Today we’re talking about stainless steel appliances. In our previous “Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down – Painted Cabinets” post Terrie stated she disliked stainless appliances. I like them. Read on and see which side of the fence you stand on – then chime in with a comment and share your thoughts.
Cindy Gives Stainless Appliances a Thumbs Up
My current kitchen appliances are stainless steel and in my two prior houses they were also stainless. The fourth house had white appliances. All of them were good appliances and they did their jobs – but I’ve stuck with the stainless instead of the white and would happily do so again.
Stainless steel isn’t better than other appliance finishes. An appliance doesn’t work better just because it’s stainless. Stainless is simply a finish style – an option – a choice – and a perception. Stainless is just something I like.
I think stainless is the new white. A stainless steel finish goes with most any cabinet color, whether painted or stained. It is also easy to use with most any countertop and flooring surface. Stainless looks very much at home in a traditional style kitchen as well as in a very modern kitchen. Face it, stainless is a great neutral!
Stainless is also durable and easy to keep clean – that’s why restaurants and other commercial ventures use it. It’s a great workhorse in the kitchen.
Since stainless goes with most anything and the public finds it so appealing, manufacturers have moved beyond the major appliances like the stove, hood, refrigerator, warming drawer and kitchen sink. Stainless is now a mainstay option for microwaves, blenders, toasters, toaster ovens, tea kettles, crock pots, bread machines, can openers, salt and pepper shakers and even spoon rests!
The popularity of stainless helped drop prices. Years ago only high end, more professional appliances used stainless. Now all major appliance manufacturers offer a stainless option. This makes stainless accessible and it also means you don’t have to use the same manufacturer to ensure your appliance colors match. My kitchen contains stainless Sharp, DCS, Maytag and Fisher&Paykel appliances and they all play nice together. Not true with colored appliances finishes which sometimes vary slightly between manufacturers and whose color changes over time (some whites yellow faster and more than others).
In addition to blending with most anything, stainless steel projects a strong, durable, professional image. Hey, even if you can’t cook, your kitchen looks like you can! My husband and I both cook and we both enjoy the simple elegance and easy clean stainless surface when we’re working in the kitchen. Plus, our kitchen opens to the living and dining rooms and we like the way the stainless adds sparkle to the open area and is neutral enough to blend into the living space without being distracting.
Stainless steel looks good and works hard while providing a timeless and elegant look to my home. I’ve used it in three kitchens and would welcome it again.
Terrie Gives Stainless Appliances a Thumb Down
When Cindy suggested this topic, my response was “Sure, but I guess I’ll have to come up with something other than ‘I just don’t like it’.” I promptly pulled out my kitchen magazines and photographs to look for examples of good looking kitchens with something other than stainless appliances. You know what? In all my searching, I found surprisingly few ‘designer’ kitchens that didn’t have stainless appliances. And this includes my OLD magazines back 6-8 years ago!
As Cindy mentioned above, in our painted cabinet post a couple weeks ago I came down against painted cabinets. I wish I’d found this picture then because this kitchen has just about everything I don’t care for in a kitchen: painted cabinets, an island that’s a different finish than the rest of the kitchen, AND stainless appliances (peeking at the edges of the photo). One of my issues with stainless is that their very modernity doesn’t ‘match’ all kitchen design styles. Unlike Cindy I don’t think the stainless finish works with all styles. Somehow the industrial, sleek look of stainless mixed with country doesn’t work for me.
A more appropriate kitchen for stainless appliances, though if it were mine I’d prefer black with the fridge clad in matching cabinet fronts.
Most major appliance lines offer the ability to clad the appliance fronts with matching cabinet doors though it is definitely a more custom option therefore more pricey. If the budget can swing it, I definitely recommend that route. If not, white always looks clean and bright and black looks sharp and offers a more high contrast look to most cabinetry.
I agree with Cindy that the cost of stainless has decreased, but they’re still the highest priced finish on the market….sometimes only by a couple hundred dollars but often more than that. As for upkeep, my feeling is that all finishes are about the same with the slight difference that stainless seems to show every fingerprint. I definitely don’t like seeing grubby fingerprints all over the door nor do I want to wipe it down every day or two to keep it looking nice. There is a newer ‘fingerprint resistant’ stainless finish but it’s not a true stainless. It has a dull grey look that is even more unappealing than stainless.
Jenn Aire has developed a new finish called oil rubbed bronze which looks like it has possibilites. It’s warmer than the stainless but still has a little of the reflective qualities. Though I’ve only seen pictures, I think that could become a popular option.
Wrapping this up, I think Cindy’s comment, ”Stainless isn’t better than other appliance finishes. It’s an option.” is exactly right in this case. It’s trendy, it’s everywhere and available on just about anything, it’s durable. On the flip side, it does show fingerprints more readily than other finishes, it is a little more expensive and it looks very modern (which to me means it doesn’t work perfectly in every kitchen style). This topic more than the others we’ve tackled seems to be about perception and just…. do you like the look? I’m still not sold….think I’ll keep my white appliances.
What Do You Think?
So, what are you using for your appliances? Are they stainless? White? Black? Cabinet clad or something else? Is stainless steel something you like or dislike? If you’ve got a kitchen – you’ve got appliances – so you’re more than qualified to share a comment on this topic. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer – just personal preferences when it comes to appliance finishes. Tell us yours. Leave a comment – we’d love to hear from you. We know you’re out there…………