How to Distress Paint a Fridge in 3 Steps

50 Ways to Paint FurnitureIf you are into DIY home decorating, you’ve probably heard of distressing furniture to give a cool, shabby chic look without a lot of effort. In fact, this painting technique doesn’t require any know-how, and you need very few supplies to complete a project.

In essence, you can easily transform an old, ugly piece of furniture into something you love without spending a lot of money. And, believe it or not, the same idea works on refrigerators. Really.

As with other fridge painting jobs, you can choose to make your appliance stand out – or match the surrounding cabinets (like the photo below).

Refrigerator with Distress-Painted Panels
courtesy of

A Simple Trick to Saving Money:

And since kitchen cupboards are typically constructed of wood, you will probably need door panels for your refrigerator that will match your cabinetry. However, don’t think that you need to hire a contractor to build them for you or pay high prices to have them custom made.

Many kitchen cupboards have a simple design that can can be replicated more easily than you might think. Check out this page to see lots of examples and get instructions on how to do it yourself very inexpensively.

Make Mistakes:

The distressed look is meant to look worn and weathered. Therefore, you can make plenty of mistakes on your projects without worrying about how it will look. The naturally imperfect look that you are trying to achieve through distressed painting might even turn out better when you don’t have any idea what you are doing.

Look at the next photo. This distressed fridge is impressive, even though it has plenty of imperfections. Note the unique handles, that were most likely added to create a more sophisticated look.

Distress-Painted Fridge: How to Distress Paint
courtesy of

Step 1: Learn the Distressed Paint Technique

If you think that this look would work well in your kitchen, the first step to learn more about how to create a distressed look with paint. The video below shows a good example.

Distressing technique with chalk paint:

Give Distressed Furniture a Finished Look w/ Beeswax

Step 2: Find Out How to Make Door Panels

The second step is to figure out the door panelling you need. You may not need any at all. This blog has very helpful instructions and photos on making diy refrigerator panels. After seeing how it’s done, I was pretty impressed, especially with the final result.

Step 3: Get the Paint You Need

Although I love chalkboard paint, you don’t need to turn your distress-painted fridge into a chalkboard too. You may want to use chalk paint instead, which is virtually the same thing. Alternatively, you can use chalkboard paint and simply not write on it.

Chalk paint helps your painted surfaces appear naturally weathered, when using the distressed painting method. You aren’t limited by colors, and the paint is not expensive either. Get it at your local paint or home improvements store or order it online.

Information on Dry Brushing:

Dry brushing is another similar technique you can use to achieve the shabby chic or antique look on your fridge and/or kitchen cabinets. As you can see, the method is very simple. On top of that, if you feel like you made a mistake, you can easily brush over it to look…. naturally imperfect.

And when in doubt, I look for a Distressed Paint Kit.

50 Decorative Furniture Finishes: Step-by-Step

If you’re like me, you’ve probably got lots of chalk painting ideas floating around in your head already. Test out this style on a flower pot, picture frame or scrap piece of wood first if you want to practice. Then, jump in and get started. I bet you’ll be hooked!


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