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Easy & Inexpensive DIY Kitchen Countertops

Can't Afford Granite

In a previous hub of mine, I wrote about my faux tile backsplash walls. During the same kitchen remodeling, I also redid my kitchen countertops. I had very little money to spend, so granite, river rock, or stainless steel was not an option at the time.

I have never been scared to try a new type of project, and I realized the value that a better looking kitchen would add to my house. I believe that any real estate agent could attest to how high the kitchen ranks in the eyes of potential home buyers.

I decided to paint my countertops, but I also wanted to add some texture and color, to go with my multicolor faux tiles. In this hub I will give instructions for my countertops, and also list some other inexpensive ideas for counters.

Finished Countertop

Finished Countertop

Materials I used for my project

Materials I used for my project

"Paint and Paper" Countertops

I decided to go for sort of a "faux river rock" look with my counters. I knew that I wanted a chocolate brown for the base color, and then a splash of a few other colors on top of that base. My old counters were a white laminate that was worn and scratched.

  1. I started by totally clearing off my counters, and cleaning them well to remove any grease or residue.
  2. I filled in a couple of chipped areas with wood putty, and let it dry. Then I lightly sanded the entire countertop.
  3. Next, I painted a base coat of paint over the old laminate finish. I used paint that was specifically intended to be used as a base. The base coat helps the enamel to adhere better. The sales persons at most home stores are very knowledgeable, and could answer questions you might have on what type of paint to use.
  4. When the base coat was completely dry, I painted my first coat of brown latex enamel. I allowed this to dry overnight, then painted a second coat of the enamel.
  5. Next for the fun part! I tore brown, silver, purple, and gold tissue paper into small pieces. Using Mod Podge glue I placed the pieces randomly on the counters. "Mod Podge" is a brand of decoupage glue that is available at most craft stores, and also some discount stores. Then I sprinkled some granite powder (available in the faux paint section of home stores), in various spots while the glue was still wet.
  6. To finish my project, after the tissue pieces had dried, I painted the countertops with three coats of varnish.

I updated my counters in November of 2009, and so far they are holding up well. A good thing with this type of finish is that if they do get a scratched, I can fix it easily with a few pieces of tissue paper, and Mod Podge.

More Countertop Options

Another painting countertop option is to sand the counters well, and paint with oil based enamel. Oil based paint is harder to work with than latex, but holds up well, and the counter can be painted in two coats, with no need for topcoats of varnish. If you want to read another hubbers experience with this, read the article "My affordable DIY kitchen remodel", by Robertbloggert. His countertops look flawless with this technique.

Plastic laminate is another option. It can be obtained at any home improvement store, in a lot of different colors and patterns. Instructions are available from the store for "do it yourself".

Another option from the home improvement store is a kit that contains a putty type material to be painted on, then stone chips, followed by a polyurethane finish. These kits come in various colors, and cost about $300.00.

Ceramic tile is also a "do it yourself" option. It will be more expensive than the other choices, and will involve cutting tiles, and grouting. The end result will be very durable though, and the colors and looks with tile are endless.

Have Fun

My advice is to have fun with your countertop project! Try something different, and unique. Your kitchen just might end up being he envy of your "granite countered" friends.

By updating your kitchen you will add value to your entire home.  You will also feel happier when you cook and spend time in your kitchen.

And, with the money you save, you might be able to buy something special for your kitchen. Wouldn't a new refrigerator or "under-counter" TV look good?

My Other Home Improvement Hubs

  • Low Cost Kitchen Re-Do with Faux Tiles
    I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. I think most of us do. It is the first place I stumble to in the morning for my wake-up coffee, and the last place I leave at night. (I have to make sure the coffee...
  • Organizing Paper Clutter
    Where does all this junk mail come from? I have always been envious of organized people. You know who I am talking about. Their kitchen cabinets are neatly organized, and all their plastic containers...
  • Faux Painting with Coastal Style
    Atlantic Ocean St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A. Look to nature for color inspiration. Sand, ocean, and sky -relaxation... Spring is finally here! Our clocks have sprung forward, and our days are getting...


