DIY Kitchen Makeover under $40

*Update 5/19/20* It’s been a few years since we first installed the amazing DIY faux marble contact paper. And guess what? I can 1000% vouch for it. Besides normal wear and tear, I am happy to report very little holes and rips. Here’s the original post way back when. 

Do you ever get SO sick of something dated in your house you simply want to take a hammer and start demo-ing yourself?

hammer construction

Welp, that is the current sitch with my black granite kitchen countertops. Believe me, I am completely aware that it looks fine and many people would be very happy with it.

But since we inherited the previous owner’s choices, it just made it really hard to love as my own. You know what I mean right?

white kitchen black granite countertops

*Drum roll pleazzzzzz*

DIY Kitchen Makeover

Isn’t this amazing?!!

white kitchen faux marble contact paper countertops

And would you believe it cost me not more than $40 to change up the countertops? YES. $40.

How Anita? Howwwww??

Well, I was late night creeping for some ways to update my kitchen on budget. I’ve had it. And I came across Pinterest DIY ideas on marble contact paper. Yes, you heard me right. CONTACT PAPER.

I was intrigued. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And yet, very, very skeptical.

I hate knock offs that have a bad quality look. I rather live with my existing drab countertops. But, then…I *literally* was so tired of the black.

My kitchen does not get great light most of the day. With the black countertops, every morning my first greeting of the day to get coffee was very uninspiring.

As a designer, I find artistry in my daily life. And this kitchen stuck a big pitchfork in my design heart

So I went on Amazon and ordered one roll for a test run. It made sense to try the kitchen island first.

kitchen island faux marble contact paper DIY

Read on to find out how I managed this unexpectedly mind-blowing  project!

Things you need to cover countertops

  • box cutter
  • scissors
  • measuring stick
  • credit card, squeegee

scissors box cutter faux marble counter top contact paper

Make sure to clean your countertops before you start!

black granite countertops kitchen white cabinets

Next measure how much contact paper you need.

scissors faux marble contact paper

Always, always do a test run! Ours turned out awesome except there were a couple *huge* hurdles.

Amazing tips on faux Marble contact paper

We learned many challenges right upfront. First thing, the corners. Most Youtube videos we saw had square edges. Much easier to cover. With round and large rounded edges at that, we were very hesitant about even starting this project.

using credit card to apply contact paper to kitchen countertops

But I pressed on to Travis’ dismay! Ha! Poor dude. Always along for the design ride despite his hesitation on the result.

*Update 5/19/20: We have learned that using our hand pressure is best to get the bubbles out. It’s become more of an art than science. But you can apply sublte to firm pressure depending on the air bubble.*

heat gun to stretch contact paper

After many videos later, we found a DIY video on using a heat gun or hairdryer to make the contact paper pliable then pulled with just enough strength to cover. Two things: 1) No direct heat. Swirl the blow dryer around high to give heat but not too close or it will melt like butter. And 2) when you pull, not too strong!  We made holes so take caution and biggest lesson, TAKE YOUR TIME. 

use heat gun to apply and stretch contact paper on round edges

round edge contact paper

AH-mazing right??!!! You guys, I thought I’d died and gone to design heaven. 

*Update 5/19/20* When we updated my mom’s powder room vanity countertop, her pro heat gun was way better than the craft one we used here. Blowdryers do not provide enough heat. Here is the link.

The biggest challenge for DIY contact paper countertops

The kitchen sink was by far our biggest challenge. It was curved every which way and set underneath the countertop. So the edges had to be folded over.

kitchen sink faux marble contact paper

Trav literally would stare at the sink for a good 20 min. before proceeding. Finally being the efficient project manager I am, I said, hurry up dude! Don’t overthink it. I am such an encouraging partner am I not? *wink*

*Update 5/19/20* Trav found an ingenious way to cut the sink holes if you don’t want to take the faucet out!

He used a craft circle cutter that could cut any size circle perfectly!


Another caveat to this project is that for my kind of sink configuration, the water easily seeps under the paper and it detaches easily. I am currently thinking of some solutions and will post updates. Many of you have sinks where it is flush and should have no issues.

*Update 5/19/20* We’ve had very little water damage to the sink coming undone at the edges. Considering that we barely wipe down after each use, the sink has held up 75% since install. I would say that is incredible!

