Low-Tech Appliance Makeovers

Are your appliances starting to look a bit tired, but you don’t want to replace them? Give them a fresh look with these low-tech makeovers. They’re easy on the pocketbook and will perk up your kitchen and laundry room.

Paint Your Appliances

Painting appliances is one way to create a modern look, hide marks and discoloration, or unify the room’s appliance color scheme. To be successful, you need to use the right paint for your appliance.

Appliance Paint

Rust-Oleum, Krylon, and Giani are three popular appliance paint brands for refrigerators, dishwashers, and laundry machines. Rust-Oleum and Krylon paints are available in black, white, bisque/biscuit, and almond, in both brush-on and spray versions. Stainless steel and black stainless-steel colors are also available from Rust-Oleum. Giani provides a Liquid Stainless-Steel brush-on paint kit.

Heat-Resistant Appliance Paint

Appliances that heat up, such as ovens, require a specialty heat-resistant paint designed to withstand high temperatures. Rust-Oleum and Krylon are the leading brands in this area, with paints withstanding temperatures up to 1200°F. Giani has a product for ranges and dishwashers that withstands high temperatures up to 300°F.

Other Paint Options

You may want to paint your appliance a different color from the standard ones found in appliance paints. Perhaps a retro pink, yellow, or red? No problem — use a regular spray paint if you’re not painting an appliance that gets hot, then apply a clear enamel gloss protective spray.

You can also use a semi-gloss paint (with a primer mixed in to save a priming step) in the color of your choice for appliances that don’t reach higher temperatures. After your paint is dry, use a foam roller to apply a polyacrylic sealant if you want extra protection.

Chalkboard paint is a great way to turn your fridge into a handy canvas for lists, menus, and the kids’ artwork. Regular chalkboard paint is blue-black in color, but you can buy a tintable chalkboard paint and add the color you want.

Changing Hardware

When painting your appliances, think about changing the hardware as well. For example, you could buy different style door handles for your fridge and paint them any accent color you want. Or just paint the current handles a different color to make them stand out.

Also changing out the control knobs and dials on newly painted ovens, dishwashers, washers, and dryers contributes to the fresh look.

Chalkboard Panels

If you love the idea of a fridge chalkboard, but don’t want to use chalkboard paint, you can attach chalkboard refrigerator panels. These come with magnetic backs and are available with suction cups for stainless steel fridges.

Washi Tape

Washi tape is a thin, durable masking tape made of natural fibers like hemp and bamboo.  It comes in hundreds of colors and patterns. It sticks easily to many surfaces, including metal, wood and plastic. Removing it causes no damage, and usually there’s no sticky residue left behind. In the unlikely event any residue remains, use a small amount of olive oil or coconut oil on a soft cloth to gently wipe it away.

You can use washi tape to decorate your washers, dryers, dishwashers, and fridges with stripes, patterns, geometric designs, or anything else you desire. A Google or Pinterest search will provide you with all sorts of ideas. Because the tape removes easily, you can change up your colors and designs as often as you want. Don’t forget to pay attention to the appliance hardware when you’re being creative.

Before applying washi tape to any appliance, wipe it down first to get rid of any grime and grease. Use a pen knife to clean up the tape edges of your designs.

Heat-resistant washi tape is available but check the temperature limit before applying it to appliances that run hot.

Stainless or Design Panels

Give your white, avocado, or mustard-colored dishwashers and fridges that updated “stainless steel” appearance by applying stainless steel contact paper, or the sturdier faux steel film. If the stainless look isn’t for you, contact paper also comes in a variety of designs, colors, and even scenes to suit your decorating style.

The contact paper and faux steel film come in self-adhesive rolls that you have to measure before applying. Make sure the surface of your appliance is totally clean and divot-free, because the paper and films will show any imperfections.

It’s best not to use contact paper or faux steel films on ovens. Contact papers have a thermal rating of 175°F, while the steel films have one of 240°F. However, you can use them on most microwave ovens.


Perhaps you like the color and condition of your appliances but want to create a playful atmosphere in the kitchen or laundry room, or even give your appliances an attitude. Decals give you the tools to do this, with a wide choice of designs, colors, scenes, and witty or motivational sayings. You can even have them custom-made if you have a unique idea.

Decals can be applied to different appliance materials, including stainless steel. They’re also easy to remove when you’re ready for a change, without harming surfaces. Don’t use decals on appliances that heat up, though.

Photo Magnets

Cover your fridge with photos of family, friends, pets, favorite vacation spots, or theme collages. To create them, upload photos or images from Instagram, Facebook, computer or mobile phone, to any of the online sites that provide this service. They’ll create photo magnets with these images in the sizes and shapes you choose and send them to you.

Or, you can make the photo fridge magnets yourself. You’ll need the following:

  • Sheet of self-adhesive magnetic foil (8.5 by 11 inches, 20 mil thick)
  • Printed photos on an individual sheet
  • X-Acto knife and sharp scissors
  • Cutting mat (or a piece of cardboard or plastic)
  • Metal ruler
  • Piece of cloth, such as a lens cleaning cloth
  1. Place the foil on the pad with sticky side up and peel off the protective layer of the sticker.
  2. Place the photos on the foil by carefully holding one corner of the sheet, and using the cloth, gradually run the cloth over the whole sheet to smooth it down.
  3. Cut the photos into the desired shapes. For square photos, use the ruler and X-Acto knife. For round or differently-shaped photos, use sharp scissors.
  4. Place the photos on your fridge.

When your appliances need repair or maintenance, call the experts at C&W Appliance Service at (855) 358-1496 or fill out our on-line service request form.


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