We received a home design question on our Houzz account a little while back about whether white appliances are in style and it got us thinking about the prominent finishes in the industry today: White, Slate, Black Stainless Steel, and Stainless Steel. We’re going to go throughout thoughts on each one and help you find the best finish for your kitchen.

Stainless Steel kitchens are a classic choice and they match everything, but are they on the way out?
Stainless Steel kitchens are a classic choice and they match everything, but are they on the way out?
The GE JGBS66EEKES works perfectly with a rustic kitchen and blends in beautifully with this particular cabinetry color.
The GE JGBS66EEKES works perfectly with a rustic kitchen and blends in beautifully with this particular cabinetry color.

Stainless Steel has been a fan favorite for years since replacing white as the most common appliance color. It looks modern and matches almost every cabinetry color and style. One of the biggest cons for Stainless Steel appliances is the constant appearance of smudges, prints and smears that seemed to magically manifest on every inch of the appliance’s surface. New fingerprint-resistant models have emerged to eliminate this issue, so Stainless has reigned supreme for years! The newest options on the market, Slate and Black Stainless Steel are the darker counterparts of this classic color but Slate is often described as “the new Stainless Steel” because it matches a large number of kitchen styles. Let’s dig into that claim a little.

Build a beautiful slate kitchen today if you've got a penchant for earthy tones, darker shades, and lived-in decor-- GE's got a great line-up. Depicted: Slate appliances in a blue kitchen, rustic and cozy.
Build a beautiful slate kitchen today if you’ve got a penchant for earthy tones, darker shades, and lived-in decor– GE’s got a great line-up.

Slate is a low-reflecting medium grey color with beige undertones. This all combines to create a neutral shade of grey that’s warm and versatile. Slate is perfect for both the modern and rustic kitchen, and it’s not a fingerprint magnet. It matches a variety of cabinetry color options and serves as an anchor that grounds your kitchen with its earthy tone. It’s a good choice if you want to darken the kitchen’s atmosphere a bit (not as dark as Black Stainless Steel, but darker than white or Stainless Steel would allow).

However, it doesn’t work with all colors the way stainless steel does. Slate is great for grey-based colors and neutral tones, but it doesn’t give you the creative license that stainless steel does. Due to this, it also isn’t very forgiving if you decide to change your kitchen’s aesthetic in the long run (unless you get new appliances).

Be bold and modern with Black Stainless Steel appliances in dark settings or light settings with heavy accent use for color-continuity. Click to see GE's Artistry collection for more of these beautiful black appliances.
Be bold and modern with Black Stainless Steel appliances in dark settings or light settings with heavy accent use for color-continuity. Click to see GE’s Artistry collection for more of these beautiful black appliances.
This set of sleek Black Stainless Steel appliances is from KitchenAid; it works incredibly well with the surrounding black cabinetry.
This set of sleek Black Stainless Steel appliances is from KitchenAid; it works incredibly well with the surrounding black cabinetry.

Black stainless steel is edgy and eye-catching, but it won’t blend into a light-colored kitchen. It works best with darker wood shades, but a white kitchen with black stainless steel (or slate) appliances is not impossible. You just need to use the right accessories to tie the colors together like a dark island base with a white counter top as the centerpiece of the kitchen would work perfectly to create some design unity. It’s great for a modern and industrial kitchen atmosphere, and would look great in contrast with light colored walls.

The ovens in this picture are the Miele H6880BPBRWS Wall Ovens in one of their latest finishes: Brilliant White. This is a top pick of an all white, modern kitchen. The appliances melt into sleek all white cabinetry for a sleek look.
The ovens in this picture are the Miele H6880BPBRWS Wall Ovens in one of their latest finishes: Brilliant White. This is a top pick of an all white, modern kitchen. The appliances melt into sleek all white cabinetry for a sleek look.

