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If you’ll remember from our apartment tour, this is the kitchen…

Looks like an apartment kitchen, doesn’t it?  It’s teeny but fine for what we need right now – which is just somewhere to store and cook food while the Underdog undergoes some major surgery.

Right away {even before we moved into the apartment} I noticed something about the kitchen that caught my eye.  The countertops appear to have been painted.  Not by us.

That’s the breakfast bar countertop above.  {Yes, I ordered the new Design*Sponge at Home book last week.  No, I haven’t even cracked it yet.  It’s just been sitting on the bar ever since it arrived. I’m waiting for a rainy day…}

The main background color is creamy with flecks of tan and gray on top to give it a little more dimension.  For an apartment countertop, it’s not bad.  Not bad at all.  It’s light, clean, stain-free and wipes down easily.

On the other side of the breakfast bar is the sink with a little bit of counter space on either side of it. This is where I prepare meals/snacks and where dirty dishes sit before they’re washed.  {I’m hand washing everything because, ironically, the dishwasher does NOT wash dishes.  It just squirts some water around and makes a bunch of noise, leaving our plates and silverware looking like they did right after we finished eating with them.}

I’ll be honest.  I don’t necessarily try to be nice to the countertops.  Sometimes, I put hotter-than-recommended pots and pans on them, cut directly on them and clumsily drop pointy/heavy dishware on them.  But the counters have held up very well so far.  No dents, scratches, blemishes or anything.  Of course, I have no idea how long the countertops have been painted. We very well could be the first to use the painted surface.  Still, it seems quite durable.

Even the edges are holding up.  I told Handy Hubby that I thought the countertops had been painted and he didn’t agree at first.  But we got to looking around and there is telling evidence that they have been painted.  Some of the countertop paint is on top of the caulk around the 4″ backsplash against the wall.  There’s no other explanation for it.  Must have been due to a shoddy tape job.  HH believes me now.

The surface is what I would call a satin finish.  It has some shine to it but it’s definitely not glossy. It’s textured too.  I’ve tried my darndest to figure out what the original countertop may have looked like because I’m weird/curious like that.  But the original surface is covered really well and I can’t find a single painting ‘miss’ that would give me a clue as to what it was. Because it’s an apartment, I’m guessing faux butcher block.  Oh, how happy I am it’s painted if that really was the original look.

I must say I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the durability and appearance of our painted countertops.  Although it’s not something I would ever want permanently, I think it’d be a great temporary holdover project for someone saving money for natural stone {or the like} who can’t bear to live with, say, faux butcher block anymore.  Needless to say, it’d be a DIY project for a rental too {as long as the landlord gives you the go ahead}.  And maybe even a good investment for someone trying to sell a home that has cringe-worthy, dark, hunter green countertops.  Taking a peek at some prices, it looks like you could achieve a transformation like this for less than $300 with one of the countertop transformation kits available at home improvement stores.

Have you seen painted countertops before?  Ever tried ‘em yourself?

images: all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

26 Comments

22.September.2011

We have a friend that refinished countertops as well as tubs & tile – I think it was some sort of epoxy product and it was sprayed on. Many of the samples he showed us looked like your apartment counters. He actually refinished part of the lunch counter in his diner as a demonstration – it was amazing considering the condition of the original counter. Unfortunately didn’t get to see it long term as the diner closed about 6 months later.

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22.September.2011

I haven’t tried it yet, but my husband and I are going to attempt the epoxy kit from Rustoleum to update our laminate counter tops until we have the money to replace them with something nicer. The pictures of your counter top look very much like the samples on the RO website… I’d imagine it’s something similar.

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22.September.2011

I have a friend with a BFA in painting. She splatter painted their kitchen counters in three bright colors! It was stunning [of course] and oddly enough, helped sell the house. The new owners liked that there was original art in the kitchen.

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22.September.2011

Probably used this process or something similar: http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=208 (Watch the demo)

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22.September.2011

My first apartment had painted counter tops, and they held up very well the 18 months I lived there. They still were in great shape when I moved out, and I appreciated that over some of the other yucky countertops in other apartments I lived in. :-)

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22.September.2011

Wow, I’ve seen this on garage floors but I didn’t know there were counter top kits! This might be the perfect solution for my make-it-do kitchen!

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22.September.2011

I painted our countertops about a year ago before we moved into our house. I did it because the kitchen was fugly and we didn’t have plans to renovate it for at least a year or two. My boyfriend was less then thrilled about me doing anything to the kitchen because his thought is why bother doing anything if we’re just going to rip everything out eventually, while I knew I couldn’t live in the ugly space for even a short time. I finally convinced him to allow me to use $100 to do whatever I wanted in there. It was a challenge, but I pretty much just painted every surface I could reach. (Details here: http://our1stnest.blogspot.com/2010/05/100-kitchen-makeover.html).

Since I had to fit into the $100 budget I couldn’t use some of the nicer countertop coating systems, but I found Rust-Oleum makes a countertop paint for only $20. After a year it’s not the most durable solution, but it definitely was worth spending the money so that I didn’t have to cringe every time I walked through the kitchen! I recently wrote a follow-up and you can see how abusive I am to our countertops – http://our1stnest.blogspot.com/2011/06/countertop-cover-up.html.

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I’ve used the $20 epoxy paint from Rustoleum. I had the faux butcher block (it’s just as bad as you think it is), so I painted the countertops gray. I then had enough paint left over where I thought “I wonder what this will do to linoleum floors” – so I painted them, too. It’s been months since I did my first tutorial on it, but if you want to see what my counters look like months after using the stuff, check out my review here.

