Have some old appliances taking up space in your garage or basement? Before you junk them or try to sell them for pennies on the dollar at a yard sale, consider repurposing them into fun, quirky home decor pieces.
Giving old appliances new life as decor is sustainable, budget-friendly, and lets you put your own creative stamp on your living space. Read on to learn how I’ve repurposed old appliances in my own home.
Selecting Appliances to Repurpose
Not every old appliance is well-suited for repurposing as decor. When deciding which appliances to transform, look for ones that meet the following criteria:
- Visually interesting – Appliances like old radios, telephones, and TVs tend to have more unique, retro styling that makes them decor-worthy. Plain white refrigerators or washing machines may not be as fun for decor.
- Small to medium sized – Huge appliances take up a lot of visual space and can be hard to mount on walls. Focus on smaller items like tabletop radios, stand mixers, or dorm-sized mini fridges.
- Good physical condition – Appliances with major dents, scratches, or rust may be challenging to restore for decor purposes. Opt for items in decent shape.
I like to scour garage sales, thrift stores, and classified ads to find vintage appliances with lots of personality for repurposing. The older and more unique, the better!
Cleaning and Restoring Appliances
Before repurposing an appliance for decor, it’s important to clean and restore it properly:
- Remove any food residue – Especially important for old refrigerators and ovens! Scrub the interior with hot water, dish soap, and baking soda.
- Degrease surfaces – Use a degreaser spray to cut through any greasy buildup on the appliance’s exterior.
- Remove odors – Old appliances can hold on to smells. Wipe down all surfaces with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Baking soda also absorbs odors.
- Sand down scratches – Lightly sand any scratches to smooth them out before painting.
- Prime and paint – Apply a few coats of primer and spray paint to freshen up the appliance’s look.
- Replace any cracked knobs or buttons – Check eBay or Etsy for replacement parts to make appliances look new again.
Creative Ways to Repurpose Appliances
Below are some of the fun ways I’ve repurposed old appliances around my home:
Vintage Radio Bar Cart
A bar cart is a great way to store liquor and glasses for easy access when entertaining. I transformed an old 1950s radio into a super cute, functional bar cart:
- Removed radio guts
- Painted wood cabinet black
- Added gold detailing
- Attached caster wheels for mobility
- Added shelves inside cabinet to hold bottles, glasses
This retro radio bar cart is a stylish focal point in my living room and sparks lots of compliments from guests!
Wall-Mounted Vintage TV Photo Frame
I love displaying photos in unique ways beyond basic frames. I turned a vintage 1950s television into a giant, eye-catching photo frame:
- Removed TV guts
- Spray painted TV white
- Added a wood photo ledge painted black
- Mounted TV on the wall
- Displayed large printed photos on the “screen”
This fun wall art display adds a blast from the past to my home office and showcases my favorite pics.
Repurposed Fridge Serving Bar
My outdoor patio needed a serving station for parties. Enter one retired mini fridge from a college dorm room transformed into a party-perfect serving bar:
- Removed fridge parts
- Added wooden shelves
- Stocked shelves with bottles, glassware, and barware
- Installed mini string lights inside for ambiance
Now my guests can easily whip up drinks on the patio without running inside. The repurposed fridge adds modern farmhouse charm outside.
Upcycled Washer Herb Garden
My kitchen herb garden needed a stylish home. I repurposed a broken washing machine from the 1990s into a unique planter:
- Removed washer tub
- Drilled drainage holes
- Added layers of gravel and potting soil
- Planted herbs like basil, thyme, oregano
- Attached vintage watering can filled with utensils
My retro washer herb planter lives right on my patio for easy seasoning while cooking. It looks straight out of a chic design magazine!
Get Creative Repurposing Old Appliances
With some paint, new hardware, and a lot of imagination, you can give old appliances fresh purpose as decorator items. Let the appliance itself guide you – does it seem better suited as a bar cart or a planter?
Next time you come across an intriguing old appliance, picture how you could transform it into functional art. Part of the fun is coming up with an inventive way to repurpose something ordinary into an extraordinary home accent.
So before mindlessly tossing appliances, take a closer look. That outdated eyesore might just become your next favorite decor piece! With the right restoration touches, even the most humdrum appliance can have loads of decorative potential.