White appliances, like Miele’s Brilliant White and Whirlpool’s Ice, are great for those who want to design an all-white kitchen. They’ll blend in perfectly and create a space with tons of light. They also don’t attract fingerprints and smudges, but you’re limited in the colors that you can choose from. The old-style white appliances can look outdated in most kitchen settings, but these new, more contemporary styles would look great in a modern home.

Perfect for any color, any style, and any setting-- Stainless Steel isn't going anywhere.
Perfect for any color, any style, and any setting– Stainless Steel isn’t going anywhere.

Ultimately, Stainless Steel isn’t going anywhere. It’s the most versatile and it will continue to be so. Smudge-proof finishes eliminate the pesky fingerprint problem, and the color gives you the power to make your kitchen totally unique. You don’t have to worry about contrasting colors or matching anything with the color of your appliances. That being said, if you did want to choose something different. Here’s a tip to keep in mind to make even the most contrasting colors complementary.

Create unity through matching colors and accents.
White cabinetry can work with black appliances, you just need to make sure that hardware matches! Depicted: black and white kitchen with black appliances, black counter top, white cabinetry and dark floors.
White cabinetry can work with black appliances; you just need to make sure that hardware matches!

Picture a white kitchen with black stainless steel appliances— the ultimate contrast. The appliances can make your space appear smaller and crowded depending on the individual units’ proximity to each other. Unless you add in some matching accents, the difference may be too big to mesh together. Try a dark counter top to create a smoother transition from the dark to the light and spread the dark color out more, so it’s not concentrated in a few points.

This white kitchen uses black elements all throughout the design for cohesion: the plant pots, the faucet, the stool legs, the cabinet handles, and even in the tile backslash!
This white kitchen uses black elements all throughout the design for cohesion!

Additionally, you could play with the metal accents in the kitchen: cabinetry handles, kitchen sink faucets, light pendants, decor elements (like the plant pots in the image shown), etc. If these match, you’re creating little links that tie the kitchen design together all throughout the space. The metal accents can also be used to create contrast if you pick a bold color and stick with it.

This will work with any finish, but remember that not all finishes work well with every color the way stainless steel does. We’ve shown how this would look in the opposite situation with slate appliances in a white kitchen where you’d need to match the metal.

This kitchen is also white and matches the light fixtures, faucet, and cabinetry handles to the slate appliances by GE for a complete kitchen design that works beautifully. Click to view more slate masterpieces from GE!
This kitchen is also white and matches the light fixtures, faucet, and cabinetry handles to the slate appliances by GE for a complete kitchen design that works beautifully. Click to view more slate masterpieces from GE!

This is the secret to why stainless steel has been such a successful color (aside from it being a more professional set-up from the common white appliance back in the day). Most of the handles and elements on in your kitchen will be stainless steel– it’s just the most common option and that’s what makes it match everything so well. It’s already sprinkled throughout your kitchen. If you replaced those handles with a slate finish, the stainless steel appliances would look out of place, but the slate ones would fit perfectly. This tip goes for all colors and finishes. Cohesion is always in style and it always matches.

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Doing this on your own can be tough if you’re not experienced or don’t have the time to commit to it. If you need help designing your kitchen, bathroom or living room then give us a call! Our in-house design specialists are ready to help you create your dream home using our appliance connections and our partnership with Scavolini Cabinetry. We can match you with the right collection, the right appliances and the right design for your style, space and budget. Call us today for a consultation with our Scavolini team at 718-249-1214!

 


Visit the Appliances Connection website to view thousands of appliances at competitive prices.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 1(800)-299-9470 for knowledgeable and professional service.

70 thoughts on “What’s the Best Appliance Finish for Your Kitchen?

  1. I’m grateful for this forum and your advice! We are redoing our kitchen, and I’m stressed because I feel I’m not good at putting colors together. We have white shaker cabinets, a honey maple floor, and blue-gray walls. I was thinking of slate appliances, and then putting a matching tone on the cabinets with pulls and knobs the same color as the appliances. Do you think slate is the way to go?

