Is Stainless Steel Still Popular?
Stainless Steel appliances have been a long-lasting trend in home appliance choices. For more than 2 decades homeowners have loved appliances and fixtures in stainless. But will the trend continue? Are stainless steel appliances still popular, and more importantly, will they be popular in the future? We’re seeing a wave of new finishes that rival stainless in their appeal. Here are a few that are trending in 2018. But first, there are two housing design trends that are setting the stage, Integrated kitchens in open floor plans, and Personalization
A. Integrated Kitchens
House plans have increasingly opened up over the recent years, allowing the kitchen to be integrated into the other living spaces. Modern cooks prefer to be part of the party, rather than be shut away behind the walls of a separated kitchen.
What this has done for the decor of the kitchen is integrate it with the rest of the home. Now we see many different choices in appliances, from colored refrigerators and stoves, to a variety of metals and finishes.
According to a recent study from Houzz, nearly two-thirds of homeowners in the survey spent more than three hours in their kitchens. Kitchens are now places to watch TV, entertain and read, as well as cook and bake. Today’s kitchens are styled and furnished with the rest of the living spaces of the house in mind.
As kitchens keep shifting to look more like the living rooms, they are more posh, less utilitarian. Homeowners are personalizing kitchens with bold appliances, cozy seating, stone surfaces and cool fixtures — from sculptural faucets to interesting pendant lights.
As kitchens become more and more our living spaces, homeowners are making them more comfortable. Personalizing the kitchen adds to the comfort of the room. Comfortable upholstered chairs, cozy reading nooks and even a small couch are right at home in today’s kitchen.
Are stainless steel appliances still popular? Yes.
The Houzz study reported that 3/4 of the respondents still planned to have stainless steel appliances. Their popularity continues, even though more homeowners are opening up to other styles and finishes. People like stainless steel. It matches every wood tone and finish. Dark wood, light wood and white cabinets all look good with stainless steel.
Most major manufacturers have been trying out many different metals over the last 5 years, trying to be the first to find that “next big thing”. Think of Jen-air “oiled bronze”, Whirlpool’s “sunset bronze”, Miele’s “truffle brown”, or Viking’s “graphite”. In the right kitchen, all of these finishes will look great. But none have really taken off like stainless steel…not yet.
As the kitchen becomes more integrated, many homeowners are personalizing with greater boldness. As brass and gold have made a comeback, as well as bronze and other metals, there is less reason to stick with just one finish. Mixing metals, although it must be done carefully, is a growing option in design. In high-end homes, look for designers to play with metals more than in the past. “It’s all good” is the motto.
Satin and Matte Finishes
Appliances that have a satin or matte finish, whether in steel or other metals, are appearing in showrooms. Matte is used to describe something that lacks shine, so it looks more dull and flat. The appeal is two-fold, they are easier to keep clean, and they easily blend in with other finishes.
Black Stainless Steel
Black is an exciting newer color and finish that we’re seeing more often. After using the KitchenAid black stainless appliances in the 2015 House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year, their popularity has increased. Now other manufacturers are making them, including LG and Samsung.
Black is becoming popular in all rooms of the house, not just the kitchen. Black is the new Neutral in 2018. The PPG Porter Paints color of the year 2018 is a faded black called Black Flame. A more elegant version of black, I think we’ll be seeing it more in appliances.
Since the kitchen is more integrated into the rest of the home in modern floor plans, adding panels to the appliances that match the cabinets is becoming popular.
The appliances are hidden behind, so other features of the kitchen can shine. This is a great way to create a focal point somewhere else.
This uniform look creates a less fussy style, which blends into the living spaces well. In the right home, this is the perfect solution to a more “livable” kitchen.
To Paint or Not to Paint?
Thinking about painting your kitchen cabinets? Check out (The Flooring Girl) Debbie Gartner’s series of useful articles on the topic:
- Five Reasons to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets
- How to Paint Cabinets the Right Way
- How to Choose the Right Farmhouse Sink
Smeg is one of the manufacturers who have come out with a lot of colors, from pastels, to bright shades to black and white.
Colored appliances in an open kitchen add design and style that help it match the rest of the house. Viking has had a line of colored appliances for several years. They look great in a mid-century modern home, or an eclectic, ultra niche home. They are perfect for the homeowner who loves to have fun with their decor.
Slate appliances are on trend this year. GE is the first to make them. A matte slate finish is easy to keep clean and resists the dreaded fingerprints that make stainless steel difficult. Like stainless, slate matches any cabinet or countertop finish, and is style-neutral. The brushed stainless handles add a pop of shine, complimenting other appliances. [Kitchen by Southington Appliances Kathy from Connecticut Appliance]
What Appliances Should I Choose?
If you’re asking are stainless steel appliances still popular…My opinion as a homeowner…choose what you like. You live with it. As with most things concerning the home, do your research and read all the pros and cons of each style and finish. Then choose what you will love to see and work with and clean every day.
Personal Story: We just bought a slate appliance package for our kitchen...I love them! We have an open floor plan (you can see from the front door all the way to the back of the house where the kitchen is...they look beautiful.)
My opinion as a REALTOR®…it depends on your home. If you have a traditional home, choose something that goes with your traditional home’s style. If you have a modern, contemporary, or mid-century modern home, choose what compliments it.
Of course, all this depends on whether you’re considering selling soon, or if you plan to stay put for a while. The average life expectancy of appliances should be taken into consideration. If you’re going to sell before your appliances wear out, then you’ll want to keep resale in mind.
Average life expectancy of appliances:
- Refrigerator – 9 – 14 years
- Oven/ranges – electric: 13 – 15, gas: 15 – 17 years
- Dishwashers – 7 – 10 years
If your home has a broad appeal, and if you want to appeal to the broadest group of buyers, the studies are still showing that stainless steel has the most popularity. Stainless appliances will be a safe choice for at least another 5 or 10 years. If you want to play it safe, choose stainless.
If you like to live bold…choose whatever your heart desires!
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