This post is almost heresy, sshhhhh….
We replace laminate countertops all the time. Granite, cultured marble, composite, etc.
But fully replacing counters isn’t in everyone’s budget. Here are some less expensive DIY options for out-dated or really worn counters. (I will repeat the Do-It-Yourself part of that. Our crews don’t do this stuff.) Keep in mind that none of these options will last as long as full replacement, but they might buy you a year or two of good-looking surface. Tutorials for all of these methods are available on the Internet, just use your preferred search engine!
1. Paint! You can buy paint at your local box store made specifically for countertops. You can do a solid color (like black or gray), or use multiple colors to achieve a granite or marble LOOK.
2. Concrete skim coat. Particularly effective on square edges (really difficult–but not impossible–on rounded edges).
3. Chalkboard paint! Technically in the paint category, but cool enough to make its own item.
4. Pennies. Okay, if done properly, this one could last a very long time!
5. Self-adhesive film. I see you cringing. Yes, effectively contact paper BUT there are a few companies that make 26″ wide rolls that are for this purpose!