Transform an Old Fridge

2 Materials
2 Days
A client of mine lives in a studio apartment in Queens. His space is very industrial -dark gray ceiling, metal cubes for a coffee table, and he even poured his own concrete floors to add to the industrial look he is going for. So, when faced with what to do about his out-dated white appliances, we decided to paint his fridge instead of getting him a new one! There are a few products out there that promise stainless steel like finishes because they actually contain real stainless steel pigments! I tried Rustoleum's Stainless Steel appliance paint. The can promises a "single application" and although that is far from the truth, the outcome is pretty good if you have the patience for several coats. In the end, we took an old 80's apartment sized fridge and updated its look for the cost of a can of paint.
MATERIALS: 4" roller tool 4" foam roller (later on in the project I switched to a regular roller) Angled paint brush Paint Tray Rust-Oleum's Stainless Steel paint Black spray paint (optional) Phillips head screwdriver Wrench Respirator
STEP 1: We started out with an all white fridge. The product states that if you're painting an appliance there is no need for primer. I decided to follow the instructions, but I wonder if that's why I had to apply 3-4 coats.
STEP 2: Next step was to clean the outside of the fridge thoroughly. I used a simple solution of vinegar and water. It removed a lot of the old grime that can burry itself into the little grooves of the fridge. STEP 3: Next I opened the product and poured a little into a paint tray. This is very stinky, so wear a respirator if you can't haul your fridge outside!
STEP 3: Remove the doors. Different fridges will require different tools for this step; I had to use both a wrench and a Phillips head screw driver. I put all the hardware to the side.
STEP 4: I removed the white handles and, instead of painting them stainless steel as well, I decided to paint them a glossy black. I set them aside to dry.
STEP 5: I was finally ready to paint. The product contains real stainless steel pigment, so that's pretty cool! It's a very stinky paint, so if you can't haul your fridge outside, make sure you wear a respirator.
STEP 6: I started with my brush and trimming out all the smaller area around the open spaces.
STEP 7: After attempting to just cut the paint, I decided to tape it off first and then paint the smaller areas. I wanted to see how meticulous I could get with this paint job; I didn't want it looking sloppy.
STEP 8: After 2 coats, this is what the fridge looked like. Since the instructions said it was an "easy single application" I was shocked to see it look this patchy. I decided to switch from a foam roller, like the instructions called for, to a regular roller. After I made this switch, the paint went on much better. Dry times also took awhile, so take that into account.
STEP 9: After about 4 coats, I put all the hardware back on, put the doors back on the fridge, and got ready to step back and take in handy work!
STEP 10: I put the handles back on and it looked great!
The result is pretty spot on!

Resources for this project:

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 43 questions
  • Kathryn Kathryn on Aug 16, 2021

    I have a plastic or vinyl covering on my refrigerator. I would not be painting on metal. Can I use this process on my refrigerator?

  • Gourmetartwork Gourmetartwork on Oct 13, 2021

    Did the one can of paint last for all four coats you applied? Thanks

  • Char Char on Oct 13, 2021

    Wow! I never knew there was such a paint. What a difference. I wonder how it will hold up over time. You know, chips, knicks and such. But GREAT job, looks awesome!


Join the conversation

5 of 173 comments
  • Joanna Smith Joanna Smith on Oct 15, 2020

    Nice upgrade! Like getting a brand-new frig! Here's MY upgrade.

    • See 2 previous
    • Car7638981 Car7638981 18 hours ago

      I used contact paper with a daisy design & it lasted for many, many years until Hurricane Katrina drowned it ☹

  • Merry Merry on Oct 13, 2021

    I think it’s a great idea!