If you are diligent about wiping it dry, I dare say you would have minimal ungluing and could keep the sink intact by 85%.


white kitchen moen faucet faux marble contact paper

So there you have it! A fully transformed space that truly was on budget and I couldn’t have imagined anything better!!

Now when I come downstairs doing my coffee first routine, I breathe a deep sigh of happiness.

*Update 5/19/20* I STILL DO!

white kitchen moen faucet faux marble contact paper

Yes, there still are things I want to change but cannot. So, for now, I can at least live with my design choices even if they are a temporary fix.

I hope this encourages you to tackle something in your home you thought was hopeless or too $$$.

Where there is a will, there IS a way!

Happy day!









Leave a Comment


  1. Genevieve wrote:

    Love all of it! Where is the wicker storage basket from (that’s in the second picture)???

    Posted 12.5.17 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      Hi! Home Goods! Thank you and Happy Holidays!

      Posted 12.8.17 Reply
  2. Payal wrote:

    Just wondering if the seams on the island showed at all?

    Posted 1.15.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      Hi! You barely notice the seams!

      Posted 1.20.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      There are seams but it’s white so you barely notice it!

      Posted 1.20.18 Reply
  3. Marie wrote:

    How does it hold up to daily use? Does it get scuffed or tear from things scraping across the counter?

    Posted 2.21.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      it has held up SO well! I am truly amazed. I cook and clean and abuse my counters. I do not take great care and there are just only a couple minor scuffs after 9 months so far! It is not heat resistant so you have to be careful. Other than that, super easy!

      Posted 3.3.18 Reply
  4. Kathleen wrote:

    Love this! Thanks for the info and warnings, plus recommending the product you used! There are so many different brands it’s really confusing.
    Also: there are waterproof, seemingly miracle, glues or tapes** advertised on TV ~ maybe one of those would hold down that folded piece along the sink edge!?

    **I’m thinking of the one used on a boat to seal plastic over the bottom that has been cut out ~ it still “races” thru the water without sinking (or even leaking) when tested!

    Posted 6.18.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      I am glad it helped! Good luck!!

      Posted 6.20.18 Reply
  5. Sarah wrote:

    Is it easy to remove? And if so, how do you remove it…? Asking as a renter in kitchen stuck in kitchen hell….

    Posted 6.19.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      it’s contact paper and super easy to remove! Definitely give it a try!

      Posted 6.20.18 Reply
  6. BJHanlon wrote:

    Oh my goodness what a horrible day with contact paper on rv counters. My friend and I have completely redone the inside of my rv. Not happy with counter and then we saw your pictures. Did you use a special type of contact paper? What width did you use?

    Posted 6.26.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      please find the link I gave in the blog post! It has worked wonders! You just need to be careful with bubbles. Good luck!

      Posted 6.29.18 Reply
  7. kate wrote:

    Did you ever figure out how to tackle the interior edges of your sink? We have an inset sink like yours and I have covered our counters (we have the same counters as you) in marble contact paper, but after several months, the sink is a mess. I tried to seal the inside of the sink with a shower sealing tape, but it has come loose time and again. If you ever came up with a solution, I would love to know – thanks!!

    Posted 7.2.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      Hi Kate! My husband meticulously cut the paper to the shape of the sink. The glue has come undone in several areas but for most part is intact. And we are happy with it. Unfortunately the water is the cause. To be honest, this is a temporary fix. So we have succumbed to the fact that the sink will not look perfect over time. If I do come up with a solution, I will definitely let you know! Xo

      Posted 7.6.18 Reply
  8. Robin wrote:

    Great job. It looks amazing. I have early 80s square tile countertops with grout… so it’s not a completely flat surface. Do you think the contact paper could work? Thank you!

    Posted 7.4.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      It depends on how wide the grout lines are. If very very narrow, you could possibly get away with it. If it is a standard width, then I am sorry, it could look like there are grooves underneath. Good luck!

      Posted 7.6.18 Reply
  9. Betty wrote:

    It is very very difficult to remove. It took two of us the best part of three hours to remove it from a table and scrape all the sticky off with undo.

