Ask Maria: Are Stainless Appliances Going out of Fashion?


via pinterest

Today’s question from a reader is:

“Maria, I am renovating my kitchen from scratch, I love white and would love all white appliances and white cabinets and white walls would this be to much? I hear that stainless is going out of fashion. ” What do you think?

Recently, I opened my October edition of House Beautiful (my favourite shelter magazine).

And there it was, with this quote:

“Warm finishes bring a homey, luxurious feeling, and they pair beautifully with so many cabinet colours. To me, they’re as neutral as silver stainless”.

copperstoveImage from House Beautiful

So let’s just look at this image for a second shall we? Notice that the copper has been repeated as inlays in the drawers and again as the kick below the cabinets. More copper appears as a solid backsplash.

Very coordinated, indeed.

Just take avocado appliances and do the same thing and what you have is a look that is extremely trendy and current.

Of course if you have buckets of money and can switch out your appliances with the trends, then this look is for you, but if you don’t, I say stainless is still the way to go.

Obviously, integrated appliances are the most timeless but they are expensive and not for everyone.

Let’s take a look at some more kitchens using copper and you decide for yourself how ‘neutral’ this look is. . .


via Pinterest

Here this kitchen has been styled beautifully with copper pots that repeat the look on the range and hood fan.


Via Pinterest

Soft pink looks great with copper because it’s like stainless with a rosy hue.


Barry Dixon Interior Design

Here the copper range is visually repeated with the butcher block countertop and pink beige travertine stone floor.

Let’s compare and explore how versatile Stainless appliances are:

brown kitchen

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Stained cabinets with earthy countertop and backsplash, stainless is perfect.


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Without any white repeated in this stained wood kitchen, the white stove and microwave become very noticeable.

If you have a wood stained kitchen and white appliances, choose a white countertop and backsplash to coordinate for the best look and feel.

white appliances

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Even high end white appliances look stark in an earthy kitchen (above).


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Stainless is just like denim in this dark cherry kitchen (above).


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And again too stark in this kitchen (above).

If you have black appliances, you MUST repeat the black again or they will look like black holes in your kitchen. The ONLY exception to this is a really dark kitchen, however in that situation stainless will look less heavy.

So we’re back to stainless. NOT dated. Way more timeless than all these other options unless of course you have integrated or clad appliances (below).


Integrated dishwashers on both sides of the sink {pinterest}

I am waiting for the moment where something just like stainless appears on the horizon, however for the record, I have not found it yet. White is too stark while black is too heavy for many stained wood kitchens and especially so when neither colour is repeated in the kitchen.

What’s your take? Yay or Nay?

Hey, I am LOW on the ASK MARIA questions, send them over with a picture here.

PS. The answer to “Can I have white appliances in a white kitchen?” has been answered in this post.

Related posts:

Do Kitchen Appliances Really Need to Match?

How to Choose the colour of your Kitchen Appliances?

How (and when) to Buy Appliances for Your New Kitchen

We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.



leave aREPLY

  1. I love how these convos turn. We recently remodeled our kitchen…White Dove cabinets, SS appliances, etc. It sure is pretty, and it’s a “yay” to Maria’s question. But, I too have become shamefully OCD –not because of the white cabinetry, but because of all the CONSTANT finger prints, water drips, and even a footprint on the stainless steel! I’m going to give KJ’s tip of good ol’ H2O and a *new* microfiber towel a try…

    • Oops…I meant “Yay” as in SS is the best choice with white cabinets. I love white appliances too, but white appliances their change color over time and you can’t predict how it will all match in the long run.

  2. Personally , I do not like SS. Furnished a brand new home 17 years ago w SS and came to detest them over time. Bought a new home 7 years ago that has beautiful black appliances and I absolutely love them. To me, it’s like having a perfect LBD and a great black trench that goes w everything. Very classy looking. Finding a choice of black appliances to replace them is simply impossible. No to SS. White , like black, are very classic choices IMO. And w the right shades would look spectacular.

