An Easy $80 Makeover for Kitchen Countertops

Seriously, $80. That’s it. And when I say makeover, I mean these kitchen countertops are unrecognizable!

Our kitchen countertops were – how shall I put this – not my favorite feature of the house when we moved in. Subtly patterned, slightly damaged gray laminate. Everyone’s top choice!

traveling back, back, back in time

Here’s our kitchen back in September, before we started… changing things. My, my! How far we’ve come! The gray just wasn’t doing it for me. Neither was the laminate in general (hello water damage around the sink!) but actually swapping out the countertops just wasn’t in the cards for phase 1 of this “quick” kitchen makeover.

So, when I read about countertop paint, I was intrigued.

Just look how happy she is!

The black option was speaking to me. They’ve got a bunch of other colors, but I figured black would be the easiest to maintain and probably look the best. It should go without saying that I’m not being compensated for my opinions here – I’m lightyears away from this blog being of any kind of financial benefit to us!!

I waited until the laminate backsplash was down, the new tile backsplash was done, and got started painting the kitchen countertops pre-caulking!

The process was very straightforward – and actually even fun. In a nutshell, you follow these steps:

  1. Clean your countertops
  2. Apply the kit’s primer, just one coat
  3. Sponge on your pattern (the kit provides a sponge and three accent colors)
  4. Do a clear top coat
  5. Wait for everything to cure

That’s it! Here’s how it went for me.

The island was silly easy to do. I taped up the edges around the rest of the kitchen to help with overflow:

Well. Turns out that tape isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Should have followed the caution to use two layers…

Nothing a little caulk can’t cover up… right? Ugh.

After the primer, you get to the fun part. Sponging on your pattern. They give you a single sea sponge that you cut up into three sections, one for each color sparkly accent paint: bronze, pearl, and black. I found it best to start generously with the pearl, add in bronze to complement, and then use the black to tone it all down. Repeat as necessary.

It was sad at first to sponge on top of the really pretty matte black, but there was no way we’d keep our counters clean enough for a solid color like that to ever look good!

After the patterning is all sponged on, it’s time for the top coat:

Yes, those are pajama pants. We’re pretty casual around here.

When it dries, it looks something like this!

…Yeah, that photo is pretty bad. To be fair, it’s pretty hard to get a good shot of something so shiny…

The counters need to sit undisturbed for a few days, ideally. It’s sort of a tease, you get used to them looking perfect, then you start dinging them up!

How Have They Held Up?

That is the question, isn’t it. Surprisingly well, actually. We’re not real gentle with them. But aside from the place where I accidentally let wood glue dry on it (whoops) and another spot where I left something hot sit on it for a little too long (whoops again) it’s still looking good. LOADS better than the original, and that’s what matters here.

Besides, if we need to do it again, I still have paint left over from the first run!

The goal here wasn’t to come up with a permanent solution for our laminate kitchen countertop woes. The goal was to come up with a stopgap measure short of replacing them so that eventually, when we redo the kitchen “right”, we can spend the money on new countertops knowing they’ll last us. So far – aside from the new stove – the kitchen has only cost us a couple thousand dollars. (And most of that expense has been in tools!)

To recap, so far we’ve:

And, still to come: caulking, painting the cabinets, and replacing the floors! (OK that last one is a stretch goal. But you should see what we’re dealing with in the meantime!!) And I owe you a photo of the finished/installed floating shelves!

7 Comments

  1. Hi Carly, I’m enjoying your blog. I’ve done a ton of rehab work when I was young (and had tons of energy). Your floor isn’t hard to do, especially if you use large stone or ceramic tiles. I believe that will also complement a smaller space. Please don’t mind my kibitzing. So happy to have been able to see your beautiful self at Christmas after hearing tons of flattering stories about how talented you are!

    1. That’s good to know! I think what I’m most worried about with the floor is ripping up the existing one. Lord only knows what’s underneath – and if the rest of the work this contractor of the past did is any indication, we’ll need to do far more than we’re hoping to. And unfortunately we have to deal a radiator that’s got tiles underneath it now! Hopefully we’ll figure out a game plan. For now, it’s not at the top of our list 🙂

  2. I agree with the guy who calls himself “dad” – would love to see a picture from the same vantage point as the original! The counter looks gorgeous, though!

  3. I had no idea that kind of paint existed! We TOTALLY should have used that instead of living with our blue denim print Formica for 5 years before replacing them!!

    1. I’m not sure how long it’s been around!! I was *thisclose* to pulling the trigger on butcher block from IKEA, but they changed their selection and we’re over 2 hours from the nearest one, so…

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