Interior Storage

13 Unexpected Ways to Use Contact Paper Around the House

Contact paper has long been the stuff of mothers' old cabinet drawers, but make no mistake: the old favorite has rolled its way into the 21st century with a wide and varied array of modern designs. Today, you can even find contact paper that comes in a chalkboard finish and turns virtually any flat surface into a blank slate. No matter the type or style you choose, adhesive paper always comes in clutch as trusted ally in DIY decor, because it's affordable, a breeze to work with, and effortlessly easy to clean. Click through now to see 13 compelling ways to use the material on everything from books and shelves to kitchen countertops and cabinets.

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Frost Your Windows

Need a little privacy, or want to add a designer touch to a boring plate-glass window? FYI: You can get contact paper designed expressly for use on glass. Whether you cut out unique patterns or apply the whole sheet, there’s no need to fret over getting it exactly right on the first try. That’s the great thing about contact paper—most of the time, you can reposition it over and over until you love the results. 

Make Labels

Try this: With a stencil, cut chalkboard adhesive paper into geometric shape and use them to label things all around your home. The labels look great on these silver pails containing arts and crafts supplies, but you can easily apply the same method to spice jars, gift boxes, and countless other packages and containers filling your cabinets, closet, and garage shelves.

Do the Drawer Thing

De Mezza + Architecture

Yes, we’ve all used adhesive paper to line shelves and drawers, but with new patterns and styles on the market, it’s so much more fun than it used to be. To add excitement to something as humdrum as opening a drawer, cover both the sides and the bottom with a bold, unexpected color that pops as soon as you see it.

Reboot Your Laptop

Got an old laptop that still works but maybe isn’t the nicest to look at? Give it a new lease on life! This example uses wood-grain paper, but marble, brick, mirrored, or even velour styles of would also serve to make the machine an eye-catching conversation-starter.

Make Your Stairs Something to Stare At

Often overlooked in home decor, well-designed stair risers can make the journey up and down the stairs a trip worth remembering. You can always paint the stairs, but with contact paper, you can get a similar effect without all the hassle. Mix and match patterns and colors, or go with a bold or subtle pattern to suit your personal style.

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 covering 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. Projects are rarely so painless.

Dress Up Your Books

Turn an ordinary notebook into a work of art, even before you write a single word onto one of its blank pages. Here, a wood-grain pattern transforms something boring and nondescript into an eye-catching, welcoming repository for your thoughts. Got kids? Go for adhesive paper with brightly colored patterns or exotic animal skin prints.

Get New Countertops

Replacing or refinishing kitchen countertops—now that’s an expensive proposition! Usually. Of course, with contact paper, you can give a new look to the busiest room in your house for a total cost of next to nothing. Choose a thick and durable style—perhaps in a pattern that mimics a natural stone like granite or marble—then apply the material with a credit card so as to keep things smooth. Air holes? Pop them with a pin.

Make a Statement

Boldly patterned paper makes a statement, no doubt about it. To create a focal point, cut out letters or shapes and arrange them on an accent wall. Another idea: Run your design over doors and ceiling moldings to make the effect even more dramatic and high-impact.

Create a New Backsplash

Looking for a quick and easy way to refresh your backsplash? Covering it with contact paper can be a very straightforward, highly satisfying project. On the one hand, paper gives you nearly limitless options in color and pattern, and on the other, the material wears surprisingly well and stands up to regular cleaning. Tired of the look? Simply peel it off and try something else.

Transform Cabinet Doors

On a kitchen cabinet door, a “chalkboard” square makes the perfect place to keep grocery lists, measurement guides, recipes, or any other bits and pieces of information that, on the one hand, you don’t want to forget, and on the other, you need to access on a frequent basis.

"Paint" the Walls

Sabbe Design

Believe it or not, you can use contact paper to create paint-like patterns on your walls. This is a great idea for renters whose lease forbids painting, or for folks who aren’t comfortable with a paintbrush (or who simply don’t feel like painting). After all, so long as you’re working with adhesive paper, there’s little risk of making of mess. And if you cover the walls in any way, shape, or form, you can easily reverse it whenever you feel like it—or whenever you move out.

Add (Temporary) Holiday Decor via oldalgebra

Next Halloween, why not haunt your home with cut-out ghosts and goblins? For any and every holiday, adhesive paper makes it easy and affordable to decorate with festive whimsy. Hang folded-paper snowflakes for Christmas, for instance, or cover your fireplace with heart shapes for Valentine’s. Let your imagination run wild.