    Posted 7.9.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      Hi, did you use the one I linked to? That one is easily removed. Sorry to hear about that!

      Posted 7.9.18 Reply
  10. Sarah wrote:

    How did you do the inside corners where the countertop meets? Also, could I use my hairdryer instead of purchasing an embossing tool?

    Posted 10.5.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      the hair dryer works but not half as well as the embossing gun or some kind of heat gun! Good luck!!

      Posted 10.14.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      Read my blog post on the DIY under $40 makeover!

      Posted 10.14.18 Reply
  11. Diane wrote:

    Amazing! I’m going to have to try that on our horrible 60s bathroom counters! Thank you!

    Posted 12.31.18 Reply
  12. Trish Griffith wrote:

    THIS!!!! We recently replaced all appliances, lighting, and had a beautiful white glass subway tile backsplash installed – but our granite countertops are UGLY and ruining the whole vibe I was going for. Replacing the granite is not in our budget at the moment, so I just ordered the contact paper you linked. I CANNOT WAIT to try this!!! I have used contact paper to update so many items in our home, from furniture to walls, but never thought about the countertops! Thank you for your detailed instructions, and for the link!!!!

    Posted 4.20.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      Yay, you made my day! I am so happy to help make your home happy!

      Posted 5.1.19 Reply
  13. PATRICIA J NEWMAN wrote:

    After you stick down the edges around the sink, why not caulk it with silicone bathtub caulk?

    Posted 5.18.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      we tried but still not great, over time it wears down. In the end, due to high water usage, this is the hardest part to maintain. The rest of the kitchen has held up amazingly well!

      Posted 6.6.19 Reply
  14. Caroline L. wrote:

    Have you ever put a sealer over it, or anything like that? Is that something I should think about as I am about to use this same contact paper on my countertops?

    Posted 8.29.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      We have had this over 2 years now and never needed a sealer. The contact paper is easy to wipe off and water proof. The only hard part is our sink is raised so the glue is undone there. I realize it’s a temporary fix so I just live with that part. Everywhere else has been intact! It’s quite remarkable!

      Posted 8.30.19 Reply
  15. Rae wrote:

    Hi Anita!
    I just had a wall paper professional try to install contact paper on my countertop (which are curved) and said it couldn’t be done and would lift eventually . Super bummed and wondering how yours have held up?

    Posted 9.8.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      Hi Rae! Ours has held up since we installed it two and half years ago! And it takes a beating from a family of 5 constantly using that countertop. Our edges are curved too and that has been completely fine! I say you go for it!

      Posted 11.5.19 Reply
  16. Pamela wrote:

    Hi, can you please tell us how you did the short backsplash? Was it a separate piece that you cut to the height and width of the backsplash and applied/wrapped over the top?

    Posted 10.1.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      My backsplash is your typical 6 inch high backsplash. It was a separate piece. And yes we just wrapped and cut. That was the easiest because the edges were square. I hope this helps!

      Posted 11.5.19 Reply
  17. Shaa wrote:

    Hey. Loved the diy. You did an amazing job. Been planning on doing it for a year. How does is handle stains? Especially since I do a lot of Indian cooking i am worried about the spice stains mainly turneric.

    Posted 12.5.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      hi! We notice red and yellow sauces can stain but if you you use white eraser right away, it goes away! Good luck!

      Posted 12.7.19 Reply
  18. Shaa wrote:

    White eraser as in the normal rubber eraser used for pencils?

    Posted 12.7.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      no they are the household cleaners called white eraser. Good luck!

      Posted 12.9.19 Reply
  19. Aki wrote:

    Hi, we’ve ordered this too!! Hoping it works well! Did you have a story on insta about installing it too? I thought i saw it and now i can’t find it. I remember it was super helpful.

    Posted 4.8.20 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      we will next week on IG!!

      Posted 5.8.20 Reply
  20. Jamie wrote:

    The link to the contact paper you used just takes you to Amazon’s general homepage and not to the product and you didn’t actually tell us the name of it so I can’t search. =( I was so excited bc that is the exact color/type I need but now I have no way to find it lol can you please repost the working link again? Or at least the brand/name/color/type so I can try and search? It looks amazing though. Great job!

    Posted 5.8.20 Reply