    1. Hello, Colleen. From what you described I believe slate would be a good fit. However, if you’d like to be absolutely sure, please don’t hesitate to send a picture of your kitchen to our expert design team. They can be reached at kitchencabinetdesign@appliancesconnection.com and would be more than happy to advise you more fully. Hope this helps. Thanks so much for participating in the Appliances Connection online community forum.

  2. I have a new white shaker cabinet kitchen with a blue slate island, black stainless steel appliances, stainless faucet and pendant lights with a gray, white, black backsplash. Should I use stainless pulls or black pulls on the cabinets?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi, Donna. From what you’d described, I think the black pulls/handles would look striking against the white shaker cabinets and would pull them together with the black stainless appliances and black backsplash. Hope this helps. Thanks so much for participating in the Appliances Connection online community forum.

  3. I have a small all-white kitchen–cabinets/white nobs, refrig., dishwasher, range, micro., refrigerator. The refrigerator is on a separate wall which is all-white…so it blends in well, and I’d like to keep it. I’m thinking about replacing the other appliances with stainless but the range and micro are on the end of the cabinets so the sides will be black according to the appliance specifications. What do you think of changing from white appliances to stainless with the black sides showing? My floors are light oak, counters are white corian;: sink is stalnless. Walls and woodwork white. I have antique blue/white spongewear pitchers across the top of the cabinets. No backsplash. Would you recommend stainless or should I stick with all-white appliances and what color backsplash?

    1. Hello, Barbara. From what you described, I think a more traditional white color would work well with your kitchen. A stainless finish would be a bit too jarring with your current aesthetic.

  4. My kitchen cabinets are white with stainless handles, white countertops with different shades of gray light gray specks, dark wood floors and my kitchen is small. Would I be better to go with stainless or black stainless?

  5. Hi! I was wondering if you could give me your opinion. We are building a home and in the kitchen is white cabinets, grey/white/black granite countertops, and a very dark brown wood flooring. (island color is going to match the flooring), a “2 toned kitchen”. We black slate appliances go well with white cabinets/dark brown floor?

    1. Hello, Julie. From your description of your planned color spectrum, I think a black slate finish would, in fact, pull the entire aesthetic together. Additionally, depending on your budget, you may wish to consider graphite stainless steel from Dacor. Hope this helps. Your participation in Appliances Connection’s community forum is greatly appreciated.

  6. Hi….I’m looking to switch out all of my kitchen appliances with either slate, black stainless steel or stainless steel. The cabinets and wood flooring are light wood (honey oak). The countertops are a dark brown speckled quartz. I really like the new slate color but not sure if I should play it safe with stainless steel?

    1. Hello, Bella. Going on the description you gave, I think the slate finish would look lovely with your existing decor. Hope this helps. Thanks for participating in the Appliances Connection online community forum.

  7. Hi. I have cherry cabinets, beige quartz countertops, pumpkin-colored walls, and beige tile floor. We currently have a stainless steel fridge and old black appliances and white sink to replace.

    I love the GE slate. What do you think about it rather than stainless?

    Also, I found a sink whose color is cinder… maybe better than matte black as you suggested in a previous response??

    1. Hello, Natalie. In my opinion, I think your instinct regarding GE slate is correct. It’s a much more unique finish as stainless steel is much more commonplace these days. Hope this helps. Your participation in the Appliances Connection online community is greatly appreciated.

  8. I have cherry wood cabinets w a maple stain, solid surface counter tops in a brown w black and white specs, hardswood floors in a sinikar maple oak coloring, tile back splash…beige with some brown and wite veins and am replacing my black appliaces w new GE aplliances. Not sure what color. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  9. Are white appliances out dated? I have honey oak cabinets, black granite and a back splash that has greys and tans. I was thinking about changing out my appliances and someone told me not to because stainless is more of a fad. Is this true? I love the easy maintenance but don’t want to have a outdated look

    1. In my opinion, white appliances will never be outdated. Nor do I believe that stainless steel is a mere passing fancy. It’s thought by some that stainless steel denotes higher status, so your choice between the two comes down to use. If the appliances are only going to be used and seen by you and you prefer white, go for it. If you entertain quite a bit and want to impress guests, I’d suggest stainless steel. Hope this helps. Thanks kindly for participating in our online community forum.

