Retro renovations

Refrigerators

Refrigerators: Buy new.
Why: Energy hogs should stay retired.

If you're thinking kitschy is cool for your kitchen, you might be tempted to go out and find a colorful old refrigerator to match your theme. Bad idea.

According to Energy Star, the government-backed program that promotes energy efficiency, a refrigerator made before 1993 uses twice the amount of energy as a new model does. Imagine the decades of technological advances that occurred after those post-World War II candy-colored behemoths went out of style. These machines are energy wasters and will drive up your electric bill.

If the idea of an old refrigerator appeals to you — or if you simply like a punch of color in your major appliances — check out Big Chill, a company that makes retro-inspired refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers. You can also swap out smaller appliances, like mixers, coffee makers or blenders. KitchenAid makes them in colors that sweep across the rainbow.