The Designer Trick for Disguising Ugly Rental Kitchen Countertops

updated Dec 17, 2019
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So, your rental kitchen countertops leave something to be desired. Who are you kidding? They’re fill in the blank: ugly, cracked, formica, moldy, all of the above. Replacing them isn’t practical, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with an eyesore in your kitchen day in and day out.

This is designer Megan Hopp’s favorite trick for giving those countertops an easy, economic, and — perhaps most importantly — temporary makeover.

Wallpaper your countertops.

“I love to cover countertops with temporary faux marble,” says Hopp. “It’s the equivalent of temporary wallpaper; it’s like a giant sticker.”

Relatively inexpensive — it costs about $30 to $40 per roll — it’s also super simple to apply (no need for hired labor) and it gives your kitchen a clean, polished look.

Hopp points out that it’s best for kitchens with less surface to cover, and also that you can tell that your countertops are covered up close. On the other hand, she says, “It looks amazingly real from afar.”

Invest in a large cutting board.

If your surfaces aren’t smooth or you’re just not a fan of the wallpapered look, consider covering your countertops (or part) with a large-scale cutting board. “Cutting boards are a great way to cover ugly countertops, while keeping them open and functional,” says Hopp.

I recently invested in this maple wood chopping block, although Hopp prefers a board that has a bit more personality: “I like to go as big and bold as possible. I really love ones that have an interesting pattern as opposed to your run-of-the-mill, mid-tone wood. Look for something special.”

She also suggests a marble slab, like this one, or something even bigger: “In general, bringing marble pieces — be it a board or a tray or a canister — tends to make a kitchen feel more high-end and give it a pop without having a really expensive countertop.”