Retro refrigerators — 7 places to get them in pink (and other colors, too)

Don’t we all want a diminutive pink refrigerator (in one of our fantasy retro kitchens, at least)? I think the idea is particularly appealing, today, because most refrigerators are just so honkin’ big: Silver, black or white elephants drawing too much attention from our beautiful kitchen designs. This is why built in refrigerators are so popular — they make the darn fridge disappear. Cabinet-depth, too, eliminates the protrusion, at least. A curvy pink lollipop refrigerator puts the perfume on the pig, sad metaphor, I know. (This reminds me: My grandma Agnes had this toy pig thing inside her refrigerator. Every time you opened the fridge door, it oinked at you. This, from a woman who never met a full-fat dairy product she didn’t try to wedge into every recipe possible.) So, where can you get a pink refrigerator? I did some research and came up with seven places or ways to get one. Read on…

Following along with my photo spread, above, starting at the top and moving left to right:

  • #1 — Big Chill’s classic retro refrigerator comes in two sizes, a 20.9 cu.ft. unit and a 14.4 cu.ft. unit. They also have an undercounter fridge that you can get in their complete color palette, including pink. Link: Big Chill refrigerators.
  • #2 — Big Chill’s Retropolitan refrigerator has more of a Jetson’s look and the freezer on the bottom. It is 18.5 cu.ft in size– and it is 2″ less deep so sticks out less. Link: Big Chill refrigerators.
  • #3 — The Northstar refrigerator by Elmira Stove Works comes in three sizes and variations: The 19 cu.ft. model has the freezer on the bottom, while the freezer is on the top in 18.2 cu.ft. and 11 cu.ft. models. You can also get the 11 cu.ft. model with a built-in kegger. Link: Northstar refrigerators.
  • #4 — The Smeg ’tis a baby doll, coming in at just 9.2 cu.ft., but she is oh so cute. Remember Laura’s? Link: Smeg refrigerators.
  • #5 — Take your plain-Jane refrigerator to an auto body shop or industrial painting place — Professional painting joints can consult online paint color guides to match or help get you the color you want. The advantages of professional painting include (1) they have access to very durable automotive paints, (2) they use dust-free booths to avoid itsy bitsies ruining your smooth glossy finish, and (3) someone else does it. However, you will have to get your fridge there and back, and this will cost you, of course.
  • #6 — Spray paint your existing fridge yourself. The only spray paint I could find close to a retro Mamie pink is Rustoleum’s Candy Pink spray paint. Rustoleum has an epoxy spray paint specifically for appliances — but it does not come in pink. So, I asked Rustoleum if they could advise on how to use this less fancy pink spray paint to do a fridge, either metal or vinyl/plastic. Here is what they said: “Painter’s Touch would work fine on the fridge.  We also have a spray paint called Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X that also comes in Candy Pink. The real advantage of using Ultra Cover 2X is that it offers twice the coverage of general purpose spray paints.  It also has distribution at The Home Depot and many hardware and paint stores, so it’s easy to buy anywhere in the US. According to our brand management team, before painting the vinyl/plastic parts of the fridge, prime them with Specialty Plastic Primer.  For metal, you can prime with a Stops Rust Clean Metal primer for added durability. You could use Painters Touch Ultra Cover 2X Clear over the Candy Pink, but priming would be the most important step. If you topcoat with the Clear, apply it within 1 hour after painting or after 48 hours.”
  • #7 — Stalk craigslist and Re-Stores for a vintage pink refrigerator. This will take time. But once you send your vibes out into the universe, the Retro Decorating Gods may reward you sooner than you think. I am not an expert on what to look for in a vintage fridge. See this post for some links and such if you are serious about pursuing this option.

 

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Comments

  1. Kate says

    We’ve had a 1952 GE for the last 12 years. Runs fine, the only trouble now is that it needs a new door gasket, which we’ll be ordering from antiqueappliances.com. The seal is not tight around the freezer and we are getting condensation, which is causing rust.
    We spray painted it white, and later I used an enamel paint and super-smooth roller to touch up. I love the idea of taking it to a body shop, but my husband is not too keen on moving it again!
    I would also conjecture that the thickness of the door and walls make it quite efficient.

  2. Wendy says

    I saw a 1950s time capsule house where they used shelf liner to make a pink fridge. It was cute they used a pink gingham and they had the same liner on the middle part of the cabinets.

  3. Renee B says

    OH do I WISH my husband would haul our fridge outside for me so I could spray paint it pink! I have wanted a pink fridge for years!!!! LOVE IT!

  4. says

    My mom’s friend had her brand-new fridge delivered to an auto body shop to be painted to match her vintage kitchen. It was cheaper than the fancy retro-style fridges, and looked amazing!

      • Pinky says

        You are correct–they are awesome! I noticed just a few dollars difference in my electric bill from when I bought it and plugged it in. I only have to defrost it once or twice a year. I never used the defrost function on the frig…just unplugged it, moved the items into my other frig and left the door open with a cake pan positioned under the freezer rack. The ice took about 45 minutes to fall off. Sometimes I hastened the process with a hair dryer (I can be a bit impatient at times!).

  5. Jovon says

    I am looking for a mint green or fire engine red for my 1930’s Coldspot refrigerator and just cannot find it in Rustoleum….and I really use that brand because I hear nothing but greatness from people using it…does anyone suggest a different brand that would have those colors?

    Also, Rustoleum had a Sweet Pea pink which to me looks close to Mamie….here is the link….

    http://www.rustoleum.com/DigitalEncyclopedia/product-catalog/RustOleumUSA/consumer-brands/painters-touch-ultra-cover-2x/satin/

  6. Mike says

    We have a great 50’s pink wall fridge that has finally stopped running. My wife and would love to have it repaired, but no one in the Boston area will touch it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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