From the Floor Up

Stuck with Ugly Kitchen Counters in Your Apartment?

Posted by Daltile Team on Apr 21, 2016 10:30:00 AM

What to Do About It Today

Natural granite countertops in Delicatos White

You can dream about a future where you get to choose the type of countertop you want. You can pin a thousand great ideas to Pinterest. But when it comes down to it, you rent and you have to keep staring at those horrid laminate countertops from the 70s for who knows how much longer.

Even if you can’t have that gorgeous granite countertop right now, there is something you can do about changing the look of your ugly kitchen today. Here are some ideas.
Before we begin, take note that some of the suggestions here will probably not make your landlord happy. Please check with your landlord before making any major or long-lasting changes to your apartment kitchen. Now, time for the fun!


Painting the countertops is one of the easiest ways to transform your kitchen. There are lots of options to choose from depending on how involved you want to become.


Make your countertop look like granite with a countertop paint kit. These come with everything you need and thorough instructions. The general idea is to use several colors and blot a random pattern on your countertop that resembles the crystalline structure of granite. They come in brown and black shades and can transform your laminate in just a few hours.


A marble look is going to take a lot more time and some artistic talent. There are no kits here. You’ll have to paint it by hand. But if you do a good job, the result is stunning. Use a countertop primer to get the surface ready. Then use acrylic paint to recreate the actual marble look. When you are done, coat the countertop with a high-gloss polyurethane finish.

Other Countertop Tips

If you have very little counter space, you might try putting large cutting boards on top the surface. It will change the look and is completely removable.

If you have tile countertops, pour some quick-setting concrete over the surface for a popular and trendy surface.


Use chalkboard paint to make your countertops look like soapstone slabs. Start by priming the countertops then start applying coats of black chalkboard paint—one at a time so they dry thoroughly. Give it a good sanding then clean it before you apply the finish. Paste wax (a solid type of wax) or epoxy can be used to seal the countertop and give it that unfinished stone look.

Contact Paper

You know that stuff you’ve used to line the inside of your cabinets and kitchen drawers? Consider putting it on your countertops. It’s come a long way since the 90s and has several realistic looking options to choose from. Some adhesive paper is textured. There’s also vinyl adhesive paper which is the same concept in a different, more durable material.

Wood grain can give you the look of butcher block countertops. Marble and granite looks come in several colors and versions. You can pretty much have any kind of countertop you want now and remove it later when it’s time to move.

Unroll the paper and let sit until it is flat. Clean your countertops and dry thoroughly. Measure out the paper and trim edges. Only peel back the paper from the sticky side a few inches at a time and work in very small areas. Use a squeegee to smooth air bubbles and ensure proper contact. With wood grain, make sure you’ve got the grain going all in the same direction.

You can leave the installed paper as is or coat it with a polyurethane or epoxy to give it a gloss or matte finish that resembles stone finishes.

When you are finally ready for the countertops of your dreams, come visit a Daltile Stone Center to get up close and personal with a huge selection of unique stone slabs.


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Topics: Stone, Countertop

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