  10. I have white kitchen cabinets, grey/brown (greige?) corian counter tops and am looking to update my floors and backsplash. Any suggestions as to how to tie it all together?

    1. Hello, Barbara. Your current kitchen decor sounds lovely. There are several appliance finishes that would go with what you describe. What’s available depends on your budget. Traditional stainless steel would fit and is so ubiquitous these days it’s pretty reasonably priced. For a bit more, black slate is a new and unique choice. If money is no object, though, panel ready appliances accept custom cabinetry to blend seamlesssly into your kitchen.

  11. HI, I need some help with choosing kitchen appliance color -my cabinets are hickory color slate my counter top is a quartz, white and gray, black veins, I think I’m going with a tigerwood floor. I think the stainless goes best but I do like the slate color. I forgot to say my backsplash is gonna be subway tiles in a white or soft gray.

  12. Just purchased black matte appliances. Starting to get buyers remorse — can’t decide on counters —- looking at dark counters (black or grey) and a white or light grey back splash. If appliances are matte should the countertops be honed or keep the shine? cabinet pulls – should they match or can I go with silver?

  13. I have a Lennar home that came with all regular black appliances and liter wood cabinets . I need to replace my refrigerator but the GE model I want is on sale for other colors but not black.

    Should I get stainless? Black stainless? Slate? Black Slate? Pay extra for plain black?

    1. Hello, Wendy. From what you’ve described, I don’t think I’d go with black stainless, slate, or black slate. Those finishes would look jarringly out of place. A traditional stainless or brushed stainless finish will complement most standard appliance colors (e.g. white, plain black, etc.). Hope this helps. Thanks for participating in the Appliances Connection online community forum.

  14. Hi,
    We are going to be buying all new appliances but I am having difficulty picking the finish. Our cabinets are stained with a Armoire Hickory stain and our floors are Naural Acacia. Would you recommend stainless steel? Black stainless steel? Slate? Etc.
    I appreciate any suggestions,

    Christie

    1. Hello, Christie. Any of the finishes you mentioned would be fitting for the kitchen style you described. If I may make a further suggestion, Dacor offers appliances in a graphite stainless steel finish I believe would also look good. Hope this helps. Thanks kindly for participating in the Appliances Connection online community forum.

      1. Dear Michael
        Hi In our new house- a small white cabinet kitchen
        Would it look jarring if I had black stainless steel refrigerator and stove installed?
        I can send you a picture if you like

        1. Hello, Mona. By all means, send a picture. I can confer with our in-house designers and they’ll be able to recommend which finish would be best for your kitchen.

  15. I have the Samsung black stainless appliances picked out and now I am second guessing myself to just get regular stainless. I would like white glazed cabinets, copper farmhouse sink, light counters on the outside and wood counter for the island. What color appliance do you think would go better?

  16. We are starting to remodel our outdated kitchen but are unsure how long we will be in the house. We could be here for another year or we could be here for another 10 years. Therefore, we want to pick out things that we like, as well as appeal to a buyer. We are considering going with white cabinets (but not a bright white) and possibly a lighter color quartz counter top. We are stuck on what finish for our new appliances (stainless, slate or black stainless). I love the look of black stainless but am concerned as to whether it will be too much of a contrast with lighter cabinets and lighter counter tops. I also have heard that the black stainless can scratch easily showing the stainless finish underneath. However, I am concerned that stainless may be on its way out and then date our kitchen again if we go with stainless. But am also concerned that maybe not every buyer will like Slate. Any suggestions as to what you feel may be best finish for us?

    1. Hello, Lisa. From what you describe, I believe black stainless would make for a striking finish in your kitchen with lighter cabinets and countertops. As for slate that could certainly be an option. I think the final decision should be made once you’ve decided whether the house will be an investment property or your personal home. Hope this helps. Thanks so much for participating in the Appliances Connection community forum.

