What’s the Best Appliance Finish for Your Kitchen?

We received a home design question a little while back about whether white appliances are in style and it got us thinking about the prominent finishes in the industry today: White, Slate, Black Stainless Steel, and Stainless Steel. We’re going to go through out thoughts on each one and help you find the best finish for your kitchen.

Stainless Steel kitchens are a classic choice and they match everything, but are they on the way out?

Stainless Steel kitchens are a classic choice and they match everything, but are they on the way out?

The GE JGBS66EEKES works perfectly with a rustic kitchen and blends in beautifully with this particular cabinetry color.The GE JGBS66EEKES works perfectly with a rustic kitchen and blends in beautifully with this particular cabinetry color.

Stainless Steel has been a fan favorite for years since replacing white as the most common appliance color. It looks modern and matches almost every cabinetry color and style. One of the biggest cons for Stainless Steel appliances is the constant appearance of smudges, prints and smears that seemed to magically manifest on every inch of the appliance’s surface. New fingerprint-resistant models have emerged to eliminate this issue, so Stainless has reigned supreme for years! The newest options on the market, Slate and Black Stainless Steel are the darker counterparts of this classic color but Slate is often described as “the new Stainless Steel” because it matches a large number of kitchen styles. Let’s dig into that claim a little.

Build a beautiful slate kitchen today if you've got a penchant for earthy tones, darker shades, and lived-in decor-- GE's got a great line-up. Depicted: Slate appliances in a blue kitchen, rustic and cozy.Build a beautiful slate kitchen today if you’ve got a penchant for earthy tones, darker shades, and lived-in decor– GE’s got a great line-up.

Slate is a low-reflecting medium grey color with beige undertones. This all combines to create a neutral shade of grey that’s warm and versatile. Slate is perfect for both the modern and rustic kitchen, and it’s not a finger print magnet. It matches a variety of cabinetry color options and serves as an anchor that grounds your kitchen with its earthy tone. It’s a good choice if you want to darken the kitchen’s atmosphere a bit (not as dark as Black Stainless Steel, but darker than white or Stainless Steel would allow).

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However, it doesn’t work with all colors the way stainless steel does. Slate is great for grey-based colors and neutral tones, but it doesn’t give you the creative license that stainless steel does. Due to this, it also isn’t very forgiving if you decide to change your kitchen’s aesthetic in the long run (unless you get new appliances). And if you did decide to change it and wanted to save some money up towards it, it might be a good idea to get a new home energy quote from Simply Switch. They go through tons of quotes to get you the best one for your money.

 

Be bold and modern with Black Stainless Steel appliances in dark settings or light settings with heavy accent use for color-continuity. Click to see GE's Artistry collection for more of these beautiful black appliances.Be bold and modern with Black Stainless Steel appliances in dark settings or light settings with heavy accent use for color-continuity. Click to see GE’s Artistry collection for more of these beautiful black appliances.

 

This set of sleek Black Stainless Steel appliances is from KitchenAid; it works incredibly well with the surrounding black cabinetry.

This set of sleek Black Stainless Steel appliances is from KitchenAid; it works incredibly well with the surrounding black cabinetry.

Black stainless steel is edgy and eye-catching, but it won’t blend into a light-colored kitchen. It works best with darker wood shades, but a white kitchen with black stainless steel (or slate) appliances is not impossible. You just need to use the right accessories to tie the colors together like a dark island base with a white counter top as the centerpiece of the kitchen would work perfectly to create some design unity. It’s great for a modern and industrial kitchen atmosphere, and would look great in contrast with light colored walls.

The ovens in this picture are the Miele H6880BPBRWS Wall Ovens in one of their latest finishes: Brilliant White. This is a top pick of an all white, modern kitchen. The appliances melt into sleek all white cabinetry for a sleek look.The ovens in this picture are the Miele H6880BPBRWS Wall Ovens in one of their latest finishes: Brilliant White. This is a top pick of an all white, modern kitchen. The appliances melt into sleek all white cabinetry for a sleek look.

White appliances, like Miele’s Brilliant White and Whirlpool’s Ice, are great for those who want to design an all-white kitchen. They’ll blend in perfectly and create a space with tons of light. They also don’t attract finger prints and smudges, but you’re limited in the colors that you can choose from. The old-style white appliances can look outdated in most kitchen settings, but these new, more contemporary styles would look great in a modern home.

Perfect for any color, any style, and any setting-- Stainless Steel isn't going anywhere.Perfect for any color, any style, and any setting– Stainless Steel isn’t going anywhere.

Ultimately, Stainless Steel isn’t going anywhere. It’s the most versatile and it will continue to be so. Smudge-proof finishes eliminate the pesky fingerprint problem, and the color gives you the power to make your kitchen totally unique. You don’t have to worry about contrasting colors or matching anything with the color of your appliances. That being said, if you did want to choose something different. Here’s a tip to keep in mind to make even the most contrasting colors complementary.

Create unity through matching colors and accents.

White cabinetry can work with black appliances, you just need to make sure that hardware matches! Depicted: black and white kitchen with black appliances, black counter top, white cabinetry and dark floors.White cabinetry can work with black appliances; you just need to make sure that hardware matches!

Picture a white kitchen with black stainless steel appliances— the ultimate contrast. The appliances can make your space appear smaller and crowded depending on the individual units’ proximity to each other. Unless you add in some matching accents, the difference may be too big to mesh together. Try a dark counter top to create a smoother transition from the dark to the light and spread the dark color out more, so it’s not concentrated in a few points.

This white kitchen uses black elements all throughout the design for cohesion: the plant pots, the faucet, the stool legs, the cabinet handles, and even in the tile backslash! T
his white kitchen uses black elements all throughout the design for cohesion!

Additionally, you could play with the metal accents in the kitchen: cabinetry handles, kitchen sink faucets, light pendants, decor elements (like the plant pots in the image shown), etc. If these match, you’re creating little links that tie the kitchen design together all throughout the space. The metal accents can also be used to create contrast if you pick a bold color and stick with it.

This will work with any finish, but remember that not all finishes work well with every color the way stainless steel does. We’ve shown how this would look in the opposite situation with slate appliances in a white kitchen where you’d need to match the metal.


This kitchen is also white and matches the light fixtures, faucet, and cabinetry handles to the slate appliances by GE for a complete kitchen design that works beautifully. Click to view more slate masterpieces from GE!This kitchen is also white and matches the light fixtures, faucet, and cabinetry handles to the slate appliances by GE for a complete kitchen design that works beautifully. Click to view more slate masterpieces from GE!

This is the secret to why stainless steel has been such a successful color (aside from it being a more professional set-up from the common white appliance back in the day). Most of the handles and elements on in your kitchen will be stainless steel– it’s just the most common option and that’s what makes it match everything so well. It’s already sprinkled throughout your kitchen. If you replaced those handles with a slate finish, the stainless steel appliances would look out of place, but the slate ones would fit perfectly. This tip goes for all colors and finishes. Cohesion is always in style and it always matches.

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Doing this on your own can be tough if you’re not experienced or don’t have the time to commit to it. If you need help designing your kitchen, bathroom or living room then give us a call! Our in-house design specialists are ready to help you create your dream home using our appliance connections and our partnership with Scavolini Cabinetry. We can match you with the right collection, the right appliances and the right design for your style, space and budget. Call us today for a consultation with our Scavolini team at 718-249-1214!


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Written by The Home Designer
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