Appliance Refinishing

a hand spray painting a white surface with colors

As times change and styles evolve, some of your appliances may begin to look outdated. They're expensive to replace, though, and you don’t want to drop that kind of money if your machine is still in perfect working order. That’s where appliance refinishing comes into play—a great way to change up the look and style of your spaces with just a few simple alterations.

Painting Appliances

Repainting an appliance is a cheap, fast way to make it really pop. Especially in a room with mostly neutral-colored surfaces, painting an appliance in a bold hue can liven the space right up.

Painting your oven, fridge, microwave, or washing machine is not a permanent fix (all paint jobs will need touching up eventually), but it's a simple way to transform old, run-down looking items into catchy conversation pieces.

To paint any of these appliances, you’ll need to buy a heat-resistant variety specifically made for this purpose. Typically, spray painting is the best option with these items. Heat-resistant semi-gloss paint is also available. If you do opt for the semi-gloss paint, keep in mind it shouldn’t be used on appliances that get very hot, like an oven, and should instead be used on appliances such as your refrigerator, which emit some heat but not much.

a red refrigerator near brick and ivy

Clean and Strip

To paint your appliances, first unplug them and move them well away from the wall. If possible, move your appliance outside and paint it there. If you're stuck inside, cover all nearby items in the room with a drop material, open all the windows you can, and run some fans for proper ventilation.

Clean your appliance thoroughly to remove any debris or built up grime. Then, let it dry thoroughly. This step is important, because if you don’t get all debris off the appliance and then allow it to dry, the paint will have trouble sticking.

Take off all of the hardware and handles you can remove from the appliance. If you can’t get something off, cover it to keep it from ending up painted.

If you’re going with spray paint, begin applying it in light, consistent coats, waiting about 15 minutes between each to allow it to dry slightly. Note that you do not need to use a primer here. Typically, three or four coats is enough to cover your appliance. Allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours before reinstalling your appliance.

If you opted for semi-gloss paint, apply the coats with a manual paint brush, basically following the same procedure. Just keep in mind that this process will be a bit more time consuming than the spray method.

Once your appliance is dry, replace all the hardware. Move it back to its original spot and plug it back in, testing it to make sure all the plugs and wires were put back correctly.

a heart drawn with colorful chalk

Appliance Refinishing Ideas

Since refrigerators tend to be the easiest appliance to paint, this is where you can have some real fun. Besides the idea of painting yours a bright color, you could instead opt for chalkboard paint, making this common household appliance a living work of art or ever-present memo board in your kitchen.

Another creative idea is to use contact paper designed as a fridge overlay to give your appliance—and kitchen—a fresh new look. You can opt for stainless steel contact paper for a more modern look, or really go with something out of the box, like paper in a funky geometric pattern.

And the wacky surfaces don't stop there! These days you can paint your appliances with metallic finishes, magnetic white board material, or even solar panels!