  3. Well I guess I’m totally, hopelessly out of step with the times… I have a small kitchen, Giallo Ornamental granite, deep cafe color stained maple cabinets and BISQUE appliances. They are lighter than Almond- but not the stark white, and blend beautifully. I dread the time when I’ll need to replace, because there are few offerings in this tone now. For the reasons Maria stated, white would not be great. Black- ugh! ( I can’t keep my black coffee maker looking clean! Shows every speck of dust.)

  4. Agree about the microfiber cloth and plain water. This makes cleaning stainless, countertops, and glass front cab doors a breeze. I have lightly mocha glazed white cabs, black granite, nice stainless appliances. Light oak floor. It is by far the favorite kitchen I’ve ever had and I’ve built 12 new homes from scratch. Been in this one the longest, almost 14 years. I, too, like a shiny, spotless kitchen.

  5. The second photo of the kitchen with copper appliances was beautiful and I think timeless, but did not care for the others with copper. I’m very happy with stainless in my white kitchen.

  6. In eastern US appliances are going toward slate appliances – a very dark pewter color. It follows the grey trend one step further. My preference is paneled appliances – it provides continuity and timelessness to a kitchen. Appliances provide function but shouldn’t be focal points. A microwave drawer functions better, is safer and ergonomically easier on the back.
    If you want a focal point range, do a colored Viking range or an AGA. A well designed and executed kitchen should last a lifetime and provide satisfaction everyday. It’s the heart of the home!!

  7. I’m in appliance sales, and we sell far more stainless than anything else. Slate is also a popular new color, but I think in 10 + years, or less, it’ll be like harvest gold or avocado. Black stainless is a new choice that seems to be going over well. As I mentioned above in a reply to another comment, people come in complaining about their high gloss black appliances more than any other color, in terms of showing fingerprints, grease, and dust. I don’t think anything will ever be as prevalent as stainless. Integrated is nice, but not everyone can afford that level of product. We just built a new home last fall, and we went with white cabinets, dark gray quartz countertops, stainless appliances, white subway tile, medium brown solid wood flooring – I wanted what was considered *timeless* because this is our forever home to grow old in, and from everything I’ve learned in building previously, remodeling 3 homes after that, and reading everything online that I could over the past few years – this combination is one of the very few, truly, timeless looks. Color is a personal choice, though. If YOU like white, then get white – it’s your kitchen! 😉

  8. We’ll have stainless in our new kitchen. It’s not my personal preference-if I had fairy-tale budget, I’d chosen copper, because I truly love copper, always did, it just makes my heart sing; or something colored, because I love color:) But between simple black, white, or stainless-I choose stainless..easier to integrate. Also the surface is somewhat reflective-not a bad quality in a small kitchen.
    PS I feel something is wrong with me when I read comments about cleaning stainless steel..I never saw a problem with mine. I’m considered a tidy person, really. Not the cleanest on earth, but tidy and all that. I don’t understand how everybody sees it constantly, and I don’t. Maybe we have this no-smudge finish? Maybe I got it especially not to show fingerprints etc., and I don’t remember..

    • Lol…Glad you said what I was thinking. I dont find the maintenance a big deal. A few people mentioned the coldness of stainless, but personally I find “pristine”, almost bare counters, very sterile.

  9. I have a gorgeous white kitchen with black granite countertops,black herringbone back splash and white oak floors. I chose stainless appliances and don’t mind the upkeep. I think its because I am so grateful to finally have a nice kitchen that functions well. When we moved into this house it was formica, old 1970’s appliances and cabinets that were disgusting. 🙂

  10. I am a designer and I will always pick for my clients what works for them design and function wise. However, what I have been recently discovering, white and black might be options but and not as available as SS. Not only are they not on display to see, especially stoves and refrigerators, but are also not available in all models.

    I love my white appliance and prefer them over SS and black but kicked myself for replacing my dishwasher 2 years ago in white. I really like the look of white in my kitchen and did not want to replace it with SS since many of the SS appliances are mostly black with SS fronts. A lot of extra money for something that truly isn’t SS but black with SS accents.

    However, my stove died 7 months later and had to replaces ASAP as I had no stove.

