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Upgrading our refrigerator for under $100

When we first moved into our fixer upper we bought a very inexpensive refrigerator with the intention we would buy my dream refrigerator later on. I have had this refrigerator pictured below in my online shopping cart for about 6 months now. I have had such a hard time hitting that buy button knowing I had a perfectly functioning refrigerator that was only two years old.


So, naturally I said to myself, I’m going to make what we have, already work and it was time to get creative.

Here is what our refrigerator looked like before.

Now, this idea I had for the upgrade isn’t exactly a new concept by any means. But, the concept of up grading it even more is new. DIY blogger friends have been painting their refrigerator doors with chalkboard paint for years. I kicked it up a notch by adding some classy chic handles. Here’s how I did it. I started off by cleaning the outside surface of the refrigerator very well. This is probably one of the most important steps so, please don't skip it. Second, make sure all of the dust, grease and kid finger prints are gone. Next your going to want to pop off any emblems that may be on the doors, then clean the area with rubbing alcohol, making sure all of the sticker adhesive is gone. Once your refrigerator is prepared (cleaned and tape off the inside) you can get started with the fun stuff. Here are the products I used.

A foam roller kit. primer and chalkboard paint

Step 1. Start with the Primer.

Once the primer is dry I then went in for Step 2. My first coat of Chalkboard paint. The reason I used chalkboard paint is because, it’s durable, it has matte finish (I didn’t want high gloss) and it’s super easy to work with vs an appliance epoxy. If you never have worked with chalkboard paint, the first coat of paint is going to be a little scary.

Its going to be navy blue color and look really thin. Try not to worry too much. This is completely normal.

After two coats of paint it will look like this.

I ended up doing three coats total.

I waited overnight and then it was time for to addd the handles.

The handles I picked are actually towel bars. The reason I went with these is because, they were exactly the style I was looking for, they were very affordable, I’m talking half the cost of actual refrigerator handles and they work the same. You can find exact handles I used here. How we attached the handles on to the refrigerator was pretty simple. We started by measuring out where we exactly wanted them by marking the placement of the plate bracket with a pencil.

Once we marked out where the placement was going to be, we predrilled a small pilot hole then secured the plate to the refrigerator with self tapping metal screws and the glue that came with the handles.


Lastly I went around the rubber seal with some black electrical tape.


It is important to make sure the tape does not get in between the refrigerator and the actual seal because, this can prevent your refrigerator from sealing up properly. You just want the tape on the outside seal, to cover the white. I am over the moon excited this DIY turned out as well as it did. It saved me about $1,000 by not having to replace the refrigerator.

The total cost for this project was roughly $85 including the roller, tape, handles, paint and primer.




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