So, I have a little bit of a secret to share with you all today. Some may think I should be embarrassed by this but guess what? I’m not! *GASP* What is this secret I am so eager to share with you? I buy cheap, laminate furniture sometimes….no, false, very often. I’m proud of this. I am not afraid to admit that I am a 23 year old married & working mother in graduate school who does not have all the money in the world to buy the most luxurious, fanciest furniture handcrafted by angels in a small, wealthy town somewhere in Europe. I buy things thrifted and if new, I buy it cheap. My husband and I are happy to know that a few years ago we only had our “Walmart Furniture” and that we have only now upgraded to a legitimate bedroom set and a dining table we can invite our friends to eat at. The process of upgrading to nice furniture is a slow one; one that we will no doubt be doing for a while. For now, we have tons of that cheap, laminate furniture. We have learned though that we can actually take some inexpensive pieces and upgrade them to look pretty darn fancy (like this janky side table we upgraded to be oh-so-our style).
Recently, I had been staring down a cheap desk and side dresser (which as you can see has kind of become an extension of the desk) we have had for a while, thinking of an easy way to give it a little makeover. I did not want to paint it because that just sounded like way too much work for a quick weekend project. I did however want to make it brighter, lighter and more “prestigious”. That’s when it hit me…contact paper. I have quite the love affair with this amazing, wondrous stuff – we actually used it to cover our questionable counter tops in our rental kitchen, for example. After I spent hours searching for something that was both classy and sophisticated I settled on a marble-ish pattern. I am a huge fan of contrasting dark and light so keeping the rest of the desk a dark color was a no brainer (and involved 0% paint). Though this project was fairly simple, here are the quick and easy steps to upgrade your cheap desk with marble contact paper!
I found inspiration from this desk and I’d say our final result looks pretty similar. This desk can be purchased for approximately $699 and my marble computer desk hack cost me a whopping $20 for the single roll of contact paper + $60 we paid for the desk. Now don’t get me wrong, this desk is beautiful but I couldn’t afford REAL marble, and if you can…by all means check this out!
- Cheap, laminate desk
- Marble Contact Paper – this one is a little different than the one I used but very similar
- X-ACTO Knife / Box Cutter
First you need to prepare the surface. For me, this meant a) taking a ridiculous number of “before” pictures and b) dusting & pledge-ing the heck out of the top of the desk and side table.
Measure out your surface with the roll of contact paper and cut it. For us, we wanted extra on each side so we could fold over the corners to make a clean “table top” look.
Take off the backing little by little and stick it the contact paper to your surface. I prefer not to take the entire backing off all at once because it just becomes a huge mess and sticks to itself. Here’s a tip! If you feel like you aren’t putting it on straight or you made any mistakes/bubbles you can always lift it up and reapply at this point. As you peel the backing and apply the paper, press down firmly (I used my phone or a credit card to smooth it out completely).
Cut off the excess contact paper from the edges using the X-ACTO Knife/Box Cutter to create crisp, clean edges. Here’s another tip! If you want to cover the corners, pull the contact paper to the corner and use the knife to make a diagonal line from the corner of the surface to the corner of your excess contact paper. This will create two “flaps” that will be applied to each side of the corner (see diagram below). They will overlap like wrapping a present where Flap #1 will fold down and Flap #2 will fold over #1.
So Smooth and crisp looking!!! ^^
The Final Result
I love the way this project turned out. I feel so chic when I sit at this desk and it’s much less dark in that corner of the room. Dark colors are my favorite but brightness helps with productivity because it wakes up my senses. So a bright desk top is just what we needed.
Cleaning up the area a bit more…
Overall, I think the marble contact paper was a quick, easy and delightful solution to my cheap looking furniture. I did not have to spend tons of money and time buying paint and yet it has almost the same (or better…) impact! I love looking at this little area of my home each and every day, and sitting down to get some work done is easy when I have such a fun, unique space to dwell in.
Have you ever upgraded cheap, laminate furniture? Did you use contact paper, paint or something else? I’d love tips from you – I have plenty more furniture that can use some cheap upgrades!
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