    I did my homework and selected a model with all the cooking features I felt met my needs. Called around and no one have a white or black one on display, only SS. As a designer, and a bit OCD, it was important for me to know what the stove was going to look like. Was the door all metal, like the SS, or was it a glass front over metal. The best they could do was show me the digital image on the website and read the specs to me. Here I was making a purchase based on photos and what the salesperson could best tell me. I took the gamble and purchased it and happy to say I love my new stove in white. Though, I shutter the thought of replacing my refrigerator, pray daily too, it last me as I research to find my next refrigerator in white. What I have discover is as I find a model, it is not available in white.

    I hate to say that if I where to do it again knowing what I know now, I would go SS just because they are more readily available and easier to replace when an appliance goes on you.

    So, I guess SS is not only neutral but more readily available, something to add into the equation when designing, remodeling or just replacing your appliances.

  11. I agree, Maria, that SS appliances are far more versatile than any other color. That said, if someone wants white with a white kitchen, I think they should go for it. That’s what I did, with the benefit of your advice on cabinet color and the fabulous pop of deep blue in my Lacanche stove. The beautiful range was very important to me, much more so than the integrated appliances I would have preferred, and I couldn’t afford both. The white appliances do not detract from the blue range, as SS definitely would have done.

    What you have to be extremely careful about with all white is not making it look sterile, which it will if you match the cabinet color to the appliances. The prettiest white kitchens have pops of color and plenty of detail and texture. And IMO, an all-white kitchen really needs the warmth of a hardwood floor, preferably in medium brown.

  12. I so wanted to go to your color class in Corte Madera (north of SF), but have been in the middle of a remodel of our home in the Bay Area. We chose stainless steel appliances and they look beautiful and go well with maple cabinets and white quartzite with veining. I agree with the fingerprint situation and appreciate the cleaning tips.

    I hope you come back to the Bay Area, as I would very much like to attend your next class. Beautiful day to go to Napa. Cheers.

  13. I think things go out of fashion because they never made any sense in the first place. I don’t believe that applies to stainless. There’s something from every decade that becomes a classic because it works and people decide they don’t want to live without it. So that fashion just becomes part of the world that works and you no longer have to think if it is in fashion or not. Harvest gold and avocado were never going to be classics because they only went with stuff from that era. If you separate them from their 70’s context they didn’t make sense. Stainless made sense last decade, it makes sense this decade and it will in the next one too because it compliments any style as shown in the above pictures. Isn’t that the true definition of a classic?

  14. I have stainless appliances because the stove and dishwasher came with the house, which was fairly new. So we bought a stainless fridge to “match.”
    The stainless is ok, I guess, as far as coordinating, though I’m not sure I’m on board with it being timeless yet. It seems to me a very industrial finish. Not usually what I would pick for my home.
    Regarding finishes and smudging, our fridge is a no-smudge (maybe faux stainless) finish, and it’s fine. Easy to clean. The stove and dishwasher are actual stainless and a nightmare. There are drips showing on them that I’ve been trying to get off for years (since we bought the house). Nothing seems to work. I love the dampened microfiber cloth for windows, but it doesn’t work for this. It’s the tiny ridges in the stainless brushed finish–you can’t get anything out of those! Horrible! And believe me, I’m not an OCD housekeeper. I like things clean, yes, but I’ve NEVER had any other finish where fingerprints and smears bothered me.

    • Something acidic probably etched your stainless. It will need to be buffed out. You can google DIY methods or hire someone.

      • Thanks, KJ. I will check into that. Lots of acidic stuff in a kitchen – which begs the question why people so often recommend stainless, while at the same time saying carrara marble is too high-maintenance because it will etch!

  15. The thing about white appliances in a wood kitchen is that your eye always goes to the point of highest contrast, which would be the appliance next to wood. The appliance just sticks out if it is next to a darker wood. Also, with white appliances and painted cabinets, there are a million whites – if your appliances are white, you would have to color match your cabinets to the appliances. Also, you would have to make sure that all of your appliances are from the same manufacturer because whites differ from different manufacturers.

    I have stainless appliances in my kitchen, and they are just fine. The only thing I would consider changing would be to have the dishwasher and fridge panel ready, so they would blend in more with the cabinets.

