Decorative Contact Paper – Everything You Need to Know

Your complete guide to learn everything about decorative contact paper including its uses, where to find and if it is removable. Change the look of anything with contact paper ideas that are not just budget-friendly but also renter friendly.

Various decorative contact paper on table with text overlay

Be sure to check out everything about contact paper countertops and all the contact paper ideas you need to know!

What Is Contact Paper?

According to Wikipedia

Contact paper is an inexpensive material that has a decorative surface on one side and a highly adhesive material on the other side.

The surface is usually made from vinyl type material and is highly durable.

You might remember it as a shelf or drawer liner growing up but it has so many great uses and applications! Keep reading!

Decorative contact paper in various types- steel, granite, marble and wood grain

Uses of Contact Paper

While it was traditionally used as shelf liners in kitchens, decorative contact paper is the perfect way to add a new look to many projects.

It goes on so easily, looks amazing and is completely removable without any damage!

  • Got a nasty countertop you can’t replace?
  • Or a piece of furniture that needs a quick update?
  • How about an old appliance that looks really bad but works great!
  • Or an awkward bathroom window looking into the neighbor’s yard!?
  • Maybe you just don’t want to commit to a style and love to change things out, like me.

Contact paper solves all of these problems and more!

As a renter, it can be extremely handy!

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Decorative Contact Paper

Types of Contact Paper

Decorative contact paper is available in various faux finishes –

  • Marble
  • Wood grain
  • Stainless steel
  • Granite
  • Translucent
  • And many other patterns.

All of the above are also further available in various colors making for hundreds of choices!

Let’s break it down further and give you a few examples.

Marble contact paper

Real marble is beautiful but crazy expensive.

I transformed the kid’s bathroom countertops in our rental from old and yellow to beautiful faux marble countertops with marble contact paper. Take a look at how to update a countertop with contact paper.

Bathroom countertops covered with marble contact paper

I love how easy it was and the counters have held up very well to all the splashes that the kids put it through. I used this marble contact paper.

UPDATE: See what they look like 10 months later.

Not just the bathroom, it can be used in the kitchen too! You just have to be careful to use a trivet for hot dishes.
Below is a video where I show you how to apply it.

Other great ideas using marble contact paper –

Granite contact paper

Like marble, granite is also expensive and transforming a counter into “granite” is just as easy!

Kitchen countertop covered in granite contact paper

The Handyman’s daughter shows you how she transformed an 80’s kitchen with new “granite” countertops.

Aren’t they just perfect?!

There are so many different colors available in the granite contact paper, you won’t have any problems finding your favorite to match your cabinets!

Translucent contact paper  –

They make awesome window coverings and privacy films.

  • Cover shower doors for privacy  – I wish I had pictures of it but 4 years ago (long before I had the blog), I used translucent contact paper to add a privacy film on the shower doors -something you need when you have a toddler walking around 🙂
  • Add it to patio doors for privacy. I used these static cling films which are sort of a cling on film and don’t use any adhesive!

Wood Grain Contact Paper –

Creating a faux wood surface with contact paper is a lot of fun.

An easy Ikea Lack coffee table hack | faux wood Ikea Lack hack | Farmhouse Ikea Lack table hack

You can transform the top of any table into pretty “wood” like I did with on this super simple Ikea Lack hack.

Decorating with all types of contact paper | marble, granite, stainless steel, wood, translucent

Not just furniture, how about covering up your old floors for beautiful faux wood ones with contact paper

There is an unlimited number of wood grains and colors available to get the perfect wood look you are looking for!

Stainless steel contact paper

Stainless steel contact paper is a great way to update old appliances.

Craving some creativity shows you how to do it!

You could also do this for an old refrigerator or washer and dryer!

Decorating with all types of contact paper | marble, granite, stainless steel, wood, translucent

They are easy to maintain and wipe down too. Best of all – if it gets scratched, you can easily change it out! 

Talking about appliances – it doesn’t have to be only stainless steel contact paper! Grillo Designs shows you a fun way to makeover a refrigerator and a washing machine with contact paper!

Also, you can use contact paper to add metallic accents to other projects.

Chunky Tiered end table next to couch

I used stainless steel contact paper to add a “steel” element to my DIY tiered end table.

How to Apply Contact Paper –

All contact paper is applied in 4 basic steps – clean, apply, remove bubbles, cut off excess.

  1. Clean surface – you can use any cleaner you like but the last step in the cleaning process should always be rubbing alcohol. This takes removes any oils and residues left.
  2. Apply contact paper – Slowly peel back the backing of the contact paper little at a time and smooth it onto the surface with a smoothing tool or a credit card.
  3. Remove bubbles from contact paper – You can press out any bubbles as you go using the smoothing tool or credit card. However, for any persistent bubbles, poke a tiny hole using a pin and smooth it out. It will be barely visible after that!
  4. Cut off excess – Using an X-acto knife, cut off the excess contact paper as close to the edge as possible.

Take a look at the step by step tutorial on how to contact paper countertops.

Is Contact Paper Removable

In one word – YES!

Is It Easy to Remove Contact Paper?

It can be easy or hard depending on the brand of contact paper.

Newer contact paper brands are easy to simply pull up and take off.  Check out my detailed post of how to remove contact paper including a video.

Old contact paper – If it is too sticky and hard to take off, use a hair dryer to help melt the adhesive and make it easy to pull off.  As you heat it, carefully pull of a small area at a time.

Where Can I Buy Contact Paper –

Contact paper is available very commonly available..

A few places to buy contact paper are –

Looking For More Ideas to Use Contact Paper?

Check these out –

28 Functional And Beautiful Ways To Decorate With Contact Paper

Get Sticky With It! 20 DIY Ideas Using Contact Paper

Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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  1. I been using contract paper for years I use it on my bathroom walls I done my dining room wall also my kitchen
    They called me maxtac queen

    1. Can I use contact paper to cover a really ugly tile backsplash and tile bathroom?

  2. Lauren Vaughan says:

    Hi I live in a rental home with horribly yellow tile in the kitchen and ugly pink tile in the WHOLE bathroom. Will contact paper work to cover these walls and backsplash?

    1. It might work on the tile. However, you will have to cut tiles out of contact paper and apply. Otherwise, the grout pattern will create an uneven application of contact paper.

  3. I want to cover something in my classroom with a piece of clear contact paper. However, at the end of the year, it will need to be removed. How hard is it to remove it?

    1. Hi Matthew. It really depends on the quality of the contact paper and the surface you want to use it on. I would test a small location – apply it for a couple of days and peel it off and see how that works.

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