Ugly Countertops: A Few Solutions

updated May 2, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Maybe you have a rental kitchen. Maybe you don’t have the resources to renovate a kitchen that you own. But you’re stuck with ugly, cracked, or disfigured countertops. What to do? Here are a few creative ideas.

Top with a big cutting board – If you have just a tiny swathe of countertop, like we have had in past apartments, try topping it with a big, handsome cutting board. Sure, it doesn’t cover up all the countertop, but it’s more functional and beautiful, and takes the eye away from the ugly. This cutting board pictured above is Sara Kate’s, in her little apartment kitchen.

Paint them! – Some laminate countertops can be painted and sealed to completely change their look. This is inexpensive, and not particularly difficult. Cheri, an entrant in this year’s February Jumpstart Project, did this for about $60. (Her kitchen is pictured above.) Here are Cheri’s instructions and purchase list for painting laminate countertops.

Cover them up some other way – We were really intrigued by reader jblue’s comment in this post. Jblue covered up kitchen countertop with vinyl tiles, sealed with grout. This sounds tricky, but it has creative possibilities!

Replace on the cheap – If you have a little more money to spend, and you really hate your countertops, and you picture yourself in this place for a while (or some combination of all three!), then there are inexpensive ways to replace countertops entirely. This is especially true if you only have a few linear feet of space to cover, and also if you can do at least some of the work yourself.

Some inexpensive options for replacement:
IKEA butcher block – Does anyone have feedback on IKEA wood countertops?
Inexpensive laminate – From big box home stores
Salvage – Old bar tops and even stone countertops can sometimes be had at architectural salvage places.
Reface the laminate – If you have laminate countertops, some big box stores can just reface the laminate on your countertops, without replacing the countertops themselves.

Do you have any other suggestions for cleaning up, restoring, renovating, or replacing kitchen countertops?


Shopping for Kitchen Islands: Any Advice?

(Images: Rebecca Blumhagen; Cheri)