October 26, 2016

Updating our 70's Fridge with DIY Paint: A How To Guide

Our house was built in 1957 and remodeled in 1980 when they put a brand spankin' new Whirlpool Mark I refrigerator in. But now that it's 2016, that almond color was just not in style anymore. It actually works perfectly fine and keeps things super cold, but that color was just awful. We looked into replacing it with a new stainless or black one, but we just couldn't justify getting a new one when the one we had was only aesthetically displeasing. So I did some research and decided I was going to DIY a paint job.

If you didn't catch  our full kitchen reveal the other day, go check it out. 13 weeks of work got us from 0 to 60 in no time, and we have big plans for some more updates down the road. The black fridge ties in the color palette for the kitchen and matches the black stove. If you don't get any further, the whole process took a total of 2 days, most of which was drying time and cost $16.

The first thing we did was clean the entire fridge. Ours looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the 80's so we picked up a degreaser (98¢), wiped it off and then washed it with soap and water. Rustoleum recommends that you clean it with just soap and water and do not prime it. For whatever reason, the epoxy sticks better when there is no primer.

The best option I found was Rustoleum Black Appliance Epoxy fro $4 at Walmart. There was also a stainless steel color, but we decided on the black because all of the other appliances were black.

Move your fridge to an outdoor space! I promise you won't regret it. I read countless stories about how the mist traveled to other surfaces when they painted it inside and it only comes off with mineral spirits. Not to mention this stuff is very fume-y. I had to take multiple breaks because I started getting dizzy even though I was outside. So be safe you guys.

I started on the side that wasn't going to be seen and at the bottom. This just gives you time to get into a rhythm and paint evenly. I did horizontal strokes across the whole side, lifting off the nozzle after each stroke. Not continuously spraying keeps the paint from gathering on the nozzle and getting big splotches everywhere. It also helps if you buy the $7 clip on spray paint comfort grip, it will make your life 20x's easier and you can use it for projects in the future.

I did one coat of the entire thing, let it dry for an hour, and then put another one on, totaling 2 coats. It took 2 and 1/4 cans to do the entire fridge, including the top and back. So we used a total of 4 cans with about half a can left over.  After I covered the entire fridge twice, we let it dry outside for 24 hours and then I did some touch ups, and finally let it dry for another 24 hours. Don't forget to paint the top! I thought I was completely done and then Auston asks me if I was going to do the top. Go figure that he would notice it because he's tall, I just couldn't see it haha.

Not bad for a $16 paint job right? It feels and looks like it came that way which is all I was hoping for. It now fits in with the finishes we have in the kitchen and we didn't have to put a dent in our wallet. You can still see the inconsistencies that showed up on the original color, but the black masks most of it. I will admit that I did stare at the almond fridge for a few weeks just afraid to start. It's a big piece of the kitchen and I was afraid that I would mess it up! I'm trying to work on that, not being afraid to start something in fear of it not living up to the image in my mind. When I finally decide to start, I am always glad with the result. I guess I just have to trust myself a little more ya know?

Do you have any projects on your list but you're just too afraid to start? I know I have, but I'd love to know how you stop the planning phase and start the doing phase. Let me know your secrets.


  1. Just moving into a rental that hasn't been updated since the 80's. I've bartered a living situation in exchange for no rent, I will freshen up the place. Needs ALOT of freshening up, lol. This will help. THANK YOU!

  2. Wow, very nice thanks for sharing the pictures. After painting it looks as a brand new and attractive refrigerator. What is the refrigerant gas used in the refrigerator.

  3. Nice article, Which you have shared a here about the Fridge painting. Your article is very interesting and I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing this article here. Samsung RF28HFEDBSR Energy Star 28 Cu. Ft. French Door Refrigerator

  4. How’s the paint job holding up?

  5. 134a refrigerant is an excellent choice for new fridges, as it can be found in a wide variety of models. It is also a good choice for replacing old freon-based refrigerants, as it has a much lower global-warming potential. Additionally, 134A refrigerant has a high refrigerant capacity, meaning it can cool effectively, even in the hot summer months.


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