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Interior Designer, Licensed Therapist & SoCal mama of three. Welcome to the blog!  I hope it brings you inspiration to create a life (and home) you really love.


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DIY Kitchen Makeover under $40

May 19, 2020

Before our kitchen renovation was a possibility, I needed to do SOMETHING about the black granite counter tops that came with the house. This contact paper solution was amazing and stood the test of time! I’d recommend it to anyone needing a quick & stylish solution.

kitchen island faux marble contact paper DIY

**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? 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.

white kitchen black granite countertops

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?

*Drum roll pleazzzzzz*

DIY Kitchen Makeover

Isn’t this amazing?!! And would you believe it cost me not more than $40 to change up the countertops? YES. $40.

How Anita? Howwwww??

white kitchen faux marble contact paper countertops

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

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.

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 subtle 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.

2) Don’t pull 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


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!







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  1. Genevieve says:

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

  2. Payal says:

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

  3. Marie says:

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

    • Anita Yokota says:

      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!

  4. Kathleen says:

    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!

  5. Sarah says:

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

  6. BJHanlon says:

    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?

    • Anita Yokota says:

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

  7. kate says:

    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!!

    • Anita Yokota says:

      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

  8. Robin says:

    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!

    • Anita Yokota says:

      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!

  9. Betty says:

    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.

    • Anita Yokota says:

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

  10. Sarah says:

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

  11. Diane says:

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

  12. Trish Griffith says:

    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!!!!


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

    • Anita Yokota says:

      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!

  14. Caroline L. says:

    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?

    • Anita Yokota says:

      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!

  15. Rae says:

    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?

    • Anita Yokota says:

      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!

  16. Pamela says:

    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?

    • Anita Yokota says:

      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!

  17. Shaa says:

    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.

    • Anita Yokota says:

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

  18. Shaa says:

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

  19. Aki says:

    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.

  20. Jamie says:

    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!

  21. Gloria says:

    Do you mind sharing which contact paper you used? BTW it looks AWESOME!

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