  17. Hey there!! Looking at espresso cabinets to go along with a very light countertop, backsplash and tile floor (as close to white as i can find) im in love with th samsung black stainless but worried it may not look great..should i go with black stainless or regular stainless? PLEASE HELP

    1. Hello, George. If you’re really that smitten with the black stainless finish, I say go for it. I’ve found that this finish is every bit as versatile as regular stainless. Also, as I’ve said before, black stainless is certainly the more unique choice right now and will give your kitchen a distinctive look. Hope this helps. Your participation in the Appliances Connection online community is greatly appreciated.

  18. Hi, I am doing white shaker cabinets, a light gray island, the counter is light with beige and gray tones through it , a light gray wood look tile floor. Backsplash is white subway tile. On the fence about the GeSlate and the stainless for cabinets?

    1. Hello, Heather. From the kitchen decor you described, I would say that either finish would look equally good. That said, in my own opinion, GE Slate is a more unique look than stainless, which I think has oversaturated kitchen design. Hope this helps. Your participation in the Appliances Connection online community forum is greatly appreciated.

  19. We are looking to replace our bisque appliances. We have honey oak cabinets with brushed brass knobs. The floor and counter top have mixed colors of brown..beige ..gray and tiny bits of white in counter. What color would you suggest? White seems so stark ..stainless not match any hardware…thinking of slate maybe?

  20. Hi!
    I have white appliances, white cabinets and white counter tops with a light color wood floor, some brick red wallpaper and light tan tile backsplash. I’d like to replace all the appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, stove) but keep the white micro over the stove. What color appliances do you suggest?

  21. I’ve recently been searching for information about kitchen appliance for a while and your blog is the best I’ve came upon so far. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for sharing!! I need your opinion and insight on how to go about this. Please suggest some more tips.
    Best refrigeration solutions Georgia

  22. Hello,

    I’m in a bit of a dilemma. My kitchen cabinets are white shaker with a navy blue island. The counter top will be white quartz. The faucet and cabinets hardware bronze. The floor is oak hardwood. I want the LG black Stainless Steel appliances but not sure it will blend well and make the kitchen too dark. Please let me know.

    1. Hello, Fiona. You’ll find that the aesthetics of the LG Black Stainless finish are remarkably versatile. I believe appliances with this finish would look good in the decor you describe. Yes, they are dark in color, but since they’re stainless steel, they do have a luster to them. Hope this helps. Thanks for your participation in the Appliances Connection community forum.

  23. Hi there! We are looking to update our kitchen appliances with interest in white, black stainless steel, or non-smudgeproof stainless steel. Which color would best fit a kitchen with oak cabinets, white countertops with light brown and soft gray stone-like details, and a dark slate-colored tile floor?

    1. Hello, Sylvie. I just consulted with one of our in-house designers. With the kitchen decor you described, they recommend black stainless steel from the choices you provided. They also suggest considering slate or black slate. Our full line of kitchen packages in these finishes can be found in the link below:

      https://www.appliancesconnection.com/slate-black-slate-kitchen-appliance-packages-b1034-0-41264,243021-0.html

      Hope this helps. Thanks kindly for participating in the Appliances Connection online forum.

    2. Be cautious. I’m told that oak is dated, dated, dated. I’m currently anguishing over the best appliance color with cherry cabinets.

  24. Looking to replace all my appliances as my current appliances are beginning to fail after 15 years.
    I have honey oak cabinets, medium/light linoleum flooring.
    My refrigerator and dishwasher are on the same wall, with the slide-in stove in island.
    I would like to get a the slate colored GE slide-in gas stove, the dishwasher I am considering only comes in stainless steel.
    Since the refrigerator and the dishwasher are on the same wall do they both need to be stainless steel, or could the refrigerator be slate (matching the stove) and only the dishwasher be stainless steel.
    The sales person I have spoken with have said either would be OK since the handles on the refrigerator will be stainless steel it will tie it in with the dishwasher.
    Would just like another opinion. Thanks!!

