Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How I made over my laminate countertops

I am never satisfied with our home. I always have 3 or 4 (at least) projects in the works. For example, the dining room chairs I received from my grandparents' home - I painted and reupholstered 2 of the 6 so far. The others are in various stages of priming or painting. The reupholstered seats are stacked neatly in a corner of the dining room. Fortunately for me, we don't use that room often, so it's not a big deal.

OLD chairs:

NEW chairs:

Likewise the one wall in the dining room with wallpaper. When we moved in 6 years ago, I loved it. Then (at the time still a toddler) David tore a piece of the wallpaper off the bottom...and I lost the love for my wallpapered wall! So last summer I began stripping it - but what a chore. Even with the spray stripper gel used with the razor-y thing, we're still getting a layer of the back paper left on the wall from the wallpaper. It is a mindless but tedious job. I only work on it when I'm completely, utterly, bored ~ which is not often!

One project I did complete was my daughter's bathroom vanity. It was a standard white, but we wanted to warm it up, so I faux painted the countertop to look like granite, and painted the base a warm mocha. It's one of my favorite home makeover projects ever... but one of the few of which I don't have a "before" pic to share. Darn it!

But here is the after!

Two years ago I started a kitchen makeover. Two years. What can I say - my husband is very patient, and luckily for me, doesn't care how long my projects take. I'm very lucky!

When we moved in, the kitchen was U-G-L-Y!! I can't stand white walls, white counters, white floors. I have two kids (Three counting my stepson in the summer) and kids make messes! Or at least mine do. So in my head, I envisioned a Tuscan-themed kitchen - warm, inviting, the heart of our home.

Here's the BEFORE:

When the white tile began showing a yellowish stain in several places, I was ready for a new floor. Too bad the budget didn't agree! But, after many hours at various home stores, I found a gorgeous adhesive tile from Home Depot. I knew how to apply adhesive tiles, having used them in my bathroom at my last home. They aren't super durable, but for a few years, they'd work! So we got them - they are a beautiful taupe/rosy beige slate look. It took me about 3 days to get them all on, and I was in LoVe!

(pretend there's a picture here - tomorrow I'll take one!)

Next, I repainted the white cabinets black. Even now, I'm not sure that was the best idea. But it's done. I replaced the hardware with an oil-rubbed bronze set of knobs, and love them, but they are almost lost in all the black. On my to-do list is to make a glaze with a bronze acrylic paint to rub into the cabinets to antique them and add some interest.

We painted the walls, too. I had the paint picked out forever - Sherwin Williams Different Gold. My sister used it in her home and I love it. But while my husband was at the paint store, I did something bad. I went against my gut feeling, and called to ask him to change it to a buttery yellow. Can I just tell you how much I hate it? It's been up for two years this summer. Ugh. Luckily, last week a nice man on freecycle gave me a full gallon of a wonderfully rich gold paint that I'll be using to cover the butter yellow. Soon!

Lastly, the counters. They were white laminate. They stained often - grape juice, coffee drips, you name it, they stained. I was bleaching all the time. Yuck!
So I decided to try this pricey countertop paint from Home Depot. We got it in the Taupe shade. Painted them with it last fall. I have to say that it did not live up to the claims I'd read. It does scratch, it does take more than one coat, and it does not last. I was very disappointed in it. Especially since it was a special order product from Home Depot, and I had to order two quarts, instead of just the one I needed. But, I wouldn't let the newly-taupe chipped counters go to waste. I decided to faux paint over them to look more like granite, since new counters are absolutely the last thing we can spend money on!

So far, not including the counter paint and polyurethene I aleady had, I've spent
$12 on my "new" counters: $1.50 each for 4 shades of acrylic craft paint at Michael's, $3 for six foam rollers at the dollar store, and $3 for sea sponges at Michael's. Not bad at all, right?!

Since I'm going for warmth in my colors, I chose metallic gold, cream, black, and brown paints. I had a small bottle of white, which I did use to lighten up the brown & black for a couple layers, as well.

If you try this at your home, you'll need to clean the counters very well, sand them down a bit, clean again, then apply a base coat. In my Katie-bug's bathroom, my base coat was a brown latex paint. And in the kitchen I used the countertop paint for my base.

Since I already had a base coat on, I started out dabbing the edge of a sea sponge in one color paint, then dabbing it all over the counter. Once you start dabbing the colors on with the sponge, you may think you are doing it OH SO WRONG, because it will look TERRIBLE! Like a weird animal escaped from a zoo and walked all over your counters with weird little paws!! Like this:

But you are doing it right, I promise!! Keep doing it, over and over, letting each layer of sponged on color dry. And keep a selection of sponges on hand so you can rinse them out after each color and let them dry. I dipped one edge or point in the paint, then blotted them on paper until I got the "dotty" look I wanted. Then sponge on the counter randomly. It will feel like you're doing this forever! But it will all come together, I promise!

Keep going! Over and over and over. Dab with different edges of the sponges, and with lots of different color layers. You want to leave a bit of the base coat showing, but have a ton of other layers dabbed on. I also blended the colors to make lighter or darker shades to use as well. Just to add more color like real stone has!

When you decide you like it - stop, step back, and be sure! If it's what you wanted, then it's time to seal those suckers up. I chose an oil based, clear semi gloss finish polyurethene. I've added 4 full coats, but more around the sink, because I want to make sure it will be protected from drips! I finished this afternoon, so tomorrow I can start putting things back on the counter. That is when I'll have some more pics for you! But for now, here is the picture I took Saturday morning, before the poly coats began. It really does look like granite! Well, to be honest, if you stare at it for long, you'll see dabs of paint, not swirls of rock-y beautifulness. But who is gonna stare at my counters, right? And this is SO much better than the stained white I had before! I Love Love Love my new counter. I have three more sections to do before the kitchen is done. Well, I still need to repaint the walls, and add the glaze to the cabinets. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel now that I am tackling the ugly counters!!

Pictures from this morning:

Please ignore the blue painter's tape - I think I'm going to do ONE more poly coat before I take that off. And ignore the ugly yellow on the walls, and the paint that I got on them - they are going buh-bye SOON! Ditto the painted-over electrical outlet covers - they will be white (or maybe black) soon!

Thanks so much for letting me share this makeover with you!! If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them, just leave me a comment!

It's a Blog Party

Katie's Nesting Spot



  1. WOW! I have ugly laminate counters, I'll be studying these directions in depth! It sounds like you've put a lot of work into your kitchen redo. You should be very proud of yourself!

  2. Thanks so much! I have finished half the kitchen now, and will start painting the walls next week! Can't wait to share the finished room with y'all!!

  3. Looks fantastic!
    Thanks for linking up!


I love reading your comments - thanks so much for taking the time to leave me one! If you are new here, please leave me your blog link so I can come by & say hi there, too!