DIY Painted Refrigerator

I am so excited to post this DIY project! It has been in the works for over a week now, so here goes=)

DIY Painted Refrigerator

(or, How to make your fridge look darling and retro instead of sad & tired)

Here it is, my perfectly adequate, functioning perfectly, perfectly boring refrigerator:

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Step 1/2: Gather supplies.

  • 1 quart paint color of your choice, in semi-gloss. I chose one with primer mixed in to skip the priming step and the texture was thick, almost like pudding! Yum. There are definitely fewer splatters with thicker paint, too.
  • Sandpaper, any grit
  • Soap & water
  • Painter’s tape
  • Xacto knife (optional, but helpful)
  • Small paint roller. I chose one with 3/8″ nap because our fridge is orange-peel textured and I knew I wouldn’t get a super-smooth finish. No need to use a foam roller!
  • Angled paint brush + teeny tiny paint brush (think watercolor size)
  • Paint tray. I’ve used paper plates and even tupperware bin lids before! I finally splurged on a reusable metal one during my last project.
  • Drop cloth. Plastic sheeting, towel, old sheet, doesn’t matter, as long as it protects your flooring.
  • Nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and Q-tips (for cleanup!)

And that’s it! Since I already had a lot of these things on hand, my supplies cost $17 total at Lowe’s (paint and paint roller).

Step 1: Lightly sand the surface of the fridge.

Don’t ask me what grit sandpaper I used, because I don’t know! It’s whatever I found in the garage. I could tell it was working because little piles of metallic-smelling dust gathered on the floor. Yuck, I probably should have put my dropcloth beach towel down before this step. After sanding, I used a soapy rag to wash down the surfaces of the fridge, and rinsed with a wet rag afterwards. Wait for it to dry before moving to Step 2.

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I’m not sure how long I sanded each side. I was good and sweaty by the end of it, though!

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Step 2: Tape off the parts you don’t want to paint.

For me, this was the handles, gaskets, and Whirlpool logo on the front. I used an xacto knife to cut excess tape from around the logo, because I’m good like that. Also, I DID NOT paint the metal that the gaskets close against. Basically, I kept paint off of the rubber gaskets and off of what the rubber touches, in order to keep the seal nice & tight. Do I really know if paint will interfere with the seal? No. But it’s better to be safe than sorry! This just means that when I open the fridge doors there is a 1/2″ of white in a ring around the opening.

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Step 3: Mix your paint and prep the roller by thoroughly saturating it in the paint. Start painting!

Yep, it’s that easy. I painted three coats even though I could have stopped after 2. I already had the paint in the pan so why not! I used Valspar’s Turquoise Tint mixed in Olympic ONE Paint+Primer from Lowe’s.

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Yes, at this point it’s going to look like a hot mess. Don’t freak out! Break out a beer and make sure something funny is on TV. Last night my combination was Miller Light, Big Bang Theory, and Cougar Town. Also, there’s definitely some maneuvering in order to cover everything in paint – for example, opening the doors to paint their tops and bottoms meant that the tape along the gaskets would be disrupted, so I saved that for last. I used my angled brush and also a TEENY TINY watercolor brush to paint around things that couldn’t easily be taped, like the hinges.

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After the first coat:

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After the third coat, and removing the tape:

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Step 4: Clean up!

I am by no means good at painting. I have the enthusiasm and the desire, but not the skillz. So, after taking off the painter’s tape, I had to deal with stuff like this:

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That’s paint on top of the gasket, in case you can’t tell. This kind of thing could definitely end up interfering with the fridge’s ability to stay closed & sealed, so not good! After madly hunting for the nail polish remover that I SWEAR I HAVE SOMEWHERE, I grabbed rubbing alcohol and some Q-tips and got it cleaned up. It took a little soaking and a little scrubbing, but eventually the paint came off the no-no spot. You can also see in the “after” pic what I mentioned above about not painting the part of the fridge that the gasket sits against, instead leaving a ring of white around each door opening.

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I also used my teeny-tiny paint brush to go along edges that hadn’t been fully painted due to wonky tape placement. Here’s a before and after of the opening-side of the freezer door, see how much sharper the edge looks?

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After taking the tape off of the logo. MAN I’m good! I take back what I said earlier about not having mad painting skillz. I totes do.

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Through a combination of taping and painting with the teeny-tiny brush, the handles turned out smashing. The non-paint splattered, bright white kind of smashing!

