Do It Yourself » Countertop Transformation = Dirt Cheap Kitchen Makeover Under $500

Countertop Transformation = Dirt Cheap Kitchen Makeover Under $500

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Taking today’s economy into consideration, it can be tough to even think about remodeling areas of your home that need some work. Fortunately, giving your kitchen a complete makeover can be accomplished under $500.

Here is a before shot of the kitchen before the make-over. As you can see, the existing counter-tops are just plywood. We purchased a few cupboards at a time, expanding the kitchen to meet our needs at the time. To be perfectly honest, when we bought our home, it was completed gutted out!


Dirt Cheap Kitchen Makeover Under $500

Materials Required:

Total Cost of the Kitchen Transformation $486.

countertop transformation kit

This little beauty here (pictured above) is how I transformed our kitchen from blah to beautiful. This kit can be used on numerous surfaces, including existing countertops. The kit is available in multiple colors, I chose charcoal.

It is also offered in Java Stone, Onyx, Pebbled Ivory, and Desert Sand.


1 First, lightly sand the surface, then wipe it down to remove all the dust particles that may be lingering on the surface. Use a lint-free cloth, if possible.

lightly sand the surface

This project gets a bit messy, so we recommend taping off the cabinets with painters plastic to protect them from accidental paint blotches & to keep the chips from getting into your drawers.

2 Then, apply a nice coat of your base coat (comes in the kit).

apply base coat

Don’t be afraid to put it on good and thick!

apply base coat heavily

This part only takes a few minutes to complete.


3 Spray the base coat with the “wet” spray, which helps keep your surface moist while you apply your decorative chips.


As you can see, it’s as easy as squeezing a trigger . . .

spray with adhesive

4 Next, apply the decorative chips THICKLY! Don’t leave any gaps in your surface.

apply the chips 2

Then, leave it to dry overnight.

apply the chips

5 The next step is to lightly sand the countertop (yes, again!). Use a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe it down afterwards, removing as much dust as possible.

let it dry brush off chips

Here you can see that when we refinished the counters, we also refinished a couple wooden stands as well, so our coffee tables in the living room would match our kitchen.


6 Now comes the easiest part of all, mixing the final protective coating and applying it. We just placed the cans on a piece of scrap plywood to protect our work surface.

mix the topcoat sealer

This coating goes on smoothly, but you’ll want to be sure you don’t have a lot of people or pets around stirring up dust as it will settle into the top and you won’t be able to remove it!


Add a generous coating to finish the counter tops and give them a beautiful sheen.

let sealer dry

Once the coating is applied, the counters will need about 48 hours to cure. They’ll be dry to the touch in just 5-7 hours. The top coat has anti-microbial finish will not mold or mildew and is non-yellowing and can stand up to daily wear and tear.

Once dry, simply replace your trim and voila; instant make-over achieved!

Add Finishing Touches

Prior to this redecorating, we didn’t have any hardware on the doors or drawers. In keeping with a natural theme, I added leaf cabinet hardware, which turned out to be one of the most expensive additions to the project.


Here are a couple of “after” shots of the completed countertop transformation project:


Here’s a view from the end of the island bar. While we had it apart, we extended the end of the bar a bit to create a breakfast nook to adjust for our growing sons.


These homemade counter tops withstood significant daily use in our home for about seven years in all without any type of peeling or flaking. The only area that really started to break down was a spot near the stove where “nobody” cut directly on the counter without using a cutting board, and then later a hot pan was set directly on the counter by “not me”.

In all, they were an excellent value for the money. Given the current price of materials and general lack of availability, I’d likely opt to cut a sheet of luan and adhere it to a base of OSB sheeting rather than purchase maple plywood.