Brad on November 28, 2018:


Interesting article on some fun things for kitchen counters.

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on July 08, 2014:

Scroll to Continue

Yes, that was me. I tried to keep my old stove going way too long. The contact paper made for appliances worked pretty good. My oven and two burners quit working, so it was finally time to just break down and buy a new one. Got a great deal on one, on sale. Glad the oven cleaner is working for you!

suz33 on July 01, 2014:

Hi Susansisk.....are you the one that had the issue w/ oven cleaner taking off your paint? Well, a few years ago, I went nuts w/ my really old & ugly oven fronts. Now, of course, it's peeling off & looking terrible. It has stainless steel, and while old, it certainly would look better than the mess I made. Anyway, I've been searching for ways to remove the old spray paint & nothing works. I found your posting about the oven cleaner & tried that today. It actually works. So, this weekend, I'll be outside w/ a mask hard at work to renew my ovens. Wanted to let you know...who knew that someone's mistake could be my solution!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on June 16, 2013:

Thank you for reading, kufarooq!

KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ from Karachi, Pakistan on June 16, 2013:

All hubs are very informative and nice

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on January 15, 2013:

It has been over two years since I redid my countertops now, and I am still happy with them. The finish has held up really well.

gingerka from Colorado on January 11, 2013:

You have given some interesting options. I just need to find some varnish that doesn't affect my allegies. Thanks

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on July 28, 2012:

Thanks for reading. Hope your makeover goes well.

thedoormaker from United Kingdom on June 04, 2012:

I was having my kitchen makeover going on and thinking of some awesome touch on it. Glad I see your post and I really appreciate it. I would love to apply some of your tips here. Thanks!

cjatwater from Greensboro, NC on May 24, 2012:

These are great ideas. Sometimes it's hard to think outside the box and these are definitely creative and easy options. Thanks for sharing!

Suzanne Sheffield from Mid-Atlantic on April 10, 2012:

This is an AWESOME idea! You are a genius.

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on February 28, 2012:

My backsplash tiles are homemade too. They are made out of poster cardboard that I cut into tiles and painted with acrylic paint.

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on February 28, 2012:

Your welcome. Thanks for reading and stopping by.

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on February 28, 2012:


Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on February 28, 2012:

Thanks. I've always sort of enjoyed doing things different.

Bridget on February 19, 2012:

The countertops are great, but I am in LOVE with your backsplash tiles. Where did you get them?

Linn on January 21, 2012:

Another option is to install your own stainless steel counters. I recently did this and it can be done very inexpensively, plus it looks great and is so durable!

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on January 19, 2012:

Very interesting technique! Thanks for sharing!

jamiesweeney from Philadelphia, PA on November 10, 2011:

Great hub. Love the topic.

putackbrond on October 27, 2011:

kitchen granite countertops_bathroom granite vanity tops_quartz countertops

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on May 18, 2011:

Good information J sanjeev. Lots of people could benefit by installing their own granite. What I have found though, is that all countertops do not have to be granite.

j sanjeev on May 15, 2011:

You can save money on granite countertops by buying it in lower tier,installing it yourself and by creating template in home.

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on March 15, 2011:

Glad you liked it. The crazy thing is that I love watching HGTV, but there is SO much granite on the shows, that I am tired of granite. I prefer things that are a little different from everyone else.

Linda Tadlock from Atlanta on March 15, 2011:

These ideas are truly creative. I am a great fan of all DIY remodeling ideas. Thank you!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on February 16, 2011:

Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading.

The_Idea_Gal on February 15, 2011:

What a really cool idea for a countertop. looks like ti came out great! Definitely will look into faux tiles too!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on January 13, 2011:

Thanks 4 reading Whitton.

whitton on January 13, 2011:

This is very useful information. These are some great ideas for redoing your countertops on a budget.

whitton on January 13, 2011:

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on December 08, 2010:

I haven't used faux granite, but am soon going to try something for my bathroom counters. That would be a possibility.

