Countertops can truly make or break a kitchen—even the most beautiful room can be dragged down by dreary linoleum. On the flip side, a Carrara marble countertop will immediately add character, and a note of luxury, to your cooking space. But replacing countertops isn’t always an option, because a) it can cost an arm and a leg and b) if you’re a renter, you often can’t touch them, no matter how unsightly.
Luckily for all of us, the internet’s DIY whizzes have come up with several solutions to this all-too-common dilemma—none of which involve actually breaking down or rebuilding any counters. So, if you want to bring old, outdated countertops into the present, here are five (far simpler) solutions that will cost you, wait for it...less than $100.
I know what you’re thinking: “There’s no way that could work.” But I assure you, it does!
Numerous DIYers have painted their kitchen counters and are absolutely smitten with the results. It’s a quick, easy way to update linoleum countertops, and the entire project will cost you well under $100. All you need is sandpaper, painting supplies, a paint of choice, and a sealer.
Don’t believe me? Check out this tutorial from Naptime Decorator. She used gray chalk paint to transform her old countertops, and she swears there has only been minimal chipping after a full year of use. The secret is to use a heavy-duty polyurethane finish and be generous with your application.
My style is a bit more rustic, so I love a good butcher block countertop. One of the major benefits of these wooden surfaces is that you can strip them down and refinish the wood to give your kitchen a whole new vibe. This will also let you remove any scratches, dings, or marks that may have accumulated over the years.
Want to see just how easy it is to refinish butcher block? The bloggers at Chris Loves Julia redid their countertop using sanding paper and Waterlox wood finish, which costs $35 per quart. All you have to do is sand away the old finish, then paint on a few coats of Waterlox (or a stain of your choice). Just like that, you have a surface that looks brand new.
Pouring concrete countertops is no easy feat—but what if you could fake it? DIYers A Beautiful Mess have figured out a way to apply a concrete coating onto existing counters, giving you the look of a real slab at a fraction of the cost.
Seriously, a 10-pound bag of feather-finish cement is $36, and a food-safe concrete sealer is $30. Even with additional supplies like sandpaper and trowels, your total spend should still be under $100. Compare this to the cost of new concrete counters—which range from $65 to $135 per square foot—and it’s really a no-brainer!
If you don’t feel like buying a string of DIY supplies, you can get everything you need in one countertop refinishing kit. One of the most popular options is the Giani Granite Countertop Paint Kit, which comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and costs just $80!
The kit includes everything you need to complete a three-step paint process on top of old laminate, cultured marble, or ceramic tile countertops; the paint will even cover up scuffs, burns, and scratches. The finished result? Beautiful counters with the look of natural stone.
If you want to take it a step further, there are the Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformation Kits. They’re a little more expensive, but include color chips that replicate the appearance of natural stone for a truly realistic look.
As a renter with an unwilling landlord (sound familiar?), your best option is probably a stick-on solution. It sounds crazy, I know, but people swear that water-resistant vinyl film is the perfect temporary option to cover up ugly counters.
This material is incredibly affordable and easy to install thanks to its self-adhesive backing, and there are a ton of beautiful patterns—such as faux marble in a range of colors—that will instantly upgrade your kitchen (or bathroom). If you want to make the surface more permanent, just go over it with polyurethane as a sealant. You’re welcome.