A side view of the top three quarters of a black fridge that has been covered in orange wallpaper with pink and orange toile pattern. The fridge is partially obscured by a white kitchen counter with a baking tin of muffins sitting on it.

How to Wallpaper a Fridge

A wallpaper covered fridge. Who woulda thunk?             

I had a lot of trouble mentally preparing myself to go back to school this year, so I’ve been referring to my senior year as a “nine month vacation.” As in a vacation from the real world until I can move “home” to New York. So, my apartment became my “vacation home.”  This reframe of thoughts helped make it feel more temporary, like a fun thing, and something that I could embrace and not dread. And what’s one thing you want a vacation home to be? Cozy.

I’ve been putting in extra effort to soften all the edges of my sleek and modern apartment unit so that it could become a comfy nest to come back to after classes. One thing I knew I wanted to do from the beginning was cover my refrigerator in wallpaper. (I was inspired by Aunt Peaches) I really shouldn’t have put it off so long because it turned out to be so simple and, woah, was it a game changer for the vibe of the room. It didn’t take very long—a few hours max.

How to wallpaper your fridge

  Materials

  • Wallpaper (I used this spoonflower pre-pasted wallpaper)
  • A clean sponge (if using a water activated paper)
  • Bowl of water
  • Measuring tape/ruler (An L-square/Tailor’s ruler is helpful)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Steps

1. Measure your fridge and figure out the surface area you plan to cover.

I sketched (kind of) to scale drawings of my fridge and the wallpaper rolls, marking the dimensions of them. Then it was sort of like fitting in puzzle pieces or playing Tetris to figure out how I could cut the paper up to cover my fridge with the fewest amount of rolls. if you’ve ever used a sewing pattern to make a garment, it was a similar experience.

2. Purchase the amount of wallpaper necessary based on your measurements.

The wallpaper I bought came in various lengths, so depending on how much surface area you plan to cover, it might be more cost effective to buy two shorter rolls than one really long one or vice-versa.

3. Clean the surface of your fridge that you plan to cover.

4. Follow the directions provided by the retailer of your wallpaper. (This is a lame step, so I’ve provided some more info on what did and didn’t work for me below)

Helpful hints for covering a fridge with wallpaper

Clean your work surface

The only surface in my apartment that is big enough to lay down a full sheet of wallpaper is my floor, so I meticulously swept, vacuumed, and cloroxed to prevent surprise sticky spots or crumbs getting involved. A simple wipe-down of your work surface should suffice though.

Selecting Peel & Stick vs. Pre-Pasted

My general takeaway from researching peel and stick vs. pre-pasted was that if your surface has texture, peel and stick will NOT work well for you. The pre-pasted warned against too much texture as well, but it worked perfectly fine on my plastic fridge doors.

Order a sample first

Pretty much every home-décor blog or wallpaper-seller will tell you that you should order a sample of wallpaper before you invest in dozens of square feet of it just to make sure that you actually like it and it will work for your space. I did not do that (and I got lucky), but I’d be remiss not to pass along this warning. Do as I say, not as I do and all that.

CUT it first!

Most instructions for applying wallpaper will tell you to not cut the paper before you apply it to the wall. Little rule follower that I am, I listened to their admonishment. I wish I would have gone with my gut and cut it to size instead. You can see that there’s a little bit of a weird spot where it’s pulling at the bottom because I trimmed it after I pasted it up.

I did the rest of the fridge by measuring and cutting pieces before applying them and it worked like a charm. Be careful with the smaller pieces because they don’t need as long to set. Just like using eyelash glue on a pair of falsies, there’s a short window of time that’s ideal for application!

A close up photo of the handle of a freezer that is covered in orange, pink, and white toile wallpaper. The edges of three pieces of wallpaper are lined up to meet so that the pattern of the wallpaper is continued smoothly.

How to handle the handles

For the door handles, I suggest measuring the distance from the top and the side to the bases of the handles and marking it on the plain side of your paper. Then, measure the height and width taken up by the base of the handles and draw a square on the paper starting at your markings. Cut a straight line from whichever side is the closest to the square in order to cut the square itself out. Now you can easily wrap the sheet of paper around either side of the handle without having to use two different strips.

The bottom half of a fridge covered in orange with pink and toile detailed wallpaper. It is taken from an angle at which you can see the front and part of the side.

Try contact paper instead

The pre-pasted wallpaper was a little bit of a financial investment in terms of my budget, and I had to consider if I really wanted to spend that much on wallpaper for a one year rental. I found an awesome deal on Spoonflower during a sale they had on Etsy, though and couldn’t resist. For a less expensive option, you could use contact paper instead of wallpaper. I have covered wooden desks with contact paper several times, and the application/removal processes were painless.

Updates to come

The research that I did said that peel and stick or pre-pasted wallpaper is great for renters, but I will report back my personal experience with it once I remove it in the spring when I’m moving out.

If you have ever wallpapered something, please let me know. I would love to see pictures! You could honestly cover anything (within reason) with wallpaper, but I highly recommend wallpapering your fridge.

P.S. This post is not sponsored by Spoonflower, but I absolutely love the wallpaper I bought from them and love to browse their wallpaper and textile selections. Check them out if you need some inspo or want to try this project for yourself!

A side angled view of the top half of black fridge covered in orange, pink, and white toile wallpaper in front of a sink with white cabinets above and dark wood cabinets below.

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