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I have a confession to make. Because I am a female, cleaner, nice-smelling version of Larry the Cable Guy, my motto for DIY projects is, “Git ‘her DONE!” And so last night after moving the fridge back into place, in the spirit of “gitting ‘er done” I put the top cabinet back up. You can probably tell that this cabinet doesn’t actually hook to the wall, it just rests on top the fridge. I’ve been meaning to install it but haven’t gotten around to it. It’s on my list! Anyway, in putting it on the newly-painted fridge, I scraped some of the paint off the top. I guess that’s why you’re supposed to let paint cure before messing with it? Huh! Anyway, thankfully I had the roller still handy and touched them up. No harm no foul! Now I swear I’m not touching it again until the paint is cured (2-3 days according to the can). The cabinet is resting on top of a towel until then, too.

(I also put the cabinet back up upside-down. There’s a blasted screw sticking out of the bottom of it just begging to scratch my new paint further, and in trying to get it out I managed to strip the head. So, I just flipped the cabbie over and now the screw points towards the ceiling, like a defiant middle finger. Does anyone really care if it’s right-side-up? Nope!)

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This is where you step back and admire your handiwork! And it is just beautiful. My turquoise paint color is chameleon, depending on the shadows and light source (artificial vs. natural, or both), it looks like different colors.

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My helpers! NOT. They so did not help at all. Luke got paint on his nose from sniffing the fridge while it was wet, and Emma peed on the ottoman approximately 30 seconds after I took this picture. Weenies.

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Remember how I said that turquoise should be my signature color? Here are some other turquoise things I have in the kitchen/living room that tie in to the new, fabulous refrigerator. 

A turquoise bus full of dogs in my living room gallery wall:

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My beautiful turquoise mason jar light fixture:

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My pair of turquoise foo dogs from TJ Maxx, sitting on my “hopeful for springtime” winter mantle:

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I am beyond thrilled with how this project turned out! In 4 hours with less than $20 I created something that will make me smile every time I see it. I call that success=) Happy DIY! One last time:

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xo,

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97 thoughts on “DIY Painted Refrigerator

      • Hi, we just finished DIYing our kitchen (zinc bar, tiled the counters and hand-painted the Home Despot cabinets). We are considering painting the fridge, but my concern is a paint that adheres to the vinyl coated door. Has your paint flaked or peeled?

      • Hi! Thanks for stopping by. The paint has no flaked or peeled – the only issue I’ve encountered is when it is directly scratched by a hard object. The paint does come off in this scenario. A few commenters recommended finishing the fridge with a clear-coat poly and letting it cure for a week or so before putting it back in a high-traffic area. I haven’t tried this but I imagine it would work well! Also, using designated “appliance paint” would fix the scratching as well. I did not use appliance paint because I wanted a color that does not come standard. Let me know if you have any other questions, thanks!:)

      • I was just wondering if I can use white appliance paint but have the paint guy/girl add the color in it like they do with the other paints for walls? I’ll ask the Home Depot crew! AND wondering if I can paint the stove to match?

      • I have no idea if you can tint appliance paint but if yes that sounds awesome!! Also if painting a stove make sure the paint you use is rated for high heat- the metal on a stovetop gets substantially hotter than the metal on a refrigerator. Let me know what you find out!

      • Hi! On my kitchen walls I use Olympic kitchen & bath paint. It’s a bright white semi-gloss paint that covers amazingly & cleans well. I use it for both the white walls & white trim in my home!

    • I’m not gonna lie, it didn’t turn out *perfectly* – but in order to get perfect I would have had to drop several hundred bucks at an appliance paint shop, and that was just not in the budget! I figure if it gets dinked or scratched I can touch it up with a little brush, and eventually repaint the whole dang thing if I feel like it. And I am LOVING the turquoise, it makes me so happy… So do it!! Go for red, and let me see the pictures! I want two fridges so that I can have a red one, too=P For the amount of time and $$ it took (which was totally minimal), I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. Appliances should be fun, no? =)

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  3. I’ve been trying to research painting my fridge – its a terrible off-white color. But it has a place to get ice/water from the front of the door! I’m not sure what to do about that…. but this was very helpful. Thanks.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial! I would imagine that taping around the ice dispenser – the same way I did around the handles and seals – would do the trick. Pick an adorable color and have fun:) I want to see your pictures!

  4. Incredible…fantastic job…….gives me the gumption to give it a go…thnx for sharing, Love & Blessings to you/yours…

  5. I LOVE the color! What a great POP in your kitchen. Can I just add one thing? From the pictures it looks like the majority of your kitchen is on the other side of the fridge. Would it be more convenient if you put the handles on the other side so that it opened the other direction? Just a thought. Your color almost makes me wish I had an old fridge that needed painting! :)

  6. It turned out awesome! I’ve been wanting to paint my fridge but have been a little scared to do so, after reading this post I think I can handle it. Thanks for sharing :)

    • You’re so welcome!! Out of all of my projects so far, my turquoise fridge is my favorite:) I’ve been meaning to post a followup, sort of a “how is it holding up after a few months” deal, because the paint HAS nicked in a few places around the edges where the fridge is banged into. A little brush and a pot of matching paint and it’s good as new!

