantrell Emert
    Renee Cantrell Emert
    on May 5, 2020

    What can you use as a good safe sealer?

    • Ginny
      on Dec 15, 2020

      I was wondering about that too and noticed that someone mentioned putting a clear contact paper over the top. I'm thinking that if you staggered your seams this could be your "sealer".

Your comment...