How to Make Over a New Refrigerator to a Vintage Look


New refrigerators have very little in common with vintage models, especially on the outside. Vintage models used bright colors and unique handles for a fun design. Some models even featured wavy or geometric shapes on the front that gave the refrigerators more dimension. Get inspiration from photos and images of vintage fridges and use those photos as a basis for your design. Painting a design on the refrigerator gives it that vintage look you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Sponge
  • Soft cloth
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Appliance paint
  • Paint tray
  • Foam paint roller
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Unplug the refrigerator and remove any food from inside that needs refrigeration. Open the door and take off the handle, using the screwdriver for any screws holding the handle in place. Remove any hardware or decorative pieces, including the manufacturer’s label.

  • Clean the refrigerator with TSP and warm water. The TSP cuts through grease, food stains and other buildup on the outside of the refrigerator, but you can also use ordinary window cleaner. Rub a soft cloth over the refrigerator, removing any remaining TSP.

  • Sand the refrigerator with fine-grit sandpaper, gently roughening up the surface. Rub the refrigerator with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Wrap masking tape around the edges of the refrigerator to keep paint from dripping onto other surfaces.

  • Pour the epoxy appliance paint into a paint tray, which gives you more control over your painting. Apply an even layer of the paint on all areas of your refrigerator. Let the paint dry completely and paint one or two more coats, depending on the color you want.

  • Lay your handles and hardware on a sheet of newspaper. Gently shake the metallic spray paint and apply an even coat of the color onto the pieces. Once the handles and hardware dry, reattach to the refrigerator. The combination of a bright color on the bridge and the metallic handles gives it a vintage look.

Tips & Warnings

  • A bright shade of red, green, blue or yellow mimics the look of a vintage refrigerator.
  • If you want any type of design or pattern on the refrigerator, then create the pattern with pieces of masking tape. Paint over the tape with your different paint colors and remove the tape after the paint dries.


  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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