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22.September.2011

I recently saw an ad for the Rustoleum counter top paint in a HD flyer – looks pretty good! http://countertops.rustoleumtransformations.com/
Be sure to let us know how it goes Vanessa :)

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22.September.2011

I wish I had found this five years ago when we moved in to a condo with fake butcher block, it is MUCH better than what I lived with until we could afford to put in granite (which was just a few weeks ago).

I haven’t mentioned this before, but your blog was what motivated me to paint our kitchen cabinets white. We did it ourselves… boy does our kitchen look better now! I just wish we would have done it sooner! Thanks for your advice, we used the Sherwin Williams Greek Villa and love it!

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replied on September 22nd, 2011

JennyB – Congrats on your white cabinets!

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22.September.2011

The counters at our house were redone with one of those kits you can get from the hardware stores by the former owner. They’ve held up well, one tiny, barely noticable chip in 2 years.

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22.September.2011

Where are your cute specs from? I love the tortoise shell.

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replied on September 23rd, 2011

Lisa – Oh my…I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this…but my glasses {which I only wear to drive, watch movies…see far away,etc…} are AT LEAST 6-7 years old. They’re from LensCrafters and the brand is Capezio. I have no idea if they even make them anymore! I don’t wear contacts. It’s probably high time I have my vision retested but I’d rather save the money for house stuff. Pathetic!

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23.September.2011

We had a very small, old apt. in Southern California that had painted countertops. We lived there 3 years and it held up beautifully. It wasn’t gorgeous, but I’m sure it was probably better looking and cleaner than what must have been beneath it! I had completely forgotten about it until this post. Funny!

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23.September.2011

We have painted countertops in our current apartment and they have not held up at all. They have turned a yellowish color around anything that sits on the counter, numerous scratches, and any plastic bag with ink leaves a nice mark that I have to scrub off. Needless to say, I will never paint countertops in a home I own nor buy a home with them.

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I used the rustoleum product as well and I have been super impressed!

When we moved in our 1950’s ranch 10 years ago the cabinets were all pine and the countertops were an orangey-red. It was a LOT of orange to say the least! Well back then there was no rustoleum countertop paint. So I did some googl’ing and found some painted laminate solutions that did work for a while. But a couple months ago I decided it was high time to get a fresh coat and found the countertop paint.

I have been super impressed with it- Coverage was awesome – self leveling – lots of colors to choose from. My Home Depot paint guy new a formula for charcoal and I LOVE the color with our green apple walls. The only drawback is this stuff is super STINKY!! Watch out!

You can see the finished project in this post: http://eatdrinkanddecorate.blogspot.com/2011/08/progress-report.html

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23.September.2011

Raises hand for having faux-butcher block counter tops. Gross. I’ve been dying to try the Rustoleum counter top transformation kit- but need to save up the money first. We’re thinking of renting our place out in a year or two- so I’d like to give the a really solid & strong paint job. Oh, if only I could find $40k beneath my couch cushions or randomly on the street- I would *so* tear out my kitchen and start from scratch.

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23.September.2011

I think painted countertops are a great solution for improved aesthetics on a budget and with proper products and application the paint will prove durable. I wish we hadn’t moved from our house after only a year since I had plans to paint the cabinets (which are basically the same as your apartment’s but with great pull out shelves) and replace or paint the counters. Oh well – there will be other kitchens to make our own!

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23.September.2011

I have never seen such a thing, but perhaps it’s similar to the kit I have heard about that can upgrade old countertops. I wish my landlord would do it or replace our current ones, they have a few too many scratches.

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24.September.2011

We have been working on our first house for the past year and a half. Since my countertops are actually pieces of plywood that were glued onto and nailed into the base cabinets and covered with thin sheets of laminate, the cabinets and countertops will have to be replaced together. This is definitely not in the budget yet! I bought the Giani countertop transformation kit, and couldn’t be happier. The countertops have been painted for over a year and they still look awesome. They really do look as nice as the fake granite laminate countertops, and for about $50, you can’t beat it. It was quite a bit of work to do it according to the directions, but it was well worth the effort, and looks very professional.

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24.September.2011

I actually painted my bathroom counter and it turned out fantastic! Short version- After doing a primer, I simply dabbed on different colors of craft paint. Once it was dry I finished with several coats of polyeurothane. Walaah! It looks like granite and everyone that sees it is fooled. Very easy and so much cheaper than the other kits you can buy. I think I spent less than $15 for everything! I’ve had it for over six months now with a housefull of littles doing their best to damage it but it’s held up fantastically! My next project is to do the same to my kitchen counters

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24.September.2011

we did! we painted the icky brown laminate countertops in our kitchen when we moved in – with the $20 can of rustoleum countertop paint – and LOVE the results… I pretty much wear my kitchen ragged with an extreme amount of baking… but they have held up pretty well. We plan on replacing them with ceaserstone in a year or so, but this is a GREAT fix – especially for $20!

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25.September.2011

Oh, I would love to do this as an until-we-afford-the-nice-kitchen project! Our previous owners painted the faux-oak kitchen cabinets ivory (not very well unfortunately, but it’s adequate). It’s just an odd look with the ivory laminate countertop. A little more contrast there would be welcome!

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26.September.2011

I have been dying to paint my counter tops since we moved in three years ago. I can’t seem to muster up the courage to do so. Your post gives me hope that the project won’t go horribly wrong.

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31.August.2014

We have used a painted product by a company called Giani Granite on several of our rental properties and in our own home with AMAZING, lasting results. I would highly recommend their line of countertop treatments and cabinet paints (Nuvo) to anyone looking to update their kitchen on a tight budget. We wanted granite, but at this point it wasn’t budget friendly- the Giani products will work nicely until we can afford the real thing! Rustoleum also makes a similar countertop re-finishing kit, but I was less pleased with the polyurethane coating found in their kit.

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