Laurel Street Blog

“New” Stainless Steel Appliances

Posted on: January 25, 2009

So, I made a small cosmetic change to the kitchen, that had big impact with new hardware –  one small step toward making it more modern.

But the appliances, they were all black.The refrigerator was just a 2001: A Space Odyssey-level hulking black monolith that just anchored the whole kitchen. You couldn’t see the room, that thing was so distracting. But, it was a brand new refrigerator (everybody in New Orleans got a new one in late 2005).


The kitchen, under old management (previous owners).

I wanted a contemporary stainless steel appliances, but in a few years, when we do the big kitchen renovation there’s no guarantee that stainless will still be the trend. In fact, I think it’s already waning. So even a short term replacement was out of the question. I’d have to live with the dishwasher, refrigerator and compactor for the next few years.

And of course the white formica countertops are a problem too. That is actually what turned me down the “appliance makeover” path. I wanted to change the look of the countertops, not replace them. And yes, I was doing some very creative Googling on the topic. “Can I paint them?” The Google-verse said “yes” with definate caveats. Some folks had painted their formica countertop with a stainless steel finish. Wha?

And so I found it. Stainless steel paint.

I would like to preface what I say next with the following: I am a creative director in real life. I am very, very discriminating. I work each and every day at my job to make things that live online as beautiful and well designed as I possibly can. I fuss over the details of my home, and would not ever want to live with something tacky.  I was completely skeptical of “stainless steel paint.”

But at less than $60 I could afford to give it the benefit of the doubt, and give it a test.


Yes, stainless steel paint.

Dishwasher and compactor, updated.

Dishwasher and compactor, updated. Pay no attention to the floors, please. 150 years old (original) they're on my list when we renovate the whole shebang.

Let me say that ‘refinishing the appliances’ was something I snuck past Richard in passing, oh, so very lightly, that it barely registered on him. But I put it out there. The paint arrived, unmarked, unremarked upon. And the next Saturday morning I was off to the races, while he was doing dictation on the computer.  I chose to do only the compactor (because we said we would get rid of it anyway when we tear out the old island). I followed the instructions to a T and I was meticulous with my masking tape. He came out for a coffee, rolled his eyes and shook his head. Now there was a skeptic. But when the compacter was finished, he was completely won over. It looked amazing. And so I was approved to paint the dishwasher, and the big black refrigerator.

Again: If I could afford to just go out any buy real stainless steel appliances with no concern for how long I would have them, I would’ve done that. But, $60 vs. $6000, well, you see where I’m coming from!

Caution: YMMV (Your Milage May Vary). The paint is not magic! The paint basically changes the color and value of your appliances. I probably would not recommend it if you have white appliances.

So here they are. I am very happy. The appliances are not big black eye magnets anymore, but basically complement the bland gray cabinets in their value. The paint merely changes the refrigerator’s color. You can still see some texture through it, even thought I primed with two coats of Zinser’s to knock the texture back a bit. But I never, ever think about it since I finished the job. The color and looks so good (for what it is), I simply never even notice.

It’s like my friend at the wine store recommending an inexpensive bottle: “It’s very good for the money.”

P.S. As you can see from this photo, Richard is happy with them, too.

Yes, stainless steel paint.

Yes, stainless steel paint.

12 Responses to "“New” Stainless Steel Appliances"

hello — just found you. and this just changed my life, I think. A kitchen reno is a little while away, but it’d be nice if my black, white, AND almond-colored appliances could play nice in the mean time. oh, and the “wood grain” microwave, too. hooray!

loving your blog — especially the new office and closet! WOW.

one more thing — if you pull up the floors in your kitchen, I totally want them. I’m serious!

Hi Jen – you are great, thanks for the note! Not sure what to do about the kitchen floors… I can’t really pull them up (they are both floor AND subfloor) they’re all I’ve got! As for the appliance situation – I say take a little paint and get ’em all together on the same page!

All the best,


Hi – I just found your blog and I love what you’ve done with your home! You’ve inspired me to paint my almond and black appliances so that they match. Our fridge is fairly new and works fine, so I can’t justify paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new one. But it’s big and ALMOND and sticks out like a sore thumb. Your stainless paint turned out great!

Can I ask where you found your paint? Online or in a store?

Thanks so much,


Hi Melissa, glad you like the appliances! I’m with you 100% on the cost of new stainless when the old appliances work great. Here’s the source for the paint.

Take care & have fun!


I have a hunch that antique bronze will be the next “in” kid on the block for appliances. And more colors like the washer and dryers that are out. People are looking for fun, well, I am anyway. I would love bronzey-brown for my kitchen to match my hardware! Love your stuff!

[…] Comment! Yes you can! Check out Idea Paint. Fun for a play room OR a board room. Paint it over a door, a table top…. Heck, even a refrigerator. […]

Hi, just wondering…did you paint the microwave too?

Hi there – re: Microwave. No, I didn’t paint it. That is it’s original finish….

Whooohooo…I’m right…thanks for helping me prove it! I think the painted appliances look great. Do you still have a good opinion of the product since some time has passed. Does it scratch easily, wear off or anything like that?

I am so impressed by what you did that I want to paint my refrigerator. May I ask why you wouldn’t recommend painting a white fridge stainless steel? Thanks for a wonderful post!!

Hi Gilian – actually painting a white refrigerator would probably be fine. However, if it has an ice maker in the door (as mine did) and it was white, it may look unusual (at least to me).

Thank you so much for such a quick reply! I think this will be one of my projects now that is winter. (10 degrees equals good painting weather in VA.)

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Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

The Laurel Street Cottage

January 2009
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