  16. With the exception of a copper finish, I think I have tried every one and IMHO, the worse has been ‘black’ due to the fact that it shows ‘everything’ including the smallest scratch! That said; my favourite of all time was (and still is) the Almond/Bisque colour and I particularly loved the fridge as it had a textured finish. (No smudges or scratches to contend with and very easy-peasy maintenance.) In summary, with my proposed kitchen upgrades I am hoping to go with at least an integrated fridge, dishwasher, microwave but am still undecided re the stove as I am not fond of the current SS comparing it to a stove that I once had which I believe had a commercial finish and only got rid of because of its age. (‘It’ was at least twenty-one years old and a Moffat brand with all the bells ‘n whistles, never showed finger prints and you could use any cleanser on it unlike that of today’s.) -Brenda-

  17. There are many, many types of stainless steel which, by definition are iron alloys with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Other alloying elements such as nickel, molybdenum, titanium, and copper are added to achieve specific mechanical and physical qualities for a particular application or environment (e.g, cookware vs. surgical implant vs. architectural sheathing vs. marine setting).

    The challenge with cleaning stainless steel appliances is that the majority of residential appliance manufacturers, regardless of price point or brand use a very low quality grades of stainless steel (i.e., lower levels of chromium with little, if any nickel content). This approach delivers the desired look of stainless at a lower cost. Part of the rational is that the skin of your appliance won’t face the same level of wear and tear that your cookware would.

    But, you sacrifice corrosion resistance and cleanability. This is why there are legions of consumers complaining about their stainless steel appliances “rusting” only to discover that their warranty specifically excludes coverage for rusting or rust spots. The grade used will vary from product to product which is why in the comments here, you’ll see some people swear that a microfiber dampened with water is all they need, while others pull their hair out trying to find something, anything that works.

    Consider stainless steel flatware as an example. When shopping for flatware you’ll see numbers such as 18/0 or 18/10. These numbers refer to the % of chromium and nickel content respectively. Flatware labeled as 18/0 has zero nickel content and is a lower quality flatware than 18/10 which contains 10% nickel. Flatware labeled as 18/0 is duller, more prone to staining, cheaper, and what you might find in a commercial cafeteria type setting.

    The stainless steel used in 18/10 flatware is a high quality, corrosion resistant stainless with is a breeze to clean. I’ve never heard anyone complain that their 18/10 flatware is hard to clean or covered with streaks and fingerprints that are hard to remove. The same goes for stainless steel pots and pans.

    It always come down to cost versus quality. Commercial / industrial grade stainless appliances, sinks and countertops are a breeze to clean and keep clean but are significantly more expensive and cost prohibitive for most in a residential setting.

    • Thank you so much for the explanation even though that it makes me regret getting rid of the stove that I mentioned in my comment above. Oh, if I had only known …. ☺…. but it came with the house we purchased reason why I stated ‘I believe it had a commercial finish’. That said, my daughter has high-end SS appliances but the finish is already showing wear just after four years compared to the old stove that I mentioned so buyer beware and do your research. -Brenda-

  18. I agree with this post. I think white or black appliances could look nice if repeated in kitchens, but most of them still look cheap. We had white appliances before switching to stainless and I don’t understand why they aren’t designed to be more attractive. I actually think I like some of the older models compared to newer ones.

    Damp microfiber cloth is all I’ve ever needed for any marks on the stainless. I half stressed over this issue before buying ss and it works perfect. If you have product build up it may take a little while. Less labor intensive than wiping down my counters! And not being snarky, but we’ve also taught our small children not to touch the appliances. This will lessen the wiping.

  19. I would love to see the low grade stainless steel appliance trend die. Form follows function and the most important consideration with appliances should be function! The comment above by SDC is spot on. Don’t be a sheep and buy into the stainless steel finishes on appliances look “higher end”. Cheap stainless finishes (which is exactly what residential appliances are covered in) = special cleaners, special cloths (you aren’t even supposed to use a paper towel, lol), fingerprints, dings and dents, constant cleaning. Good ole fashioned enameled finishes = toughest finish that is easiest to maintain. Period. White with white or light cabinets and black with wood or dark cabinets. The white color of the appliances does NOT have to be the precise color of the cabinets either. If you want to “upgrade” the look of black or white, switch out the handles for stainless. Don’t make yourself a slave to HGTV or marketing trends, because with the inferior grades of stainless used on residential appliances, that is exactly what you will be.