InDIY & Home Improvement, Home Projects

Updating Kitchen Counters Instantly with Contact Paper

Our kitchen remodel is coming along very nicely. So far, we’ve painted the cabinets, painted the wall tiles, replaced the island-counter, built our own track light and added a runner in front of the sink. But the melamine counters kept on bothering me. I considered various ways of updating them and finally settled on contact paper.

Kitchen Counters before |
The before did not work great with the new cabinets

Contact paper is easy to install, budget-friendly, and if you mess up or if the paper does not hold up in a high traffic area, it is easy to remove without damaging the original surface.

How to update your kitchen counter with contact paper

There is a wide range of contact paper available on the market. Sure, we in South Africa do not have a huge variety, but we still have some decent designs to choose from at Builders Warehouse. (Amazon shipping to South Africa is way too expensive, so it is not really an option for me). I decided to use a grey marble design, as it would blend well with our grey cabinets.

It is not difficult to install contact paper on your kitchen counters. So if you are scared, my advice to you is just to start. What you will need:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Contact paper in the design of your choice
  • Scissors, a pencil, a craft knife and a steel ruler
  • A credit card, or pan scraper (something you can use to smooth out the contact paper) and a thin needle or pin

Measure and Cut

Measure and cut the contact paper you want to install on your kitchen counter to size. I left a bit extra on the sides, which made installation easier as I just trimmed the excess after installation. I also opted to have the sheets overlap on the joints, but this is entirely up to you. As I am still testing the product and had to figure out the installation, I did not feel comfortable with creating a flush joint, so I opted to overlap.

Preparing the surface

After cutting the paper to size, you need to clean your counters properly. You do not want anything underneath the contact paper. You need a smooth and clean surface to work with. So give your counters a good scrub and dry, and make sure there is no sugar or breadcrumbs left.


Once you get the installation process figured out, it is so quick to install contact paper on your kitchen counters! After cutting and cleaning, you are ready to install! This is the method I used, and it turned out pretty good.

How to install contact paper |

Work with one sheet at a time. Put the sheet in place and make sure to keep it straight and firmly in place. Start pulling up a corner of the backing paper, then stick it in place.

Start pulling parallel sections of the backing paper away from the contact paper as in the photo, don’t make these sections too big.

Then pull the contact paper tight and start smoothing the paper out with a credit card or pan scraper. Work from the middle to the sides, to push air bubbles outwards Continue with these steps until you reach the end.

Trim the edges as and where necessary, using a craft knife and a steel ruler.

Then you need to take care of the air bubbles that will probably be present. The contact paper I used for our kitchen counters has a matt finish, and our kitchen does not get a lot of natural light, so they were not easy to see. I used a small flashlight to shine on the counter to show me where the bubbles were. Take a thin needle or pin to pierce the bubbles and smooth them out with the pan scraper.

Kitchen Counters after |

And that’s it, your done. This is a simple project that will instantly update your kitchen!

Kitchen Counters after |

Reviews and feedback

I have read a couple of reviews on using contact paper on your kitchen counters. They are mostly positive. Some even mention that it is easy to remove in a couple of years and does not leave a sticky residue on your actual countertops. This, of course, depends on the product used and where it is installed, but I’m holding my thumbs.

Kitchen Counters with contact paper |

I will check in here and update the post as I see how these new counters hold up!

In the meantime, you can pin this post here for a quick and budget-friendly way to update your kitchen counters with contact paper.

Update your kitchen counters with contact paper

Have you used contact paper in your kitchen or maybe on other projects? Or do you have other tips for updating your kitchen counters? Please comment down below! I had some contact paper left, and it sparked a makeover for another sad table we have in our foyer. I will show you that transformation sometime soon!

Take care!

Junette |

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