A stainless steel refrigerator; a custom designed stove; a washing machine that matches your laundry room aesthetic. Whatever your appliance dreams are made of, there’s likely a version of it waiting for you at your local appliance store.
However, if you’re on a budget, a renter, or just don’t have the funds to invest in expensive, upgraded appliances, don’t fear! You can still achieve the home aesthetic of your dreams. All it takes is a creative mindset and a bit of patience. Read on for our top tips and tricks to hack your way to the updated appliances of your dreams!
Consider Contact Paper
Whether you’re looking to add a fun pop of color, or want to transform your white stove to stainless steel, there’s contact paper for that! And, believe it or not, contact paper has come a long way, with designs and finishes made specifically for covering appliances. That means it’s scratch resistant, water proof, and durable.
To cover your appliance with contact paper, start by visiting your local hardware store (or Amazon!) to select a finish you like, and grab a putty knife. Clean the surface of the appliance you’re “refinishing,” and let it dry completely. Next, remove any accessories from the appliance (like the stove knobs, or refrigerator handles).
Grab your contact paper, and work in small sections, smoothing it out with your putty knife to tackle wrinkles or bubbles. With a bit of patience, you’ll have a newly designed appliance in no time! And, because contact paper is a temporary fix, if you get sick of the look (or are renting and moving out), you can easily remove the contact paper and your appliances will be back to normal.
Make it Pretty with Paint
While not the best option for renters because it is permanent, you can actually paint your appliances – just be sure to use epoxy paint designed especially for appliances. That’s because epoxy paint includes a primer, and is sure to cover areas better with fewer coats so old remnants of the original appliance don’t show through.
To paint your appliances, start by removing all handles, knobs, or accessories, and giving your appliance a good cleaning. Next, the pros at Bob Vila suggest roughing up the surface a bit by rubbing a steel wool sponge over all surface areas. While it may seem counterintuitive to achieving a clean look, this actually gives the paint a stronger surface to bond to, resulting in a slick, glossy finish.
Next, place painter’s tape over any logos and non-removable parts (like stovetop buttons), and start painting! Use slow, even strokes and let the paint dry before applying another coat. Depending on the size and overall shape of your appliance, you may need to do a few coats of paint to achieve your desired look. Once the last coat of paint is fully dry, reapply the accessories, handles, and knobs, and enjoy your (new-to-you) appliance!
And speaking of “new to you” appliances…
Finally, if your appliance is too outdated to function properly – like a leaking dishwasher, a refrigerator that won’t keep cool, or a stovetop on the fritz – no amount of aesthetic updates will help them mend. However, you can save some cash on a new appliance by purchasing it used, either from your local appliance store or through neighbors on apps like Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor.
If you’re wondering if it’s time to buy used, a good rule of thumb is if the cost of your needed appliance repairs is more than half of the price of a refurbished product, don’t even consider the repair. Appliances that are okay to buy used given their reliability and long lifespan include washers and dryers, dishwashers, and electric ovens and ranges.
Curious if buying a new-to-you appliance is right for you? Check out this post to weigh your options.