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Should You Buy Colors for Kitchen Appliances? (Reviews/Trends)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  September 07, 2015  |  5 Min. Read

Appliances  |  Makeover Monday  |  How to Buy Appliances

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About 10 years ago, I was asked by the Wall Street Journal if stainless was going out as a design trend. They seemed to think so. I told them no way (funny, they never called again).

In my opinion only niche companies embraced color, so there was not enough exposure. Flash forward 10 years, GE and Whirlpool have embraced color, but does that constitute a new trend?

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A Brief History of Colors

I started at Yale in 1986 just as the last color trend of coffee (brown), coppertone (browner), Harvest Wheat (somewhat gold) and Avocado (green) were winding down and being discontinued.

Whirlpool would introduce a few designer finishes later like platinum (grey). For the remainder of the 90s, it was white (often with walnut accents) and almond, which was later renamed bisque and black.

The next big fashion trend was monochromatic white also known as white on white. White was overwhelmingly popular until stainless steel would become the favorite in the mid 1990s.

The Stainless Trend 1993ish to the Present

Look at our showroom...

yale appliance stainless range display

Hard to believe 20 years ago this was all white, bisque and black. The professional ranges of Dynasty, Viking and 5 Star were the first to feature stainless steel in residential appliances. They adapted the commercial style to the home.

However, the real early pioneer was Frigidaire. If the professional companies created the trend, then Frigidaire popularized it. You could buy a Frigidaire stainless kitchen for under $5,000 (now under $2,000). Most of the other companies waited to see if it was a passing trend. That’s how Frigidaire became a brand name again.

Stainless has the advantages of being more durable, but its high end look matches every cabinet style in a way the other colors do not. After 20 years of being the dominant style, is stainless finally fading? Let's look at the options.

Popular Colors Now

If you live long enough, you will see old styles become new trends. The newest is high tech white. It is a more contemporary version of the monochromatic white. 

Whirlpool calls it White Ice

whirlpool white ice finish

GE has a retro finish called “Artistry”

ge artistry white finish

Miele has even jumped on the style. We have it on display

miele white kitchen finish

Slate looks like a contemporary Coppertone

Whirlpool has Black Ice

It's funny, 20 years later, we are back to white and black as high end colors. 

Other Colors

La Cornue is a French range with about 20 colors. This is probably the best execution of color, and they have about 20 (we now carry this line).

Viking has several different color options as well

There are several other lines like Bertazzoni, Ilve and Smeg that other different colors as well.

Do You Buy Color?

There is a certain allure to be being totally different. From that standpoint, I like color. You will probably still buy stainless steel. I like color in certain situations, maybe as a one product focal point. Buy a range in blue, but not the whole suite.

There is a problem with buying colors. If Slate does not sell, then GE will discontinue the finish. 6-10 years down the road, you will have to replace the whole kitchen because of a single unrepairable unit. Companies are skittish in carrying products that do not sell over the long term.

You are also married to that one manufacturer. Mixing GE and Whirlpool would not look coordinated, whereas most stainless appliances from different companies will match.

Lastly, colors do not match every cabinet type like stainless. I would use that Miele white in a high tech contemporary kitchen, but probably would not with wood tones.

So yes, you should consider color in certain situations for one item, and buy the rest as stainless.

What do you think?

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  • Makeover Monday: Every Monday, we talk about products, trends and styles. We have about 35 posts and counting. Click here to see the others.
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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

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