Inside: Transform your kitchen with this easy kitchen cabinet contact paper tutorial!
If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you know that I live in a rental and I’m constantly on the lookout for projects that are renter-friendly. Projects that won’t damage the walls or my security deposit. Recently, I had the chance to share some of my rental DIY tips over at ForRent.com in their Rent Pretty Series. Today I’ll be sharing one of those projects here for you. Read on to learn how to update your kitchen cabinets without replacing them!
My kitchen is your basic builder grade kitchen. Nothing fancy. Pretty standard (and boring). Take a look. And no, it is not usually clean like that. More often than not, there is a pile of dishes in the sink. I thought I would clean up a little before taking these pictures and I think I took it a bit too far. This looks like we just moved in. We’ve been here over 2 years. That window needs some serious decoration, amirite? I’ll save that for later though.
I really don’t like the color of my cabinets or the countertops. Until now, I thought that I just had to live with it because a kitchen remodel just isn’t going to fly with the landlord. I needed to figure out a way to update the cabinets without replacing them. Painting the cabinets is out of the question too but covering them with contact paper is not! If you are in search of a way to update cabinets on a budget, this tutorial is for you! So let me show just how I updated my kitchen cabinets with contact paper.
TRANSFORM YOU KITCHEN WITH CONTACT PAPER
This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.
White contact paper
Drill (to remove cabinet doors)
HOW TO UPDATE KITCHEN CABINETS WITHOUT REPLACING THEM
For each kitchen cabinet, I measured each surface (outside, inside, top, bottom, and all trim) and cut my contact paper to size. It is good to cut the pieces a bit bigger than you need them because you can always trim off the excess with a razor blade to get a nice clean edge. Place your contact paper onto the cabinet at the top and work your way down. To avoid bubbles, use a small ruler to smooth out the contact paper as you go.
A FEW TIPS AND TRICKS
If you have excess contact paper in areas, trim it off with a razor blade. Any excess should be at the bottom of the cabinet.
As you can see below, this is not a perfect method on how to cover kitchen cabinets with contact paper or vinyl paper. There will be some small gaps at the edges because it’s just hard to get the contact paper cut 100% correct. And that’s ok. Once your dishes are back in the cabinets, it will be less noticeable. I’m not aiming for perfection. I’m just trying to make my builder grade cabinets a bit more attractive.
This kitchen cabinet contact paper project takes some time and patience but it is not very difficult. It is definitely an improvement from the “before” picture. Let’s take a look at that “before” picture again.
And after! Much better! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to update cabinets.
As for the bottom kitchen cabinets (you can see them in the lower left corner), I am planning on skirting them with some pretty fabric. So if you have an outdated kitchen and can’t demo or paint, try contact paper! You’ll get a brand “new” kitchen and you won’t lose your security deposit!
I never got around to skirting the bottom kitchen cabinets with contact paper and since they sat mismatched for a while, I have since removed some of the contact paper from my cabinets. I removed everything on the outside of the cabinets and left the inside shelves covered. There was some slight damage to areas of the cabinets that were in direct sunlight. The heat from the sun seemed to “set” the adhesive on the contact paper more than usual and some of the cabinet finish came off when we removed the kitchen cabinet contact paper. The areas of the cabinets that did not receive full sunlight were fine. I just want to be honest with you all so make sure to test a spot first. There are other factors that could have contributed to this including the type/brand of contact paper and the quality of our cabinets.
MORE FUN RENTAL TRANSFORMATION IDEAS
Let me know in the comments what your favorite rental home transformation is!
Jessi @ Practically Functional says
Looks great Kelly! How do you remove the contact paper when you move out? I must be doing it wrong cuz it always pulls off the finish of stuff when I try to remove it!!!
Did this ruin your cabinets?
Brilliant! After reading all kinds of painting tires, this sounds better! We own our mobile home, built in 1971! This sounds perfect for low cost updating! Thanks!
What an awesome look! Love it! We would live for you to link this up at our Tips and Tricks Link party this week! Every Tuesday there is a theme. Come check it out http://prairiegirltosouthernbelle.blogspot.com/2013/09/welcome-to-tips-and-tricks-our-topic.html?m=1
What would you recommend if I wanted to keep my cabinet doors on?
Hi Karen! If your cabinet doors are flat (without molding or detail), you can cover them with the contact paper. I chose to take my doors off because the molding on the doors made it hard to cover.
Where did you purchase the contact paper ?
Contact paper can be purchased at any home improvement store, WalMart, Target etc.
Robert Castillo says
Can a heat gun or hair dryer form the contact paper over molding?
Hi Robert. I’m not sure. I have not tried to use contact paper over molding.
Vidya Ramanujam says
Hi, such a great post. If my cabinets are not flat rather have some molding but I can’t remove it can I still do the wallpaper?
Hi Vidya! I’m not sure if the contact paper will work over molding. I have never tried it.