Contact paper is to design-savvy DIYers what salt is to cooks: an underrated workhorse that makes everything better in a pinch. We’ve seen people use a solid color to spruce up dated rental kitchen cabinets or a marble finish to upgrade countertops that have seen better days. However, the new wave of the fan-favorite adhesive doesn’t look like stone at all—it looks like wood. Not just any wood, burl wood. The classic 1970s material has been popping up more and more since last year, but furniture pieces made of the real deal (the part of a tree where the grain has grown deformed) can quickly get expensive. Recovering your existing furniture with a contact paper equivalent is a much more sustainable (you’re using what you already have!) and cost-effective (one roll will only set you back $15) method.

Burl wood contact paper applies the same way as any other version—as always, watch for air bubbles. Here, we’re highlighting three of our favorite furniture hacks using the stuff.

Yifely Brown Wood Grain Furniture Paper, Amazon ($15)
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The Dresser

To spice up an IKEA Brimnes dresser that was a little worse for wear, Jess Ferguson used burl printed ​​vinyl wrap. Same application, but this finish is a bit thicker—ideal for high-use furniture. She also upgraded the hardware. Yes, it’s the same piece!

The Vanity

During Amal Iqbal’s bedroom revamp, she realized that her Lucite console table was no longer her style. Cue the contact paper. One roll across the entire waterfall piece later, she created an entirely new look similar to trendy pieces that sell online for thousands. The curves of the console made application easier—no hard edges to worry about making crisp. 

The Bar Cabinet

Covering a thrifted cabinet with the mottled finish beats a flimsy bar cart any day. J of Our Modern Victorian Italianate had been scouring the Internet for an affordable burl wood storage piece for her living room, but the price was always too high. Now she has a cool conversation starter that guests will never guess isn’t real wood. 

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