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Orange kitchen countertops are an abomination

We’re not talking a burnt orange color, although that would be equally hideous.  We’re talking neon, cones in the middle of the road orange.

This can not stand.

Tomorrow, I’m going to do something about it.  I am going to paint them.  You heard me, I’m going to paint the suckers a light cement gray.  It’s only temporary until I figure out what to replace them with but I can’t go another day with the negative afterimage I get when cooking.  Yes, the cabinets are going to get painted too. Not sure if I want an all white kitchen or a Tuxedo kitchen.  Thots?  (I’m going to have to get very creative with my budget to get anywhere near that kitchen but what the heck?  This kitchen can’t get worse.)


Update: A lot of you seem to be a.) alarmed with painting the countertop and/or b.) glamoured by granite.  To the paint phobes, don’t worry.  There’s a specific paint for laminate countertops and while it’s not perfect, this is only a temporary solution.  As to the granite option, not in my kitchen.  I don’t like granite, faux or real.  No granite in here, nosiree.  If that’s your thing, knock yourself out but I don’t want to have to wrap my kitchen around a granite countertop any more than I want to wrap it around an orange one.

There are alternatives that are budget friendly.  For example, butcher block.  See this video for an example.  Some people like concrete.  That’s a bit more work but it looks pretty good.  Stainless steel is also an option. You can get them from restaurant supply stores or have one made.  I happen to like solid surface and if I can afford it, that’s probably the way I’m going to go.

Here are a few more helpful tips for those of us who can’t afford to gut and renovate a kitchen from Canadian House and Home.  One of the first things I did when I moved in here was have task lighting installed in this kitchen.  Before, there was only one ceiling fan/light combo in the middle of the kitchen ceiling.  Since I needed an electrical contractor to update the outlets and other electrical in the kitchen anyway, I had him install 4 recessed lights in strategic areas.  It was a minor expense due to the other work that needed to be done and it has made instant impact.

I’ve also ordered new door fronts (shaker style) for all of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.  That was $300.  The reasoning is that although the cabinets are hideously ugly, they’re solid as a rock and not falling apart.  Better to just paint the s^&* out of them and slap a new door on them.  I’ve done this before in my previous house and it was a great cosmetic solution that I lived with for about 7 years before the cabinets really did need to be replaced.  The doors will be painted the same shade as the walls so the walls will look more continuous and not chopped up.  Eggshell finish on the walls, semi-gloss on the cabinets.  Same creamy white.  The door to the left in this pic is going to be painted a fresh green (Valspar Crocodile Smile)

The countertop is the only “?” at this point and I’m pretty pleased with my budget friendly options.

25 Responses

  1. Do not paint your counters!

    Go look at “Contact Paper” it’s kitchen safe and won’t chip when you set plates down. Also washable and scrubbable.

    It comes in a huge variety of colors. It was Wildly popular in the 1960s. Which you probably remember…..

    And will peel right off if you don’t like the roll you bought.

    You really won’t want to live with painted counter tops.

  2. I agree with katiebird, painting a formica countertop won’t work.

    Although you might not want to listen to me since we painted our kitchen cabinets almost that same orange. The floors and countertops are blue and the walls are yellow.

    • You guys need to chill. There’s a special paint made specifically for painting countertops. Besides, this is a temporary solution. There’s no fricking way I’m living with orange countertops I don’t care if the paint peels (reviews say it doesn’t) or not.
      This is not precious, vintage orange laminate. It’s getting painted.

  3. Yes you can paint countertops. Google it. The results are mixed. It has to be done well.

  4. I did my kitchen several years ago on the cheap and love it. Painted top cupboards white and the bottom ones teal. Bought all new handles of white and stainless and interesting drawer pulls of stainless. Try a bit of wallpaper in backsplash area to tie it together. For counters, try screwing and glueing up an oak trim piece on edge of counter so that it sticks up enough that you can glue tiles into/onto counter. Stagger the tiles like you do laying brick and looks great, much better than traditional tile laying. Or use a marble tiles or whatever and then seal the tile and grout. Inexpensive and looks great. On one house I remodeled, I bought poplar wood strips 1 x 1/4″ at Lowes and then tacked & glued them onto face of cupboard doors to look like the shaker style. Painted cupboards a putty color and the strips white. it was a great success. (Go to a millworks place to get the trim for counter, custom cut…. Maybe round the edge etc….. There is one on the Southside). Have fun…. Prep for painting is imperative. (There are good types of paint that could probably do fine on counter. I know people who painted tiles on floor in bathroom and has held up for a good while.)