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  8. Hannah I was so happy to feature your fridge make over! It’s completely awesome and fit right into my post. I’m new to blogging and I was so excited for that post, it’s my favorite one so far. Happy blogging my bloggin’ sista! Come over any time ;)

  9. Totally love this. What a gorgeous color. I wish I had a fridge to paint now. I really like the turquoise too, infact I painted our entire family room in this color. I think people thought I was crazy, but I am seeing a trend with this color lately.

    • Thanks for commenting! I absolutely love this color of turquoise. I would paint an entire room turquoise if I had a space that I thought could handle it! I’d love to see your family room. I bet it’s fabulous! =)

    • Thanks for commenting! I used Valspar’s Turquoise Tint color, mixed in semi-gloss Olympic ONE Paint + Primer. I bought it at Lowes’s in a quart size, it was about $13? The price of paint goes up and down:)

  10. I just found you through Pinterest, and love how this turned out! I’m going to have to read through the rest of your blog now :).
    If you don’t mind my asking, how well has the paint been holding up? I’m going to try this on an old mini fridge we salvaged from an office remodel.
    P.S. I’m glad to hear my dog isn’t the only one who goes straight for the fresh paint… Haha.

    • Hi! I’m glad you found my blog and are enjoying it so far! I’ve actually been planning on writing a follow-up post on how the painted fridge is doing, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. There are a couple scratches on the square edges of the door which should be easy to fix with a small brush and a pot of paint. We are hard on our appliances here:) I was worried that it would scratch worse than it has- I guess my sanding paid off!

  11. It’s AWESOME! I like the color, like ur idea.
    BTW, what’s breed of the white&brown hair dog?Is that mixed in long hair dachshund?looks adorable.

  12. HI Hannah

    I saw this post on Pinterest and found it so helpful – great looking fridge, too! One quick question that I hope isn’t too stupid…is the fridge still magnetic after painting, or would I have to use a magnetic primer?

    Thanks so much!

    • It’s still magnetic! I was a little worried because all of the tutorials I saw used magnetic primer- but they also used chalkboard paint, which is substantially thicker than the semigloss that I chose. Three coats of semigloss later and I can still stick up my siblings’ pictures, I call that a good deal:)

  13. You could help protect it from nicks and scratches by applying a coat of polyurethane. I painted my KitchenAid mixer a few years ago and the poly kept it scratch-free and looking great!

    • That’s a great idea, I hadn’t even thought of adding a clear top coat! The poly would probably need a little longer to cure than the paint, but better protection from scratches makes it worth it… I actually have a quart of poly in my garage, I think I’ll try this on the door and see what I think:)

  14. For years I have wanted to paint my fridge, I want all red appliances, and with what I do have, the fridge sticks out like a sore, (quite beat up) thumb. I am off to buy the paint and tackle this project on the next kid-free day I have…..guess I better line up a babysitter too……

  15. I’m remodeling my kitchen and gonna do my refrigerator Pink to match my kitchen aid mixer.walls really pale pink
    and cabinets 2 different shades of gray. Hope it all turns out like I think it will. Thanks for info on painting my frig..Love the Turquoise tho.

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  17. Bought a new frig yesterday. Wanted black, but longer back order soooo I got white. Guess what? As soon as they deliver it…I am painting it. Now I have to decide between red and turquoise. I’m think in’ turquoise. Yours looks fab.

  18. Love it. I plan to paint my fridge Tiffany Box Blue and seal it with Polycrylic polyurethane. How is yours holding up?

    • I need to write a followup post on how it’s doing this far later…the paint is holding up great! There are a few scratches, mainly around the front edges where it’s easiest to run into the fridge when walking past carrying something. You’re planned on sealing it with poly- that should definitely prevent nicks and scratches! Let me know how it goes!:)

  19. Hi! I just found your blog and so far I am loving it! I have a black fridge and have been trying to find out if I could paint it. Do you know anything about that? I’d assume primer would be necessary but I didn’t even know if it was possible. I’m thinking either aqua or red!

    • I’m so glad to hear that you want to add some color to your fridge! I would definitely use a primer, since you’re covering such a dark color. Also, a couple commenters have mentioned using a clear polyurethane “top coat” for extra durability. I skipped that step on my fridge makeover and do have a few scratches already. I’m so excited to hear what color you end up going with! It’s such a fun, unexpected pop of color to have. Good luck!

