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Kitchen Appliance Finishes: A Guide to Choosing the Right One for Your Home

Home & Design

Kitchen Appliance Finishes: A Guide to Choosing the Right One for Your Home

Appliance finishes can be a tricky decision for any homeowner. It can feel like stainless steel is the only option out there, but there are actually many different finishes available, each with their own unique uses in different design situations. To help you choose the right finish for your kitchen, here are the top five most popular appliance finishes and when you should use them.

Stainless Steel


Stainless steel is a classic and popular appliance finish for many reasons. It is a neutral color that can match almost any color palette and has a look of quality. Stainless steel can be a more expensive option, but it can be well worth it for the right kitchen design. Here are some situations where stainless steel is an especially strong choice:


  • In an ultramodern home: Stainless steel complements a modern or futuristic space with a glossy and minimalist kitchen design. When selecting other metals like handles, faucets, or furniture, pick those that are similar to the appliance finish to keep the whole design as sleek as possible.
  • When your cabinets are wood: If you have lots of wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances provide a visual break and help to bring out the richness of the wood’s organic patterning.
  • In a transitional style: Stainless steel is a good option for transitional kitchen style, which usually sticks to a palette of white, gray, metallics, and wood. You can contrast your stainless steel appliances with warmer metals like brass or bronze, which add interest to your kitchen design.




Black appliances are a bold and dramatic choice for any kitchen. Here are some situations when you should choose black:


  • In a black and white color scheme: Black appliances paired with white cabinetry achieve a vivid and dramatic look. However, be careful not to crowd the appliances too much in a compact kitchen, as this look can be too heavy.
  • When your cabinetry is very dark: If you have dark painted or espresso wood cabinetry, black appliances will blend in for a much subtler effect, making your kitchen appear sophisticated.
  • When your kitchen is spacious: If your kitchen is large and well-lit, a few bits of black, or appliances that combine black and steel, will bring in the walls and make the space feel more intimate and relaxed.




Paneled appliances are a great option when you want to match the cabinet material, profile, and hardware for total consistency. This approach can solve lots of little design dilemmas:


  • In a super compact kitchen: Paneled appliances can help create a much more streamlined look, which can make the kitchen seem much larger and more put-together.
  • When you love wood, wood, and more wood: If you love the look of all-wood, why let your appliances break up this earthy elegance? With paneled appliances, you can keep your modern conveniences hidden from sight and enjoy your natural vibe uninterrupted.
  • When your look is already high-drama: Using paneled appliances will eliminate one visual element to help keep an edgy look from going all the way over the edge.




White appliances may seem ordinary, but they are an underrated option with their own unique uses:


  • When your cabinetry is a pale tone: White appliances help set off subtle undertones in pale neutrals that are a bit darker than off-white, creating a welcoming atmosphere.
  • When your ceiling is dark: Dark ceilings can weigh down your space, but keeping everything along the walls light and breezy with white appliances can let your rich dark ceiling be a feature without the whole room feeling like a cave.
  • When you want to mix and match: White appliances can blend into white cabinets, letting other appliances be the breakout stars in more daring materials.
  • When you have light counters: Light appliances can bring the tones from light counters to your vertical surfaces, tying your color scheme together.




  • Colored appliances are a great option when you want to make a statement in your kitchen. Here are some situations when colored appliances work:
  • When you love retro diner charm: Pale blue retro fridges paired with classic diner-inspired decor or contemporary furnishings can bring a fresh and fun look to your kitchen.
  • When you're ahead of the curve: Black stainless steel appliances are a trending option, tinted to a soft charcoal black for more drama and better smudge-proofing.
  • When your kitchen needs a little something special: If you have classic white cabinets, demure hardware, subtle sophisticated tile, and hidden, perfectly functional lighting, you can add a fiery red oven or cheerful blue fridge to add a lot of pizazz to an otherwise humble kitchen.


When choosing the right appliance finish for your kitchen, consider your cabinets, floors, lighting, and other design elements to make the best decision for your space. With these top five popular finishes and their unique uses, you can make a confident choice that will elevate your kitchen design.


The content for this blog post was inspired by Houzz.com, a leading home design and renovation platform. 


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