$20 and about 2 hours later, I turned my boring, dirty old refrigerator into a beautiful blue retro-feeling statement piece.
My husband and I live in San Francisco. We’ve been here for 5 years and it only took quarantine to finally give me that boost of motivation to do a rental-friendly kitchen makeover. In this post I’m sharing my tips for covering your fridge in contact paper and tons of before & after photos!
DIY: How I Put Contact Paper On My Fridge (Before & After Photos!)
I’ve waited way too long to design a kitchen I actually love. We rent and I know this tiny studio apartment is not my forever home. I’ve sort of been waiting to really dive deep into designing the perfect kitchen until we had a place we’d be living at longer.
But its been 5 years, and we aren’t leaving any time soon, so I pulled the trigger on a makeover!
Also, quarantine boredom got me in a nesting / DIY mood! I started with turning the gross brown granite kitchen countertops to chic marble beauties with the help of decorative contact paper!
I was researching removable wallpaper for our fridge since I was initially thinking of using a floral pattern but hot dang, removable wallpaper can be expensive! I’m talking upwards of $50 a sheet at places like Chasing Paper (which is super cute but I think that would come out ot a $400 DIY fridge makeover, so no thanks!)
Instead, I bought contact paper from Con-Tact, which is that classic OG contact paper brand that you may remember from childhood. You can easily buy this online at places like Target, Amazon and Home Depot. Or, just go into a Home Depot and pick colors out in person. Rolls should be about $9-$15 a roll depending on the pattern.
I went with a teal/blue shade for a bold pop of color in our fridge. It took everything in my body not to do a pink and green decor theme like I have in our living room AND bathroom (I guess I love those colors together!) Since my husband, Robin, works in the kitchen as his office, I decided to do a blue color scheme since blue is his favorite color.
I bought 3 rolls and only ended up using 1.5 rolls for this project. It’s ALWAYS a smart idea to buy more rolls than you think you need because it’s a good chance you’ll mess up at some point or underestimate the amount you need. You can then return the unopened rolls or hold onto them in case you have to do touch-ups in the future.
- 2-4 rolls of contact paper (depending on size and pattern!)
- Measuring Tap
- Windex (optional)
- Buy a product that has a low adhesive or is marked as " peel and stick ". DO NOT get something heavy-duty that it's permanent because otherwise, it'll be really hard to take off when you move out.
Own your home/fridge? You can consider painting it or using heavy-duty paper, but remember that in most American homes, you leave the appliances when you sell that house so that could be an unforeseen cost in the future. It's better to use a removable contact paper!
- Clean that fridge!! You don't want to seal in dirty and grim for years and years (gross!) plus you need a clean and dry surface to apply the paper to.
- Remove the fridge handles + decals. Our decals were really easy to pull off and we put them in a bag and stuck them to the back of the fridge so we could find them when we move out and have to stick them back on.
The handles are really easy to remove from the door! Just use a screwdriver to take out the screws and you should be able to pull your handles off.
- Measure out your pieces. You know the saying: measure twice, cut once! I recommend adding about an inch on either side just in case you measured wrong or have issues placing the contact paper on the fridge. It's SUPER easy to trim the excess off.
- Now, time to install. I found it much easier to do with the help of another person so they can hold one edge to prevent the paper from folding onto itself as you place it just right. After you place each piece, carefully smooth it out and peel and smooth and peel, making sure to readjust to remove any air bubbles.
- After your done, just screw the fridge handles back on and BOOM, you got yourself a beautiful new fridge!
PRO TIP: use Windex on your fridge if you are having a hard time placing the contact paper! This is a trick I used on my countertops. A light layer of Windex helps your contact paper slide a bit so it's easier to line up correctly. Then you simply smooth it to work out the index.
I actually didn't need to use that hack on the fridge, I'm not sure if it's my fridge type or the paper I bought but I found it so easy to readjust. But a stainless steel fridge may be a harder surface to work on!
Also, don't forget to buy more rolls than you think you need in case you mess up!
Removing Contact Paper From Fridge
I haven’t removed the contact paper on my fridge yet (I just put it up!) but I did test a strip when I was applying found it super easy to just pull off. I don’t foresee it being an issue at all when it comes time for us to move out and take it off. Contact Paper isn’t like a sticker that’s hard to take off.
I did read online that using a blow dryer to heat up contact paper can help loosen the adhesive so if you try this and have trouble removing it, try that!
So, that’s my DIY refrigerator makeover! I can’t wait for the rest of my blue decor pieces to come in to really finish the transformation on this space. Still low-key annoyed at myself for not tackling this space earlier.
I think all in all, my kitchen makeover is going to cost about $500 which is SUCH a low price for literally changing the whole vibe of a room. If you are also in a place where you aren’t happy with parts of your home or rental unit, I say just GO for it. Try making it better because you deserve to live in a space that makes you happy!
If you have any tips to add, leave a comment below so everyone can see! Got questions? Leave a comment or DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll be happy to help!