You Should Use Contact Paper Around Your Home

You Should Use Contact Paper Around Your Home
Photo: Diego Diaz Piedra, Shutterstock

Though long-associated with lining drawers and shelves, contact paper has a lot more to offer. And if your only experience with it has been limited to clear (to cover your workbooks in school), white, and the range of pastel-coloured patterns available in the ‘90s, you’re in for a surprise.

Basically, think of a material or finish, and there’s a type of contact paper designed to look like it. And now there are countless colours, patterns, and types to fit almost any job. Of course, contact paper isn’t meant to be a permanent solution, and whatever you’re covering up will still have the same problems, but it can do a lot to spruce up a sad-looking space on a tight budget. Here are a few suggestions.

What is contact paper?

In case you’re not familiar with the product — which is smooth and typically has a design on one side, and adhesive on the other — it’s been around since the late 1970s. Developed by the Kittrich Corporation and sold under their Con-Tact Brand, it turned into a Kleenex or Xerox situation, where “contact paper” was used to describe products made not only by the original brand, but similar adhesive liners that entered the market.

And now there’s peel-and-stick wallpaper. Especially popular among renters, though there are slight differences (it’s thicker and comes in better patterns), it’s essentially rebranded contact paper. Today, we’ll refer to products across that category. Here are some ways to use contact paper (in its various forms) around your house (other than lining shelves and drawers).

Cover kitchen appliances

Not everyone has the funds to do a full kitchen makeover, so if you move into a place where the fridge or dishwasher don’t match the rest of your aesthetic, cover them with removable contact paper. There are so many varieties now that look like wood, marble, granite, and stainless steel that will blend right in.

Cover a tabletop or countertops

Yes, this is the same concept as the last one, but deserves its own spot on the list. Ugly tables are everywhere (including the curb and in relatives’ basements), but instead of turning your nose up at an outdated style, cover the tabletop in the faux finish of your choice. Same deal with countertops.

Line the back of a bookshelf

Traditionally, contact paper has been used to line shelves. You can certainly do that, but also consider lining the back of the bookshelf (not the part that faces the wall — the part that’s visible) in an interesting pattern to make a high-end-looking piece of custom furniture.

Put up a backsplash or bathroom tile

There’s contact paper and temporary wallpaper that looks like the ever-popular white subway tile (and other varieties/colours too). Stick some of that up in the kitchen to serve as a backsplash, or on a section of your bathroom wall to add some texture to the walls.

Get some privacy

Frosted or patterned glass is often found in bathrooms because it provides some privacy, while still letting natural light into the room. But if your bathroom (or bedroom, or front door) has windows made of plain glass, you can cover them — or sections of them — in contact paper specifically designed for that purpose.

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