10 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Contact Paper

Tired of that drab looking bookshelf? Maybe your home office desk needs a bit of an update. Enter Con-Tact (the brand name) paper, otherwise known as self-adhesive paper—an inexpensive, DIY-friendly option that can transform the look of a room or a piece of furniture. Here are some ideas for inspiration.

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About the Name

First, let’s get the name right. Most people refer to self-adhesive paper used to line shelves and more as “contact paper.” That’s because the trademark name, Con-Tact Brand, represents the product that has been around for more than 40 years and is the major player in the self-adhesive paper category. We’ll call it self-adhesive paper unless we’re referring to the specific brand.

And a note of caution: Be aware that self-adhesive paper can be difficult to remove, depending on what surface you apply it to. Before attaching it to any wall, cabinet or piece of furniture, do a quick search online to see what methods of removal are recommended. Some removal techniques includes applying heat with a hairdryer, and using a scraper and adhesive remover. Also consider products specifically labelled as “removable.”

Here are 14 not-tacky ways to use self-adhesive paper!

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Create a Memo Board

If you haven’t looked at Con-Tact paper in a while, you might be astonished at all of the different patterns now available. Try using removable chalkboard Con-Tact paper to create a memo board or message center. Just cut out a piece and attach it to your refrigerator so you’ll always have a place to jot down your grocery list, phone numbers or a quick note to family members. You could also use chalkboard self-adhesive paper on a wall and encourage family members to show off their creativity with drawings.

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Use as a Backsplash

Does your kitchen or bathroom need a splash of color? Use some self-adhesive paper such as this circle print design to create a temporary backsplash. This option comes in handy if you’re renting and want to give your kitchen or bath a fresh look, or if you’re having a hard time deciding what type of permanent backsplash you want to add to your home.

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Create the Look of Marble or Granite

Get the look of pricey granite or marble in just minutes with self-adhesive paper. Use this decorative self-adhesive paper to cover an old nightstand, inexpensive trash cans or even a tabletop—any object with a smooth surface. Here are eight easy faux-marble DIY projects for you to consider.

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stone-look self adhesive paper
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Add to a Bookshelf

Transform an old bookshelf with some self-adhesive paper. Find a style of paper that works with your decor, remove the shelves and attach the self-adhesive paper to the back of the cabinet, for depth or a pop of color that will show between the books and photo frames.

You can make these simple box shelves.

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Update a Desk or Dresser

Self-adhesive paper is also an easy DIY way to update the look of your desk or dresser. Remove handles or knobs and add some paper to the front of the drawers. This customized piece of furniture could become your new favorite!

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Get Creative with Shapes

A Cricut knife will allow you to cut any self-adhesive paper into precise shapes and sizes. Use these shapes to create one-of-a-kind home decor with the paper. Create a wall hanging, attach cutouts to an old vase or decorate wood furniture.

Here’s the perfect crafting worktable, built from Ikea shelves.

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accent wall
UnitedPhotoStudio1/Getty Images

Create an Accent Wall

Use self-adhesive paper to create a standout accent wall. Whether you use solid sheets or cut out patterns, it’s an inexpensive way to change the look of your room. Consider clouds, polka dots or stripes.

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Make Photo Frames

Find some favorite photos and use self-adhesive paper to create photo frames. Cut out space for the photo and use the paper to frame the photo and attach it to a board you’ve painted or stained. You can also use self-adhesive paper to give tired frames a new look. Try wood grain self-adhesive paper over an old painted wood or metal frame.

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Learn how to DIY a picture frame:

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Cover an Old Appliance

Do you have an older appliance you plan to replace, but need to live with for a bit longer? Use shiny, stainless steel-looking self-adhesive paper to cover the front of a dishwasher or even your refrigerator.

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Make a Room Divider

If you have old CDs or DVDs you no longer want, use self-adhesive paper to cover them and create a room divider. Start by covering the discs with self-adhesive paper. Then, drill four holes in each disc—one on the top, bottom and each side. You should end up with four holes equally spaced toward the outside edge of each disc. Tie fishing line to attach the discs to one another and hang them between rooms, or as a wall hanging.

Consider these 14 fun ways to decorate your home with cactus plants.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.