  20. Enjoyed your writing, made me laugh. Would love an update w/ photos of scratches, etc. Just think it may not adhere for longevity..Good tutorial, thinking of giving it a try. All the best, Chandler

  21. I’m glad I found this tut.. your frig. looks fabulous.. have you tried a magnet on it yet? wondering what happens. Oh, did you know you can paint the Mixer also? would be cute in turq.

    • OMG I haven’t even thought of painting the mixer! That would be adorable! Also, magnets work just fine on the fridge. The paint didn’t hurt that at all. I think if you used something thicker – like chalkboard paint – it might though. Trial and error!

  22. Hello Hannah .. I love your DIY on the refrigerator. I was telling my husband how I wish our fridge wouldnt be so boring and ugly!., so I started looking on pinterest for ideas and ran into ur before and after picture !! We are both psyched at how awesome cheap and easy it is! I’m so happy I found you! Hehe :) we’re deffinetaly gonna steal ur DIY project! lol but we have a quick simple question, did you use Latex paint!? thank you :)

  23. Omg, this turquoise fridge basically just made my day! I just finished painting a cute little table and chair set turquoise and I can’t wait till I can do this project. Thank you for sharing this!!!!! I’m so in love with this idea.

  24. Thanks so much for the tutorial! Quick question, do you think there is something that can be added over the color to protect the paint? I was going to spray paint my fridge but am not sure after I saw how great your cames out. Thanks

    • Hi, thanks for commenting! I know that there are clear finishes – almost like a nail polish top coat – that can be used. Try asking at your local Lowes or Home Depot what they’d recommend. Also, I’m not sure if that changes the curing time at all – if you have a high-polish clear finish, you definitely don’t want to risk scratching or dinging it!

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  26. So you don’t need to use a special appliance paint? I want mine red, but haven’t been able to find anything except boring white, beige, and black.

    • Hey girl! Thanks for stopping by:) I used a regular semigloss wall paint from Lowes. You can have it tinted any color you want!! Make sure you sand & prep the surface before painting it is that the paint sticks well. Some commenters have suggested following it up with a clear acrylic afterwards, kind of like a top coat on nail polish. Good luck!

  27. Not only did you teach me a lot but listening to your tutorial cracked me up! Thanks for the great ideas and laughs! I have a question though…. Did you use
    Paint specific for metal? And has your fridge scratched easily since?

  28. Good concept to color your fridge. The color combination looking so good. The whole concept of process is well represented.

    Thanks and Regards
    frost-frigobar(dot)com Italy

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  30. Do you think this would work on a black fridge if I was going with a dark cream color and applied numerous coats?

  31. This is the best site ever! You are so helpful with directions & the photos are superb! I have wanted to do this for so long but scared to death to even try! Thank you!

  32. I love this idea! I just may do this to our freezer. Oh by the way I love your dachshunds. I have 3 myself.

  33. I absolutely love this! You did a great job! Inspires me to do something similar…..Pottery Barn Teen sells the little dorm fridge for $199 — who can afford that for a dorm room? — why not buy one of the inexpensive ones at Lowe’s or wherever and paint it yourself?! Save a lot doing it this way and when it’s time to bid farewell, you haven’t dumped a fortune into it! My daughter loves the idea because I told her NO to the $200.00 one at PB Teen!!! Thanks for sharing!

  34. I bought a compact fridge for my seamstress shop and looked up how to paint it while in Walmart. Came across you blog. 8 hours later I have a pink fridge! 😊

  35. Hannah, so FAB… So happy to see your success..since we just purchased a beach condo in Fl. and I have dreamed of a pink fridge in a beachy kitchen.. my wall colors are going to be the aqua blues, my cabinets are white…so I see a can of paint in my future..! Your fridge makes me smile too !

  36. I am getting ready to do this project myself but was wondering if after u painted l was the surface of the fridge still magnetic?

    • Yes! The paint layers were thin enough that the fridge surface remained magnetic. If you used a thicker paint, like chalkboard paint, it might help to use a magnetic base coat. Otherwise, don’t worry about it!

      • Could you tell me how long to wait in between coats? I’m on my first coat of RED right now. Just want to know long to wait before my second.

      • Thanks so much! FYI red is a pain to paint! Have lost count on what coat I am on. Resting for the night and finishing tomorrow.

  37. I’m doing my fridge tonight and came across your blog when I was looking up how to do it and after seeing yours I know I won’t have any regrets!!! What a beautiful job!!!

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  40. Hi there, this Is perfect. I bought $100 fridge from a fishing lodge today for our new house and I am going to paint it up. I would also like to paint the handles a separate color from the fridge. Any suggestions? Do you think semi-gloss would work? Thanks for teaching us all how to do this!

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