DIY Countertop Revival

Megan Poletti
by Megan Poletti
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!
Megan Poletti
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 30 questions
  • Gabrielle Falk Gabrielle Falk on Sep 02, 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.

  • Beverlyparks Beverlyparks on Apr 09, 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

  • Karen Marie Karen Marie on Jul 11, 2021

    how do you do the sides of the countertop? 🤔

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3 of 188 comments
  • Jean5504 Jean5504 on Mar 28, 2022

    I would like to put contact paper on my bathroom vanity. It is very small and I don’t know what is on it now but by the faucet, the countertop itself is ripped a little. It’s not really noticeable unless you are washing your hands. I can’t afford a new counter top right now.

    • Diane Diane on Apr 09, 2022

      Hi. I did my bathroom I love it, yours will come out great to. I cut a tin plate makes it easy to cut without waste. You say yours is ripped a little, is it something you can fill with joint compound or spackle? Let it dry overnight than sand till it meets the counter. You can go to a hardware store than they can tell you exactly what you need, be sure to take pics of the damage. Good luck have fun.

  • Dmholt4391 Dmholt4391 on Sep 30, 2022

    Word to the inexperienced. I used D-C-Fix peel & stick on my counter tops and love them. BUT just know that the pattern on your counter outside edges will wear, so when you're considering this project, factor in how you're going to protect it to prevent having to re-cover the edges. You can put clear counter top peel & stick over it or polyurethane. I hadn't thought to do that, only to protect it from damage so I bought glass 'cutting boards' for each side of my stove and sink which work great - except for along the edges. I also bought a $50 4' x 22 1/2" x 1/16" piece of polysomething clear sheet for the area used most, between glass at sink and fridge which has been very great. I had to buy three different types of plastic over time 'til I finally found the one that works. All in all I'm very happy with it, just wish I'd known to do more research before tackling it. You will want to be alone in your house if you'll be doing anything more complicated than a flat surface.