Transform an Old Fridge

4 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.

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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!

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  • Jenny Jenny on Feb 05, 2022

    Did you buy new handles, assuming they are plastic or just painted them black? Amazing job, I’d have panicked at one coat, but you held your nerve even though it needed FOUR coats - great job. My fridge is already silver and I want it black - is there a black paint out there to do what you’ve done, ditto my silver washing machine?

    10/10 😊

  • Ali12832338 Ali12832338 on Feb 05, 2022

    What type of respirator did you use?

  • DC DC on Feb 18, 2024

    Just wondering, how has the paint held on over the past few years? Were you able to wash it regularly? Also, I noticed that you did not paint the hardware, other than the handles, was it a choice or an impossibility regarding painting the still white hardware?

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  • Rehead Remakes Rehead Remakes on Dec 29, 2023

    Wow! It's amazing what paint can do! It looks awesome!

  • Judymorgan842 Judymorgan842 on Apr 12, 2024

    Also.... Another way to refresh your refrigerator is to cover it with VINYL peel and stick wallpaper. There are so many colors and patterns to choose from. And you can peel it off and change it if you ever want to. The vinyl is easy to wipe down and keep clean. I did this to mine and I'm very happy with the results.