    • Ok, that’s more like it. got any pics?
      BTW, I already ordered shaker doors for the cabinets. A few cabinets around the sink area will have glass inserts. I’ve used door replacements before and it’s amazing how a few hundred bucks can give your kitchen a brand new look.
      Of course, I’m going to end up painting my ass off for about a week.

      • No pics because I am on a trip and pics on other computer. I have stainless steel countertops. Over 60 years old and look great. These are heavy grade stainless. I will never replace them. Never worry about them and sink is integral to counter. I had track lighting put in by friend. Love it. Hard wood oak floors. 30years old still look great. Best floor I ever had in a kitchen.

  5. Consider the “painted granite” approach:



    Haven’t tried this myself, but the results look good in photos. It seems to me that faux stone might be more durable than the real thing. If you install real stone countertops, you’ll always be paranoid about scratches, gouges and marks. But it’s a simple matter to repaint a damaged area of paint.

    I like blue in a kitchen.

    The tuxedo approach always looks classy. You can’t go wrong with it. But it may clash with what you’ve got going on in adjoining rooms. I guess much depends on how visible the kitchen is from your living room.

    • I hate granite. I even hate real granite.

      • Really? I always took you for granite.

        • Nope. I can’t stand the stuff. Once you put granite in a kitchen, it instantly grabs the spotlight. I prefer countertop surfaces that play well with others. I don’t want tohave the same kitchen as everyone else on my block. I want a light and bright kitchen with soft neutral undertones. If you know of a granite that can deliver that, let me know but I don’t think it exists.
          I went to have my countertops measures today for my eventual selection and the kitchen designer asked me which granite I picked out. I told him no granite. He was really condescending. “SIX out of EIGHT people choose granite”.
          I told him that in a few years time, those 6/8 were going to be stuck with a very dated looking kitchen and an expensive piece of rock they can’t decorate around. They’ll pine for my creamy white kitchen with the neutral countertops but it will all be in vain.
          He looked pissed off, I drove him crazy for 45 minutes while he set me up for a laser measurement for some solid surface countertops. I might change my mind but not to granite. Can’t stand the stuff.

          • I’m glad you didn’t see that I had attempted a pun. You might have hired a hit man.

            One thing you and I have in common is that we aren’t rock fans.

  6. For permanent countertops, take a look at Wilsonite’s “formica” selections. Huge selection and many are very attractive. Also, you can now get them made with the same sort of edges you can get on granite or engineered stone. For painting cabinets, use Insl-X paint (you can have it tinted to any color you want) and be sure to use a wood filler first or else the wood grain will show through. You can also use Insl-X on the orange countertops while you’re waiting to decide on permanent countertop.

    • I hate granite. I hate GRANITE. I HATE granite. I HATE GRANITE.

      In case there was any ambiguity.

      I’m not doing formica. Yes, some of it is nice. But I’d rather buy a butcher block counter before I go laminate again. It’s not expensive and it adds a warm organic element to the kitchen.

      • Agreed, it’s not renewable, it requires attention and its getting used like styrofoam cups, even in my low end neighborhood.

        It has a place, but not most places.

  7. So it appears that your home is older and has a kitchen remodel in pretty good shape. The range and microwave are newer than the remodel and don’t fit with the style of the cabinetry. As I recall from your discussion over a sofa some time ago, and as you suggest above you, appear to prefer neutral colors and modern lines.

