Easy Ways to Brighten Your Kitchen

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I recently watched my friend* work some serious magic on her rental kitchen…and I just had to know her secret.  The before picture (below) highlights all that is wrong with the space: dingy yellow counters and cheap, wood cabinets.

The after picture (below) is from another part of the kitchen, but you can see it  shows what appears to be an entirely new kitchen!  Her secret?  Contact paper, a couple coats of white paint and plenty of elbow grease!

Tips for DIY Kitchen Updates:

When painting over dark wood, make sure to use a high-quality primer.  Even though you may be tempted to skip this step, since you are painting with white anyway, a primer will ensure the best coverage possible.

Before sticking your contact paper to your counters, make sure they are clean and dry.  Lay out your contact paper like a puzzle piece, cutting each piece to fit around corners and curves, before removing the sticky backing.

Kitchen Renovation

You may decide to put a coat of waterproof sealant, or a layer of laminate over your contact paper, if it is not waterproof.

If your counters have a lip, use push pins to secure the underside of where the contact paper meets the counter (see picture below).

Idea and elbow grease courtesy of Lauren Olaksen!  Amazing job Lauren…thanks for letting me feature your hard work!

  • Heather

    I love this idea. We’re years away from a kitchen renovation so this is the perfect solution for covering up our not so pretty counters on the cheap. if anyone has suggestions on contact paper sources with kind of a retro look I’d love to know about them.


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