How to paint a refrigerator

Have you ever looked at your refrigerator and thought it could use a fresh, new look? Painting your refrigerator can be a fun and cost-effective way to give it a makeover and add a personal touch to your kitchen. In this article, we will guide you through the process of painting a refrigerator step by step, from the materials you’ll need to the final touches. So let’s get started and transform your refrigerator into a unique piece that matches your style!

Can I Paint a Refrigerator at Home?

Yes, you can absolutely paint a refrigerator at home to give it a fresh, new look. Painting your refrigerator is a cost-effective way to update its appearance and add a personal touch to your kitchen decor. Whether you want to match it with your kitchen color scheme or create a unique focal point, painting a refrigerator can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. With the right materials, proper preparation, and careful execution, you can successfully paint your refrigerator and achieve professional-looking results.

Materials Needed

Before you begin, gather the following materials:

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  3. Tack cloth
  4. Painter’s tape
  5. Drop cloth or newspaper
  6. Primer
  7. Paintbrushes (foam brushes and a small roller)
  8. Acrylic or appliance paint
  9. Clear protective finish
  10. Respirator mask and gloves (for safety)


To ensure a successful paint job, proper preparation is key. Follow these steps:

  1. Empty the refrigerator: Start by removing all items from the refrigerator and temporarily storing them in a cooler or another fridge.
  2. Unplug and disassemble: Unplug the refrigerator and detach any removable parts such as shelves, drawers, and handles. Use a screwdriver to carefully remove them.
  3. Clean the surface: Thoroughly clean the surface of the refrigerator with a mild detergent and warm water. Remove any grease or dirt buildup and dry it completely.

Choosing the Right Paint

Selecting the right paint for your refrigerator is crucial to achieve a long-lasting and professional-looking finish. Consider the following factors:

  1. Acrylic or appliance paint: Look for paints specifically designed for metal surfaces or appliances. These paints are durable and resistant to chipping and peeling.
  2. Color options: Decide on the color that suits your kitchen’s aesthetic. You can choose a bold color to make a statement or opt for a neutral tone to blend in seamlessly.

Preparing the Refrigerator

Before you can start painting, prepare the refrigerator surface:

  1. Sand the surface: Use medium-grit sandpaper to roughen the surface of the refrigerator. This will help the paint adhere better. Sand in a circular motion and then switch to fine-grit sandpaper for a smoother finish.
  2. Wipe away dust: Use a tack cloth to remove any sanding dust. Ensure the surface is clean and free of debris before proceeding.

Priming the Surface

Applying a primer is essential for achieving a smooth and even paint finish. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Protect surrounding areas: Cover the floor and nearby surfaces with a drop cloth or newspaper to prevent accidental paint splatters.
  2. Apply painter’s tape: Use painter’s tape to mask off any areas you don’t want to paint, such as the door handles or control panel.
  3. Apply primer: Using a foam brush or roller, apply a thin, even coat of primer to the entire surface of the refrigerator. Allow it to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Painting Techniques

To ensure a professional-looking paint job, follow these techniques:

  1. Use thin coats: It’s better to apply multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat of paint. This helps prevent drips and allows for better control.
  2. Paint in sections: Start with one section of the refrigerator at a time, such as the front or sides. This will help you maintain an even finish and avoid overlapping brushstrokes.
  3. Work in one direction: Paint in smooth, even strokes, going from top to bottom or left to right. This technique ensures a consistent finish.

Applying the Paint

Now it’s time to add color to your refrigerator:

  1. Stir the paint: Before you begin, stir the paint thoroughly to ensure an even consistency.
  2. Apply the first coat: Using a foam brush or roller, apply the first coat of paint to the refrigerator. Work in thin, even layers, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.
  3. Repeat the process: Apply additional coats of paint until you achieve the desired color and coverage. Remember to allow drying time between coats.

Drying and Curing

After applying the final coat of paint, allow the refrigerator to dry and cure properly:

  1. Follow manufacturer’s instructions: Check the paint can for recommended drying and curing times. Follow these instructions to ensure the paint sets properly and becomes durable.
  2. Keep the area well-ventilated: Proper ventilation helps expedite the drying process. Open windows or use fans to promote air circulation.

Adding a Protective Finish

To protect the painted surface and make it more resistant to scratches and stains, apply a clear protective finish:

  1. Choose the right finish: Look for a clear protective finish that is suitable for the type of paint you used. Select a glossy or matte finish based on your preference.
  2. Apply the protective finish: Use a clean brush or roller to apply a thin, even coat of protective finish to the entire surface of the refrigerator. Allow it to dry completely.

Reassembling the Refrigerator

Once the paint and protective finish have dried, it’s time to reassemble the refrigerator:

  1. Replace removable parts: Carefully reattach shelves, drawers, and handles to their original positions.
  2. Check for proper alignment: Ensure all parts are aligned correctly and functioning properly before plugging in the refrigerator.

Cleaning Up

After completing the painting process, clean up the workspace:

  1. Dispose of materials properly: Dispose of used paint cans, brushes, and other materials according to local regulations.
  2. Clean brushes and tools: Clean your brushes and tools with soap and water or the appropriate cleaning solution.
  3. Remove painter’s tape: Gently remove the painter’s tape while the paint is still slightly tacky for clean edges.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional tips and tricks to enhance your refrigerator painting experience:

  1. Use a primer specifically designed for metal surfaces to ensure better adhesion.
  2. Allow ample drying time between coats to prevent the paint from peeling or cracking.
  3. Consider using stencils or painter’s tape to create patterns or designs on your refrigerator.
  4. Protect the painted surface from sharp objects and avoid using abrasive cleaning materials.
  5. Regularly clean the painted surface with a mild detergent and soft cloth to maintain its appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it take to paint a refrigerator? The time it takes to paint a refrigerator depends on various factors, such as the drying time between coats and the complexity of the design. Typically, the entire process may take a few days to a week to complete.

2. Can I paint a refrigerator with regular paint? Using regular paint on a refrigerator is not recommended, as it may not adhere well to the surface and could lead to chipping or peeling. It’s best to use paints specifically designed for metal surfaces or appliances.

3. Can I paint a stainless steel refrigerator? Yes, you can paint a stainless steel refrigerator. However, it’s important to properly prepare the surface by roughening it with sandpaper and applying a primer designed for metal surfaces.

4. Can I change the color of my refrigerator if it has a textured finish? Yes, you can change the color of a refrigerator with a textured finish. However, you may need to use a slightly thicker nap roller to ensure proper coverage and reach into the texture.

5. How do I maintain a painted refrigerator? To maintain a painted refrigerator, avoid using abrasive cleaning materials and harsh chemicals. Instead, clean the surface regularly with a mild detergent and soft cloth. Avoid placing sharp objects or magnets directly on the painted surface to prevent scratches.


Painting a refrigerator is a creative and rewarding DIY project that can transform the look of your kitchen. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can successfully paint your refrigerator and give it a fresh, new appearance. Remember to choose the right materials, prepare the surface properly, and apply the paint with care. With a little time and effort, you’ll have a beautifully painted refrigerator that adds a personal touch to your kitchen decor.

Sharing Is Caring:

The Howtowise team has helped thousands of homemakers fix their household problems with step-by-step tutorials. Howtowise has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.