    However, it could cost more to replace the cabinets than the appliances. You could start looking for auctions and garage sales, which would probably secure you more period relevant items. So, just for giggles, and ideas, try this website:


    • Cool site, thanks for the link. I have a blue tiled bathroom I have to deal with.

      Yeah, I think it is possible to over renovate a kitchen. For example, I love the look of marble but I think it would look out of place in my kitchen unless I updated every other surface. At that point, the rest of my house wouldn’t fit.

      I do prefer neutral colors in fixed surfaces. That’s because you can change your mind about your accessories and everything will still work. So, I’d say more modern/classic is my style. For my sofa, I bought a Hovas from Ikea. It has a transitional sillouette but it can fit into many different styles. The great thing about it is the slipcovers are $49 a set. I have two sets right now, one that’s spotless white and my old set that’s about to be dyed a nice deep teal. If I want another color, I just buy another set and dye the old one.

  8. Actually, there are many faux treatments for counter tops if you do a search on the net and some are quite attractive for a quick cheap fix. I think we got ours for one of our rental properties at one of the Walmarts, It took my artistic daughter a few hours to do it. I love my own real granite counter tops and they are much more durable and practical than I thought they would be. We’re talking 2500 versus $90, however. That 60’s orange is a killer, though. We had large pink and orange flowers on the walls of one of our kitchens. It would have gone well with your counters.

    • I hope you aren’t under the impression that I want granite or a granite look and am secretly upset that I can’t afford it. Because nothing would be further from the truth. I realize that granite is wildly popular and everyone and their grandmother absolutely must have it. A few years ago, I came to the realization that I wasn’t ever going to be like other people and want what they want so why fight it? I ran into that problem when I was trying to sell my house with potential buyers turning down a perfectly good brand new, light neutral Corian countertop because it wasn’t some piece of cheap blotchy granite I was trying to pass off as high end. The new buyers just happened to hate granite too so there’s someone out there for every countertop.
      I just don’t like granite. I don’t like the look of it, the feel of it, the care and maintenance of it and especially not the price. I think people who are getting granite today are going to find it really dates their kitchen in a couple of years. Of course, that’s a lot less painful if you have a faux granite painted treatment. Then getting rid of it doesn’t cause nearly so many regrets. It was nice for awhile, you live with it, you replace it. No hard feelings. It’s just not for me.
      If you have an artistic kid (I do), they can make masterpieces out of belly button lint. You know what I’m talking about. But I’d rather put my resident artist to work creating original works of art for the walls and stick to more affordable natural materials like butcher block, concrete or stainless.

  9. I replaced a horrible old 1950s (yes, 1950s) counter with a granite-colored laminate. It looked so great people often mistook it for granite and needless to say it was a lot cheaper than granite. At the time (I’ve since moved), I had more of a Tuxedo kitchen, it retrospect, I’d have gone white with just the granite for contrast.

    • Oops, I see after posting that you don’t like granite, so never mind that, although I think the point about laminate remains. Personally, whether I like granite or not depends on the color of it. The faux laminate I had was kind of a cool black and white thing that looked good with the rest of the kitchen and, honestly, I probably liked it better because it was a reproduction on laminate (I’ve never had real granite, never felt the need). My fave thing about it was that it hid every spot and stain. Just looked like part of the pattern.

      • Oh and I have butcher block now. Not a fan. Constantly have to worry about getting something on it that stains or damaging it with a knife. Yes, I know that’s potentially a problem with laminate too, but for some reason it just bugs me more with the butcher block.

  10. Just another note. Go to a store like Builders Surplus. See what is cheap and interesting. It is amazing how that can focus your thinking. Have to be flexible. … A bit anyway. I found a cheap top kitchen cabinet with glass in doors. Bought and made kitchen work with that. It is a fun creative process. The less you spend the more you enjoy it. I like to travel and don’t want to spend much on house but like a nice place. Look in Craig’s list for stuff. Bought a clothes dryer for $50 bucks 20 years ago and it still is going strong.

  11. Off topic: I figure our Appleolatrous blogmistress will enjoy this. 😈

    Note: It’s a manga-style cartoon, so read the rightmost word balloon first.

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