Yep, you read that title right! I completely transformed the look of my countertops for only SIX DOLLARS!! How, you ask? Well, first a little background…
(This may get a little lengthy, but you really have to read the whole thing to understand the victory I felt when I came up this idea. So bear with me!)
Our kitchen is actually pretty new. It went through a complete remodel in 2009. We bought the house in 2011. So while the kitchen is new… it wasn’t how we would have redone it. It started out with honey colored cabinets, really bad off-white walls, white appliances, the cheapest off-white laminate floors money can buy, and sandy rose (aka pink) countertops that clash with the cabinets. A complete remodel, but obviously on a tight budget. The only real upgrade that I LOVE are the soft close drawers.
This picture gives you a good idea of how cheap and off-white the floors are and how bad the paint color is. Look at it compared to the white trim. Eek! And yes, they painted the basement door in the same color. The front door is a FIFTH shade of white. Everything just looked dingy and dirty.
So first things first, I painted! And I’m still painting… I have to finish that hard to reach little area above the cabinet that’s above the refrigerator. The color I used is called Homemade Butterscotch. I love it! But… it made those sandy rose countertops looks even MORE pink! They seem to change color depending on the lighting and what is sitting on top of them.
So they had to go! We’re doing this kitchen makeover on a very small budget. I researched all the options I could do to change the countertops without actually changing them out.
First, there was Rust-Oleum’s Countertop Transformations. Very cool, VERY expensive! I just couldn’t imagine creating a big dust storm in my house though with all the sanding involved.
Next was Giani Countertop paint kits. Again very cool, and much more budget friendly. I had a few issues with it though. The painting method makes the counters look patterned instead of more random like granite should look, the color options were limited, a lot of people have had bad experiences with it, and the cure time is RIDICULOUS! No way could we avoid using our counters for 2 whole weeks.
Then I thought, I can do the Giani method, but buy all the supplies myself! This would save even more money, allow me to pick and choose my colors, change the painting method (I could have with the Giani method, too), and change the top coat.
So lots of time and research went into that last idea. I realized that I’d have to reseal my countertops every so often. Same with the Giani method. Then I came across this awesome product called Envirotex that wouldn’t need to be reapplied. But even with my 40 and 50 percent off coupons, it wasn’t making the budget friendly cut. It would require multiple boxes.
After hours of planning and thinking about this and trying out different paint methods on poster board, the thought of PERMANENTLY changing (essentially ruining) new countertops, just didn’t sit well with me. Especially if they didn’t turn out well!
Still with me? Because here’s the secret to my SIX DOLLAR countertops: Con-Tact paper! Ok, so some of you are probably thinking, That’s tacky! Well, yes, in fact, it is (in the literal sense!). You wouldn’t even know by looking at it.
Cheap does not equal cheap in my mind!
I was reading something about a project using Con-Tact paper. And then I saw that they make it in different granite prints. The idea hit me, and I was SO EXCITED! Con-Tact paper is already made to be used in kitchens, it can get wet, it’s stain resistant, and it can be cleaned with soap! I loved the thought that this could be a temporary or long-term solution. If I don’t like it, I can just pull it up, but in the meantime it can stay until I decide to paint or completely change out the counters.
I wish I had thought of this earlier. Like during the time we were bouncing around from rental to rental the first few years of our marriage. We lived with some pretty ugly counters back then. This is a great solution for any renters reading this with horrible bright orange laminate counters. Or maybe yours are pea green? 😉
Ready for some AFTER shots?
Sooo much better! What a big difference $6 can make! I love the contrast and the way it breaks up all the brown/orangey tones. No sanding, no drying time, no curing time, no messy cleanup! This only took a few hours!
Here it is with a pop of color! Now you have another sneak peek into our kitchen makeover and an idea of the color scheme 🙂
If you like the knife garden in the picture, head over here to find out how you can make one.
I bought my Con-Tact paper from Home Depot. I had to buy it online, because none of the stores in my area sell the granite ones. It was a bit of a gamble to choose a color over the internet. It’s not exactly what I had hoped for, because the tan doesn’t really show well, but for the price I’m not going to complain 🙂
My husband was nice enough to calculate the square footage of our counters including the edges and figured out just how much of the paper I used. The roll cost $18 and I used almost exactly 1/3 of that. Meaning my budget friendly countertops only cost me $6!! And now I have extra paper for other projects or to make repairs if I have to. NOT BAD AT ALL! 🙂
And now a quick summary of how I used Con-Tact paper to cover my counters:
1. Con-Tact Paper
2. squeegee or credit/gift card
5. utility knife
6. painter’s or masking tape (optional)
7. a helping hand!
1. Clean your surface well! This is really important! The paper will stick best to a clean surface. Any debris will leave bumps on your counter. I used a solution of 1/2 warm water and 1/2 vinegar in a spray bottle. I let it sit for a while on the really greasy spots, like the edges next to the stove.
2. It really helps if you can do this with another person. The contact paper will stick to everything, so having someone hold it up and flat makes it easier to position it. The paper I used was 18 inches wide. Measure how much you need to cover from the back of your counter to the front, taking into account the front edge. Cut out strips using these measurements (add a little extra for error). I found it easier to do the back splash of my counter with separate pieces.
3. Line up your paper and gradually smooth it down using the credit card or squeegee starting at the very edge. Work in one inch strips going across the width of the paper. It might help to use painter’s tape to tape down your first piece and keep it straight. Just remove the backing a little at a time so the tape can be removed a little at a time too.
4. If you have bubbles or wrinkles, just lift it up a little and try again.
5. When you put down your next piece, only overlap by a few millimeters. If you don’t overlap or overlap too much, the seams will be noticeable.
6. When you get to hard to cover areas, like around the sink, just cut small pieces and work around it. Use the credit card to really crease the paper up against the sink and use a utility knife to trim it. Do the same thing when it comes to the edges and ends of the counter. Please be careful not to scratch your counters and walls using the utility knife, or cut into the caulk around your sink.
1. Small bubbles can be pierced with a pin and flattened with the credit card.
2. The surface can be cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap.
3. If you accidentally damage the paper, you can cut small patches to repair it.
4. When choosing what paper to use, don’t buy one with obvious patterns. You’ll have a hard time making it all match up.
Here are some other kitchen projects you may want to check out!
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