8 DIY countertops – how to upgrade your kitchen worktops quickly and cheaply

Revamp your kitchen with these super easy DIY countertops ideas – affordable and incredibly stylish...

DIY counter ideas
(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

Looking for quick and affordable ways to update your kitchen? Giving your countertops a new lease of life can actually make all the difference. From something as simple as revarnishing them, to a total overhaul using contact paper, there are loads of things you can DIY to freshen up your countertops and potentially give your kitchen a whole new look. 

So keep scrolling for our DIY countertop inspiration so you can crack on this weekend, and if you are after more inspiration and advice, make sure you head over to our kitchen ideas page too. 

1. Revarnish your kitchen worktops 

Topps Tiles tiled splashback

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

Yes, it's an obvious one,  but if you have wooden kitchen worktops a new coat of varnish could be all they need to make your kitchen feel a bit fresher. You could switch up the varnish you usually use and go for something darker or spend the time sanding down your worktops and go in with lighter varnish. 

2. Go for a marbled look with contact paper

Wooden shelves holding vintage ornaments, house plants and chopping boards with herringbone tiling and marble surfaces

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Another easy kitchen worktop update is to cover them in contact paper. There are loads of really lovely, realistic options on offer now, especially if you like the look of marble worktops but not so keen on the price. Wayfair sells a marble-effect self-adhesive film for just £8. You will need a wallpaper smoother and a fair bit of patience for the job but the result can be amazing. 

3. Laminate your kitchen counters

January 2020: Clare Pater used her skills as an interior designer and her knack for finding a bargain to transform her family's new home

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

For a super clean and refreshed finish, you can laminate your kitchen counters. It's a great option if you're doing your kitchen on a budget and now there's a huge variety of colors to choose from too. While it might be tempting to get the cheapest one out there, we would recommend going for quality here as it will show!

4. Paint your kitchen worktops 

White fridge in a vintage style kitchen with green cabinetry, patterned splashback and salmon walls

(Image credit: Big Chill)

Painting kitchen worktops will work best if your worktops are wooden, but if you are working with laminate don't worry, you can still paint them, you just need to be vigilant with the prep. We would recommend following our guide to how to paint kitchen cabinets as the steps and the prep are very similar to painting kitchen worktops. 

5. Overlay your kitchen worktops 

Little Greene kitchen

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Who knew this was a thing? But you can buy thin pieces of material – usually quartz – that can be fitted over the top of your current worktops! Obviously, this is way cheaper than buying brand new solid quartz worktops but the result is just the same. Check out Dream Doors for lots of gorgeous options. 

6. Give your countertops and industrial glow up

Maitland & Poate tiles in a kitchen

(Image credit: Maitland & Poate)

This one might be for more experience DIYers, only because it uses some more heavy duty materials and tools, but you can actually wrap you worktops in metal sheets. It works particularly well on a kitchen island and looks amazing if you use a hammered copper – look out for sheets in hardware stores or specialist  shops. 

7. Tile your kitchen countertop

Small kitchen storage ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

We promise this is not as complicated as it sounds, it's just like tiling a splashback. This is a great DIY countertop idea if your worktops really are gross beyond repair as you can just cover them up with some nice tiles. Rather than tiling straight on top of your worktop, for the best result you are probably best tiling backer board to go over your current worktop. A Beautiful Mess have a fab tutorial and a beautiful before and after.

8. DIY an upstand

Hill House work top

(Image credit: Hill House)

If you are painting or covering your countertop in a vinyl sheet, an upstand could be a cute extra addition to your kitchen. It could be as simple as painting or covering a wooden panel that stretches the length of your countertop and securing it to the wall behind. 

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.