Contact Paper: The Lazy Decorator’s Best Friend

I’ve been thinking about updating my kitchen cabinets. And lining the insides of my bookshelves. And putting a large-scale silhouette on one of my walls. Guess what product does all of those things? Contact paper! Not only is it easy to apply, it’s also easy to remove or rearrange (for any commitment-phobes like me who like to change their minds a lot). And, because you’re basically applying a big sticker to something, prep, application, and clean-up is fairly easy and offers near-instant gratification.

Contact paper has come a long way since Mom installed the orange & yellow flowered variety in her kitchen cabinets in the 70s. Places like Home Depot, Target, Michael’s, and JoAnn carry patterns that mimic trendy fabric designs, realistic marble, and wood grain.

A few things to note about contact paper before launching into a project: it typically features a plastic coating so is easy to wipe clean, but may not adhere well in moist environments such as steamy bathrooms and above a kitchen stovetop. Contact paper can get air bubbles trapped under it when you apply it, so it’s helpful to have a squeegee, ruler, or hardcover book to smooth it down with as you go. Most contact paper has a grid on the back of it to help you make straight cuts, but it helps to have a separate ruler and pencil, as well as a measuring tape to make sure you’re cutting the paper to fit perfectly.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it! Measure, cut, apply, and voila! Now for some inspiration:


Birch tree wall decals


Chevron striped walls


A dresser dressed up with stencils


Snazzy ceiling fan blades


Frosted glass


Zebra stairs