In my interior design work, I am often asked about kitchen appliance colors during the course of a remodeling or new construction project. While each project and each home is different, following are some guidelines to help you make the best appliance color choice for your upcoming design project.
In general, kitchen appliances offer more utility than fashion. They serve their purpose – either for cooking, washing or keeping your food cold – but quite often clients do not want them to become the focal point of the room. (Although, there are exceptions…have you ever seen the amazing vintage-reproductions ranges? Gorgeous, and definitely a focal point!) Choosing an appliance color to blend into your cabinetry and other kitchen finishes is the best way to ensure a seamless look. Appliance colors should complement the space, not hog the spotlight.
White appliances, while not the most popular option, do have their place. If you have white kitchen cabinetry, they can blend into the kitchen and become less noticeable in the room. Or, with very dark cabinetry (think charcoal or black), they can be a stark contrast and a ray of light in the room. The high-end “floating glass” appliances can be stunning in a modern space with lacquered cabinetry, as well.
Black appliances have a bit more of an upscale look, but can create an overwhelmingly dark space in some circumstances. Consider them if you have stained wood or dark painted cabinetry. The “floating glass” options, again, have a smooth, upscale look. If you like high contrast, consider using them in kitchens with very light cabinetry.
Stainless steel appliances are by far the most popular choice for appliances today. In truth, they do work in almost every situation. Whether you have white or colorful painted cabinetry, dark or light-stained wood or lacquered cabinetry, stainless steel will integrate beautifully into any space. They work in both contemporary and traditional homes.
Clients often wonder if their choice of stainless steel appliances will keep them from using other metal finishes in their kitchen or home. For example, they would like to use oil rubbed bronze light fixtures, but they are concerned about mixing that metal finish with stainless steel appliances.
My response? Mix away! To me, stainless steel appliances are like blue jeans – they work with just about anything. I consider them almost a neutral color, so I have no problem mixing them in with other metal finishes. Do not feel trapped into using matching light fixtures or cabinet hardware when choosing stainless steel appliances.
Of course, you always have the option of either partially or completely hiding your appliances away. Most manufacturers offer appliance options that will accept custom cabinetry panels, so you can make your refrigerator or dishwasher look like just another cabinet.
A unique option offered by Jenn-Air is their Oiled Bronze appliance finish. This rich, dark metal finish blends in with warm wood cabinets beautifully.
One caveat to both stainless steel and bronze appliances: they are more difficult to maintain. While all appliances show fingerprints to some degree, stainless steel requires constant cleaning to retain a fingerprint-free and streak-free surface. Children and stainless steel don’t always play nicely with each other.
Another option is the “stainless look-alike” finishes for appliances that require less maintenance, like this one from Whirlpool. Their “Satina” finish is easier to clean and shows fewer fingerprints than stainless steel. Another advantage to a stainless-look finish: magnets work on its surface. Magnets do not work on real stainless steel, so if you like to use your refrigerator to display photos and reminders with magnets, be aware of this fact.
One more note about appliances: just as your black shirt doesn’t necessarily match your black pants, and there are 357 shades of “white,” all stainless steel finishes are not alike. For best results, purchase all of your stainless steel appliances from one manufacturer to ensure a finish match. While this is also true for other appliance finishes, it is most noticeable in the stainless steel finishes.
There are hundreds of choices when it comes to appliances. Hopefully, these tips will make your shopping trip just a little easier.