Kitchen Design Trend Report: Are You Ready For the New Stainless Steel?

updated Jul 16, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Oh stainless steel. As of a few years ago, nothing said “I’ve arrived” louder than having SS appliances (and granite) in your kitchen, particularly as a renter. You’d eagerly report to friends about your new place that “it has stainless steel appliances!” with a high-pitch voice of excitement and pride, and you’d receive a cacophony of “oohhs” and “ahhhs” in return. But, the years go on, trends come and go, and I’m starting to wonder, what’s next? What’s the next stainless?

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I did some digging across big-box retailers, niche companies and high-end dealers, and found a few viable options. Do they have the staying power to dethrone stainless as the king of kitchen appliances? That is not something I’m prepared to answer, however, I am prepared to make this sweeping generalization for design-minded dwellers: We’re ready for what’s next.

(Image credit: Miele)

Black, white and everything in between.

Luxury appliance company Miele debuted its earthy Truffle Brown color a few years ago, but I think it’s a great contender for those with a bigger budget who are looking for a seamless transition between wood cabinetry and appliances.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Samsung isn’t the only one offering a range of “black” stainless steel appliances like the collection shown above. KitchenAid, LG, Whirlpool, Maytag…many of the big-box brands also have this new finish in their lineups. It’s an interesting concept as it doesn’t stand out amongst dark cabinetry as obviously as traditional stainless, but is much more modern than the black appliances of yesteryear. What do you think?

(Image credit: Sears)

I like this matte (or maybe it’s brushed?) black Kenmore refrigerator with a sleek facade. Whether matte or satiny, I think its safe to say black appliances are making a serious comeback.

(Image credit: Whirlpool)

We reported on Whirlpool’s “White Ice” collection back in 2012, and though it hasn’t seemed to completely go gangbusters, white kitchen cabinetry has. If you like a cohesive look, this modern take on the standard white appliance is one to consider.

(Image credit: O’Brien Harris)

Modern, custom colors are the new “I’ve arrived.”

The darling of design magazines, the colored artisan range is one that haunts my “dream kitchen” Pinterest boards (especially the grand dame La Cornue Chateau 150 in any shade of blue installed beautifully above by kitchen design company O’Brien Harris.) Granted, something with a price tag of $40,000 is never something that will be even remotely accessible, though its styling is something that will certainly trickle down.

(Image credit: Bertazzoni)

Bertazzoni offers jazzy colors in their Professional Series, like this one in a fiery red.

(Image credit: Southern Living)

Spotted in Southern Living, Viking now has a range of colors to choose from.

(Image credit: West Elm)

Nostalgia is king.

Perhaps the biggest trend in new colors and finishes for kitchen appliances is retro shades reminiscent of decades past. Dream of that avocado green range your parents disdained? You can have that now, thanks to brands like SMEG (which you can buy through West Elm) and Big Chill.

(Image credit: Big Chill)

Don your apron and pearls: A look at the Big Chill catalog is like taking a trip through Pleasantville.

(Image credit: GE)

Stainless isn’t the only metal in town anymore.

GE’s smudge-proof Slate collection is a nice middle ground to stainless and black.

(Image credit: Bluestar)

Professional appliance brand BlueStar offers their Precious Metals line as bold substitutes for stainless.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Whirlpool teased homeowners last year with their Sunset Bronze collection, claiming it would be released in the fall of 2015, but we’ve yet to see it offered. Was it too bold to appeal to the masses for a successful product launch? We hope not, because we’d love to see it come to fruition.

Put on your product designer hat, and tell us: If you were creating the next trend wave of kitchen appliances, what would they look like? What do you want to see hit the market?

More Trends We Love:
5 Vintage Kitchen Design Styles Making a Comeback
→ The New Kitchen Trend That Will Make Your Space Unique
→ These Kitchen Trends Have Some Serious Staying Power