If you want a red fridge, you're probably going to have to turn to paint to get it.

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Appliance Painting

Paint has come a long way in the last 20 years, and there are quite a few specialty paints available that can help you transform your appliances on the cheap. Specialty appliance paints, paints designed for plastic and heat-resistant paints can help you create a harmonious look in your kitchen at a low cost. This is a do-it-yourself project that calls for patience and can be labor intensive. An advantage to paint -- beyond its low price tag -- is the fact that you can create whatever design strikes your mood. If you want a pink dishwasher and a baby blue refrigerator, by all means, let pastels rule. If you want to use an unusual color, painting the appliances yourself will ensure that everything matches when you're done.

Appliance paints are available in both brush on and spray on varieties. Brush on painting is usually reserved for smaller jobs, like countertop appliances and large appliance touchups. You shouldn't ever use regular acrylic or enamel paint on appliances. It won't bond well, and you'll just end up making a mess.

Spraying your large appliance is a good way to create a smooth, even finish, but to avoid over spraying and getting paint on everything in the room, you'll have to cover adjacent areas or move the job outside. In kitchens where you're working in a small area, it's probably easier to just move the refrigerator, stove or dishwasher rather than try to work in cramped quarters.

If you plan on painting a stove, range hood or microwave (or anything that gets hot), you'll need to buy heat resistant paint. These high-heat paints have temperature limitations. Typically, they can be used on range hoods and on the sides and front panels of most ovens but are not rated for stovetops where the heat can get fierce. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully before you buy.

When you're preparing to paint your appliances, make sure that you've sanded or treated any rust spots to stop future oxidation. Remove handles and mask logos, hardware, decals and trim pieces with painter's tape. Clean everything thoroughly with soap and water, and let it dry completely. When painting, the best way to do a good job is to get everything prepped well before you ever pick up a paintbrush.

As with other paint jobs, make sure that you work in a ventilated area and take your time. Avoid applying paint in a thick layer; thinner is better. Depending on the color and texture of the appliance, it may need a second coat. If so, wait until the first coat has dried thoroughly before applying the second. Although appliance paint is scratch and chip resistant, use caution when reinstalling hardware.

Proceed to the next page for lots more information about kitchen design and maintenance.