Carolyn Augustine from Iowa on December 06, 2010:

This is great information. I love do-it-yourself projects and the ones that cost very little but yield a great result are the best. I also appreciate the info in the comments section. I'd like to learn more about faux granite. Did you ever do anything with that?

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on December 05, 2010:

Glad you got some ideas. I'm looking forward to reading your hub, after you remodel your kitchen.

Sarita Harbour from Yellowknife, Canada on December 04, 2010:

What a great idea! I also liked your faux tile hub. My kitchen is pretty outdated now, and I'm itching to try something new in there. Thanks for the great ideas!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on November 24, 2010:

Thanks for reading. When it comes to decorating, you mainly just have to get over your fear of trying something new.

rugsdynamic on November 23, 2010:

I find this hub very useful, especially when it comes to kitchen redecorating. You can save huge amount of money with this tip! Thanks!

DavidLivingston on November 23, 2010:

I like the countertops. I like kitchen fixing too. Thanks for this post.

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on November 13, 2010:

NCBler, Thanks for stopping by. Have fun with your kitchen!

NCBIer on November 13, 2010:

Interesting and creative solution for your kitchen! I am just starting to plan my kitchen remodel and appreciate your insight and suggestions. Thanks for the hub!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on October 14, 2010:

Thanks MisCook and Ashley. I didn't know about the inexpensive kits when I started my project. I am thinking about trying a kit for my bathroom.

Ashley Fleming on October 11, 2010:

Giani offers granite kit colors that come with everything you need for $60.00. I bought the Bombay Black kit and it looks beautiful! is where you can find these countertop paint kits.

MisCook on October 07, 2010:

Brilliant! I cannot say more. This is one of my favorite DIY inexpensive finds. Great post!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on October 01, 2010:

Sounds great! Would like to see some pics.

Kim on September 25, 2010:

I re did my entire kitchen for under 300.00.....I painted the laminate countertops with giani granite faux finish kit you can buy online for 50.00....sanded down my cupboards through old paint......and for the backsplash I found some linolium floor tile and it looks amazing and is very durable..cost was 15.00. The kitchen looks like a whole new kitchen.....I hated going in there before but now I try and find reasons to be in there!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on September 18, 2010:

Ashleyyoung, appreciate you stopping by.

ashleyyoung from United States on September 17, 2010:

Very informative Susan, thanks for sharing. Rated. :)

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on August 15, 2010:

Thanks for reading. I am still happy with my countertops. They have held up well.

Ambition398 on July 01, 2010:

Excellent substitution ideas, thanks!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on June 17, 2010:

Thanks, I will try to post a larger picture.

Lily Rose from A Coast on June 13, 2010:

What a creative idea! I would love to see a larger picture with more detail...

angelaglancy from Seattle on June 13, 2010:

Painting surfaces that you don't normally thing of painting can really make a huge design impact for just pennies. Nice Hub!

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on June 10, 2010:

I didn't order my countertops, but you are right, there are many options.

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on March 02, 2010:

Thanks for your comment. It was fun redoing my kitchen. I enjoy doing "faux" type stuff.

Laurel from Germany on March 02, 2010:

Very creative info. I'm looking redo my countertops and would have never have thought of these ideas, thanks.

Susan Sisk (author) from Georgia, USA on February 25, 2010:

Thanks Trey! I am looking forward to you, and your mom coming to visit.

Treysome from Atlanta, Georgia on February 25, 2010:

Aunt Mama, I love your hubpage. It's a great way for many people to remodel / update their kitchen. As you know the kitchen is my favorite room in the whole house especially when my Mom gives me snacks from the refrig. I look forward to one day soon coming to visit you and Uncle Mike and seeing all your creative updates to your lovely home!!

-- Your Nephew/Son Trey

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