How to Choose the Best Appliance Colors for Your Kitchen

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-10-10 15:53:07

Choosing the right color for your kitchen appliances can seem like a daunting decision. After all, kitchen appliances are a major purchase, and although they aren't made to last as long as they used to, you'll still likely have them for more than a decade, so you'll want to make sure you're choosing something you can live with for a while. But more importantly, you'll want to choose something that complements the look of your kitchen, whether you're trying to match your kitchen's current design or are planning a complete kitchen remodel. Here are some of the most popular options for kitchen appliance colors, along with some pros and cons for each option.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most popular appliance color options for a reason—it is arguably the most versatile. Stainless works with many different colors and materials, from warm natural wood tones to cool granite countertops. Because stainless rests comfortably between dark and light, it doesn't overpower a kitchen when your goal is to highlight other features such as beautiful cabinetry or intricate backsplash patterns. Stainless also works well with a broad range of hardware finishes, including stainless, nickel, bronze, and even brass.

The biggest downfall to stainless steel is that it easily reveals smudges and fingerprints. Even if you don't have kids, if you're a busy cook, you might want to consider a matte, smudge-resistant stainless finish (see more below)—or a different color altogether—or you may quickly grow tired of cleaning your appliances.

Black Stainless Steel

Black stainless steel is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional stainless steel. Slightly darker and more slate colored, black stainless is still versatile and gives the kitchen a slightly deeper, warmer feel than traditional stainless. Black stainless is often touted as being better able to resist fingerprints and smudges than traditional stainless due to a smudge-resistant finish that is painted over the stainless steel. However, be aware that regular black stainless is still highly glossy and doesn't always resist fingerprints better than traditional stainless. What makes it a little more manageable is the fact that the smudge-resistant finish makes it much easier to clean. Instead of having to buff it regularly with stainless steel cleaner, all that's needed to clean it is a soft, dry cloth for light fingerprints or a soft, damp cloth for caked-on fingerprints or smudges.

Matte Stainless Steel

The best of both worlds, matte stainless blends the versatility of stainless with an even greater resistance to fingerprints and smudges. Depending on the manufacturer, you can often find both traditional stainless and black stainless in matte finishes. Matte finishes have a more satin appearance and are much less shiny and reflective than traditional stainless, so they look a little less cold and industrial.


Like stainless, black appliances coordinate well with many different colors. If you have black or very dark stained wood cabinets, black appliances can blend in, creating a seamless look in your kitchen. On the other hand, if you are going for a modern, high-contrast look, black appliances can look very striking with white cabinets. Black also coordinates well with existing stainless steel appliances, so if you're replacing a stainless appliance and want to eventually switch to black, you won't need to worry about replacing all your appliances at once so they match. Often, stainless appliances integrate black into the design, featuring black handles, knobs, or side panels, which can further pull together black and stainless appliances.

Like stainless appliances, black tends to show smudges and fingerprints unless you opt for a matte or textured finish. Black appliances can also overwhelm a small kitchen, and they aren't the best option for kitchens that have little natural light, since they tend to make the room feel even darker.


If you don't like the look of stainless or don't want the hassle of cleaning it, white can be a great option if you have white or light-colored cabinets and light countertops. White appliances offer a bright, clean look, and can be purchased in a smooth rather than textured finish for a crisp, non-traditional design approach. White doesn't show fingerprints or smudges as much as stainless and black, although over time it can begin to show dirt. The textured white finishes tend to be a little more difficult to clean than smooth finishes, since grime can get lodged into the texture. Still, compared to stainless steel or black, you'll likely need to clean white appliances much less frequently.

Custom-Paneled Appliance Covers

Custom-paneled appliance covers are an excellent option in a new kitchen or in a kitchen remodel when your goal is to have your appliances blend seamlessly with your cabinetry. Custom panels can be created to match your cabinetry exactly, and can be built over refrigerators and even dishwashers. Hiding your large appliances behind custom panels can be a great way to let the other features of your kitchen take center stage. Custom panels can make it a bit more challenging when it comes time to replace your appliances, but even that can be easier if you stick to standard—rather than custom—sizes when initially adding a custom-paneled appliance to your kitchen's design.

When you choose Lutes for a kitchen remodel, we can create custom-paneled appliance covers for your appliances, or we can help you choose the right appliance colors to complement your new kitchen. Give us a call to get started!

How to Choose the Best Appliance Colors for Your Kitchen

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