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If you're looking for an affordable way to make a huge improvement in the look and feel of your kitchen, read on. We share how we transformed our kitchen countertops from plywood to granite using simple products that cost less than $300 total! #Budget101 #DIY #CountertopTransformation #KitchenMakeover #Remodel #ChicRemodel #DirtCheap

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26 thoughts on “Countertop Transformation = Dirt Cheap Kitchen Makeover Under $500”

  1. I so want to try this. I have been looking at yellow marble formica for 18 years and want a change. My cabinets are dingy 70’s style and will be painted this year.

    I am hoping that my trip to the Restore (sponsored by Habitat for Humanity) will have doors that will fit the cabinets I currently have.

    I want a kitchen makeover so bad!

  2. One way to really spruce up old doors is to sand them down, refinish the edge of the door and paint the door panel a color that matches your kitchen. My mom did this one year in a house we lived in and the kitchen looked gorgeous afterwards. She used a hunter green and painted some “ivy” along the corners as well. It was a little time consuming, but fairly inexpensive to do.

  3. what nice pictures. i just finished updating my kitchen…it had been 10 years. Unfortunately all we could afford was paint, but it looks wonderful and I made some new curtains as well.

    Our update cost about $150, but it was worth a million to me 🙂

  4. this looks really cool. the picture of the kit isn’t very big. could you give me more details, and where can you buy it?

    would love to check into this as we still have the 1960’s/70’s looking countertop that is white with silver sparkles through it!

  5. my husband is very interested in this. we’ve always wanted to update our ugly contertops and this product would be great for us. thank you for the idea.


  6. omgoodness! i have this countertop kit sitting (and collecting dust) in my garage. i actually got it for free about a year (maybe 2) ago.

    Your results are fantastic…

    Ive really (REALLY) got to do this to my countertops

  7. we want to update our counter tops in the kitchen. currently we have 70’s avocado and white rippled ceramic tile. The grout traps water and the counters aren’t level so water pools when it is washed down.

    I tried to find this product locally and found that it had been clearanced out – I was heart-broken.

    We are now looking at sheet formica. Can you share how you installed and finished the wood edge on your counter?

    Your kitchen is beautiful, thanks for sharing. – Jane

    • I tried to find this product locally and found that it had been clearanced out – I was heart-broken.

      The product is available online on Amazon for the same price, plus free shipping with prime.

      Countertop Transformation Kits Link

      Can you share how you installed and finished the wood edge on your counter?
      Your kitchen is beautiful, thanks for sharing. – Jane

      Thank you! We just trimmed the counters out with some leftover boards we had in the garage, we just stained them & cut them to fit. You put a little wood glue on the backside, attach with finish nails.

  8. my countertops have been painted over ceramic tile (previous owner) and the paint is peeling. the tile under the paint is glossy. i wonder if one of these kits would work on my countertop?

    has anyone had this happen?

    • I was just wondering how it would work on old Formica…perhaps you would need to remove the Formica??

      No, you don’t have to remove it, you have to sand the finish/shine off it first so the enamel paint will stick.

  9. that would be perfect to redo my kitchen along with some fresh paint on the walls. thanks for the step by step that helps a lot. definitely getting this done in next couple months will post photos when i do.

  10. I want to try this. I have been looking for yellow marble for 10 years and want a change. My cabinets are 70’s style and will be remodelled this year from denver renovations.Thanks for sharing and your post has given a idea about kitchen makeover in a budget.

  11. OMG you solved my horrible ugly kitchen counter problem. There’s no way that we could afford to replace out kitchen counters right now, but we can definitely afford to transform them with a kit like this! Thank you Budget101!

  12. Unless you can ingest the materials used for these pour-in countertops, I would not do this for surfaces that come in contact with food. Liquids that cure into solids still leach into other things. Evidence will be in whether a glass with a condensation ring is allowed to sit on this type of surface for multiple hours without causing a chalky appearance on the countertop surface – which is proof of breakdown of moisture barrier.

    • Thanks for sharing your concerns Joe. The countertop kits are specifically made for the purpose of refinishing counters and coming into contact with food items. Once they’re properly applied and cured, they’re quite safe.

      You cannot ingest granite or formica either, but these too are safe for contact with food.


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