old refrigerator

Other than interesting yard art, there are plenty of things you can do with a non-working refrigerator. (Photo: Helen's Photos/Shutterstock)

Many people do their best to recycle paper, cans, glass and metals, separating the small pieces into bins and setting them on the curb to await pick up. But what about those giant bulky items that aren’t so easy to find eco-friendly solutions for? A prime example? The refrigerator.  

Happily, refrigerators are expensive so people keep them for years, but like all man-made items that don’t end up in the history museums, eventually they break beyond repair prompting people to trash them.  

Don’t want to add yours to the landfill? Here are 6 creative ways people have repurposed old refrigerators to create something functional long after the original function for the device disappeared. 

The fridge couch 

couch made from an old refrigerator

Photo: Fridgecouch

With some very creative adjustments, Fridgecouch moves the refrigerator from the kitchen to the living room. Designer Adrian Johnson first found red leather seating inside a BMW 325e coupe while perusing through items at the junkyard. All he needed was something to put them in. That’s when he found an olive green Gibson Frost Clear Deluxe refrigerator, the perfect size to complete his very first (but not his last) Fridge Couch. And yes, you can also order one of your very own. 

Create a pantry 

Remove the door from your old broken down refrigerator and repurpose it to use as a pantry. It’s ready-made with its shelving and easy to clean surfaces. Hang it on a wall or in your pantry for a super cute and unique look.  

Convert it to an ice chest 

By removing all of the parts that make the refrigerator run, like the evaporator cell, compressor and condenser fan, Krafty Karina explains how she turned her refrigerator into an ice chest, and gives instructions on how you can do it too. When you think about it, an old refrigerator, an appliance built to keep things cold, is the perfect thing to use to create an ice chest. 

Make it a root cellar 

This couple built a root cellar for less than $10 by putting a broken-down refrigerator in the ground. They dug a big hole and soon the old appliance had a second life thanks to a backyard DIY project.  

Fancy chair and ottoman 

As it turns out, there are a few different ways to create seating out of an old refrigerator. If you don’t mind forgoing your peripheral vision, this chair made from an Israeli refrigerator from the '50s certainly has style.   

Temporary home for a homeless pooch

homeless dog in house made from an old refrigerator

Photo: Y-Town

One stray dog in China hit the jackpot, first by getting off the street, and second by scoring these fancy digs created by Y-Town, a design studio. One of the designers at Y-Town found the pup close by and decided to offer him a home. So the newly named Chuichui moved in and soon had a fancy repurposed refrigerator that functioned as a bed with space for food and water as well. The door opens to create a ramp for the little guy to get up and down into his fridge. 

Of course, if you can’t find a way to reuse your old fridge, you can always look into recycling as much of it as possible. Energy Star has great resources to help you figure out how best to recycle your old refrigerator.

Related on MNN: