13 Unexpected Ways to Use Contact Paper Around the House

Contact paper has long been the stuff of mothers' old cabinet drawers. Today, adhesive paper has firmly rolled into the 21st century with a wide variety of eye-catching modern patterns and colors. It's even available in a chalkboard finish that can turn nearly any flat surface into a blank slate. Contact paper can be a true ally when it comes to DIY decor, because it's easy to work with, affordable, durable, and simple to clean, with most styles requiring just a wipe with a damp cloth. Here are 13 ways to use versatile contact paper to decorate everything from books to countertops.

Expanded View >
  1. Frost Your Windows


    Need a little privacy? Want to add a designer touch to boring plate-glass windows? Contact paper to the rescue! With special styles designed expressly for glass, you can cut out unique patterns or leave the sheet whole to shield a window from prying eyes while still letting in the sunshine. Most styles can be repositioned, so you can try until you get it right.


  2. Dress Up Your Books


    Contact paper lets you turn ordinary blank notebooks into works of art—before you even write a single word inside! A wood-grain pattern can transform a boring book into a warm and welcoming place to keep your thoughts. Kids might like brightly colored patterns or exotic animal skin prints. (Who can resist showing off a snakeskin notebook?) And with an adhesive cover, your books will be more stain resistant.


  3. Get New Countertops


    Replacing or refinishing your kitchen countertops can be an expensive proposition, but not if you use contact paper! Choose a thick and durable style, then roll it out using a credit card to keep things smooth and a small pin to pop any holes that crop up while you’re covering the surface. Patterns that mimic stone materials like granite and marble will give you all the look with none of the expense.


  4. Transform Cabinet Doors


    Put squares of chalkboard contact paper on the inside (or outside) of cabinet doors to create a fun and useful spot for grocery lists, measurement guides, recipes, or anything else you'd like to keep front and center. Easier to apply than chalkboard paint, chalkboard paper is a quick decorating trick that can transform nearly any flat surface in your home.


  5. "Paint" the Walls


    OK, we don’t really mean paint. Instead, use contact paper to create paint-like patterns on your walls. Perfect for folks who aren’t that comfortable with a paintbrush or for renters who aren’t allowed to paint, this technique lets you decorate the walls neatly and easily, in a way that’s reversible when you leave.

    Sabbe Design

  6. Make Labels


    Using a stencil, cut chalkboard contact paper into geometric shapes, then use them to label things around the home. The labels look great on these silver pails that can be used to store school supplies or help organize a laundry room. Use this same method to label spices, gifts, bulk snacks, or anything else you need to keep track of!

    Sew Many ways...

  7. Create a New Backsplash


    Want a quick and easy way to bring a fresh look to your kitchen? Update an old backsplash with a sheet of contact paper. The color and pattern options are nearly limitless, the paper is durable and easy to wipe clean, and when you tire of the style, you can simply peel it off and try something new. (Just try doing that with expensive tile!)

  8. Reboot Your Laptop


    Got an old laptop that still works but maybe isn’t the nicest thing to look at? Give it a new lease on life with some contact paper. This example uses wood-grain paper, but marble, brick, mirrored, or even velour felt contact paper would make the machine a true conversation starter.

    Fine and Feathered

  9. Add (Temporary) Holiday Decor


    When Halloween rolls around, why not put a few ghosts on your windows and mirrors? It’s easy enough to do with a good stencil and frosted contact paper. For Christmas, you could create snowflakes using the old folded-paper method, and for Valentine’s Day, surprise your loved one with a heart-shaped frame on the bathroom mirror to show who’s the true object of your affection.

    Photobucket courtesy of "oldalgebra"

  10. Transform Furniture


    Old dressers can often be had for a song at tag sales and used furniture stores. Make them look like a million bucks for just about $10 more by refacing the drawers with contact paper. First remove—and consider replacing—the hardware, then lay down your paper and reattach the knobs. Voilà! From shabby to chic in about an hour.

    Amy Krist

  11. Make a Statement


    Boldly patterned contact paper makes a statement wherever you use it. Consider cutting out letters or shapes from sheets of contact paper and arranging them on a wall to create a stunning focal point. Running the design over doors and molding can make the effect even more dramatic.


  12. Do the Drawer Thing


    Yes, contact paper’s been used forever to line drawers, but with new patterns and styles, it's even better at this task than before. Go with a solid bold color as shown here for an attractive surprise when the drawers are opened, and be sure to line the sides as well as the bottoms to complete the look.

    Houzz courtesy of De Mezza + Architecture

  13. Make Your Stairs Something to Stare At


    An oft-overlooked component of home decor, well-designed stair risers can create a buzz in your interiors. Painting them is one option, but you can get an even more arresting look by sticking contact paper on your risers. Mix and match patterns and colors, or go with a bold or subtle pattern to suit your personal style.


  14. For More...

  • Favorites Flipboard Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email AddThis
Interior Design


Don't Miss