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Home » Vintage Retro DIY Refrigerators – Infarrantly Creative

Vintage Retro DIY Refrigerators – Infarrantly Creative

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I am in love with the vintage vibe and I take it everywhere I can in my house and even in my mindset. Frugality and simplicity have become my best friends. However, a white fridge causes me a bit of an allergy lol. I have been after one of these retro style refrigerators for a longtime now and started doing some research to pick up on other creative people’s ideas. I am not disappointed at all.

Let me sum-up for you this roundup with the front runners in my mind. Next project loading…

Vintage Vs. Modern Refrigerators

The refrigerator market has evolved inmensively. So much so you can actually buy modern vintage fridges! (like…whaat!?). Of course that it comes at a price.

Vintage refrigerators often had a retro, smaller, and classic design with limited storage capacity. In contrast, modern ones come in different styles, sizes, and sleek designs, offering significantly more storage space and versatility. 

Modern ones are also far more energy-efficient, with advanced cooling technology, precise temperature control, and features such as ice makers, water dispensers, and smart connectivity. Maintenance is also easier due to features like automatic defrost and easy-to-clean shelves.

And yes, modern refrigerators are environmentally friendly, use eco-friendly refrigerants and meet stricter environmental standards, while vintage models may not.

But how cool are those retro designs with their stainless steel handles! Even I prefer the smaller dimensions of the old refrigerators.

The evolution of refrigerators from the 1930s to the present day is marked by improvements in technology, energy efficiency, convenience, and aesthetics. These unique appliances have become an essential and integral part of modern kitchens, reflecting the changing needs and lifestyles of consumers over the decades. 

DIY Vintage Refrigerator Ideas

Let’s have a look to this brilliant ideas from brilliant minds (and hands!). You might get the inspiration to transform your boring fridge into an antique refrigerator worth thousands!


This one stole my heart in 1 second and the cost was only $9!! It was apparently mirroring a real SMEG which cost $999!!

You can find this fabulous transformation at Really Pretty Good blog. This is ideal for a dorm or a man cave.


With amazing creativity and out-of-the-box thinking at aunt peaches they have created a 1950’s looking fridge that will make your jaw drop.

Not only looks great but also, it is temporary (unlike the paint) and you can change once you get bored of the pattern. Genius!


Folks at piece of rainbow present this restoration process from their white boring fridge to a gorgeous aquamarina double 21st century vintage unit.

You can follow the tutorial they kindly share in their blog.


Essentially following the above tutorial, at they’ve gone for passion red which gives a stunning color spot to the kitchen. I kind of see this one perfectly matching the decor at my basement.


So far, the others on this list are modern refrigerators turned into vintage appliances. But there is also the possibility to find one from the mid-20th century (they were called electric refrigerators back then, lol).

We won’t go into how much that can cost you here and whether they are actually functioning. However, if you are an interested buyer you can check out antique shops or Ebay and be in the lookout. I have even seen advertising for old fridges and freezers wanted. 

Anyway, here’s one of those antiques turned into an almos new appliance with the desired retro vintage style. So cute!

FAQs and Curiosities

Are vintage fridges worth anything?

The value of vintage fridges varies depending on factors like age, brand, condition, design, rarity, historical significance, and local market demand. Older fridges from the mid-20th century with unique designs, well-preserved or restored condition, and original features tend to be more valuable. 

Some brands, like General Electric and Frigidaire, are particularly sought after by collectors. Rarity and historical importance can also increase value. 

To determine the specific worth of a vintage fridge, consulting experts, researching recent sales, and considering local market conditions are advisable. Keep in mind that the value can fluctuate, so staying informed about the vintage appliance market is essential for buyers and sellers. 

Who manufactured the first refrigerator? 

The first practical and commercially successful refrigerator was manufactured by General Electric (GE). It was called the “Monitor-Top” refrigerator and was introduced in 1927. 

The “Monitor-Top” got its name from the resemblance of its compressor, which was mounted on top of the appliance, to the cylindrical shape of the early steam engine’s monitoring system. 

This refrigerator revolutionized the way people stored and preserved food by making it more convenient and reliable. It marked a significant advancement in household refrigeration technology and played a crucial role in the development of modern refrigeration appliances. 

What is the average life expectancy of a refrigerator? 

The average life expectancy of a refrigerator typically falls in the range of 10 to 20 years, with several factors influencing its longevity. The quality and brand are significant determinants, with well-known and reputable brands often resulting in longer-lasting appliances. 

How you use and maintain it plays a crucial role, as regular maintenance and proper care can extend its lifespan. Factors like the local climate, technology, and your willingness to repair and maintain the appliance can also affect how long it lasts. 

Newer models with digital features may have a shorter lifespan due to potential electronic failures, while older, simpler models tend to endure. 

Regular maintenance is key to maximizing its life. 

The Handmade Home refrigerator big
The Handmade Home refrigerator big

How to restore a vintage refrigerator? 

Here’s a helpful step-by-step guide in case you feel crafty and motivated:

Safety First

Ensure your safety by disconnecting the refrigerator from the power source and allowing it to defrost completely.

Gather Tools and Supplies

You’ll need various tools and supplies, including screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, sandpaper, paint or primer, replacement parts (if necessary), cleaning supplies, and a workspace with good ventilation.


Inspect the refrigerator thoroughly to identify the extent of the restoration needed. Make a list of the issues, such as rust, dents, missing or damaged parts, or worn-out insulation.


Remove all food, shelves, and drawers from the refrigerator. Clean the interior and exterior surfaces with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. For stubborn stains or odors, consider using a mixture of baking soda and water or a specialized appliance cleaner.

Rust Removal

If there is rust on the exterior, use sandpaper or a wire brush to gently remove it. Be careful not to damage the underlying metal. Then, you can apply a rust-inhibiting primer and paint to protect the surface.

Dent Repair

To fix dents, you can use a rubber mallet or a plunger. Gently tap or pull on the dented area to reshape it. Be patient and take your time.

Replace or Repair Parts:

Identify any missing or damaged parts, such as gaskets, handles, or shelves. Try to find replacement parts online, from vintage appliance parts suppliers, or at antique appliance restoration shops. You can also repair or refurbish some parts, like handles, using epoxy putty or similar materials.

Refrigeration System Inspection

If the refrigerator isn’t cooling properly, it may require professional repair for the refrigeration system. Seek the assistance of a technician who is experienced with vintage appliances.

Insulation Replacement:

If the insulation inside the refrigerator is deteriorated, consider replacing it. Proper insulation is crucial for the refrigerator’s efficiency.


If you want to restore the original look, research the refrigerator’s original colors and designs. Apply a primer and then paint the exterior, taking care to recreate the vintage appearance.


Reinstall all parts, shelves, and drawers. Ensure everything is securely in place.

Plug In and Test

Once you’ve completed the restoration, plug the refrigerator back in and let it run. Monitor its temperature and performance to ensure it’s working properly.

Final Touches

Give your vintage refrigerator a final cleaning and polish, both inside and out, to make it look its best.

Restoring a vintage refrigerator can be a challenging but rewarding project. Depending on the condition of the appliance and your level of expertise, it may be necessary to consult with experts or appliance repair professionals for specific issues like refrigeration system repairs. Proper restoration can help you preserve a piece of history while enjoying a functional and aesthetically pleasing appliance.