    1. Hello, Diane. Do you happen to have the model numbers of the GE appliances you’re considering? With the specific models, I can consult with our in-house design team who can opine as to whether the appliances in which you’re interested match the aesthetics of the decor you described.

  25. I am having grey cabinets installed in a small kitchen. The counter tops are quartz white with grey veins running through. The back splash will probably be white subway tile. The sink will be dark grey. The floors are oak. I like the GE Slate appliances but I am not sure how they will lock with the lighter grey cabinets. Also I am afraid the the slate will be a passing fad like the old harvest gold.

    1. Hello, Nancy. Based on the kitchen cabinetry and fixtures you described, I believe GE’s slate finish would work nicely. Additionally, I believe your comparison of slate to harvest gold is less than apt. In my opinion, harvest gold, like its contemporary trendy color avocado, was a bit on the garish side. Slate, on the other hand, is more subtle and understated.

      Hope this helps! Thanks kindly for your participation in the Appliances Connection online forum.

  26. So I have all new white cabinets n had stainless steel – no longer, too much up keep. Is there ever going to b a white stainless steel? Supposedly the white ice was but guess not. Do white appliances rust or discolor? What to do?

    1. Hello, Patricia. Just a suggestion. Are you truly set on a light-colored appliance finish? In my opinion, a finish like black stainless steel paired with white cabinetry would make for a striking contrast. You can find kitchen packages in black stainless in the following link:

      https://www.appliancesconnection.com/black-stainless-steel-kitchen-appliance-packages.html

      Let me know if you have further questions. Thanks kindly for participating in the Appliances Connection online community forum.

  27. I have new cherry wood color cabinets and I just bought satin nickel handles. The floor is mostly white with gray-like marble steaks. Should I go with stainless steel or slate appliances.

    1. Hello, Elizabeth. I consulted with our in-house designers. Based on the decor you described they believe both stainless steel and slate would be equally fitting in your kitchen. However, they lean further toward slate. It’s a much more unique finish and would really make your kitchen stand out. Hope this helps. Thanks so much for participating in our online community forum.

  28. I have oak floors and similarly colored cabinets (oak/maple?). I am trying to decide on a Samsung fridge in stainless steel or black stainless steel. The fridge in black stainless is gorgeous, but I’m trying to picture all black stainless in my kitchen vs. silver (I am transitioning from white). Any thoughts? What about mixing silver and black stainless?

    1. Hello, Robin. I consulted with our in-house designers. Based on what you describe, they recommend black stainless as it’ll blend seamlessly with your decor. Stainless steel would be too much of a stark contrast with dark woods. They strongly recommend against mixing stainless and black stainless. It confuses the aesthetics of a room. Hope this helps. Thanks kindly for participating in the Appliances Connection community forum.

  29. I have a commercial refrigerator that I am not currently using, but need an additional freezer. Is it possible to convert the refrigerator to freezer and if so, what is the estimated cost?
    Refrigeration Design Specialists

  30. Will there ever be a soft light colored polished gold appliance? I’ve been waiting for years to see the new soft gold trend come out in appliances. There is not a current color that goes with gold, even the white has chrome trim, and white is not dressy looking.

  31. I have light baige wood gabinets, my range is white and so does the microoven, I just bought a dishwasher in stainless steel and I need to replace the refrigerator. Should I just change the dishwasher for white and keep everything white or replace everything with stainelss steel.

    1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for reading our article. We’d recommend upgrading to stainless steel if that’s feasible for you. There are a lot of affordable options on our site (especially now with our holiday sale going on)! Stainless steel will give your kitchen a more model look and will increase the value of it– both financially and aesthetically.

  32. Does it work to have smudge proof stainless steel for the refrigerator and dishwasher and regular stainless steel for the gas stove?

  33. Do you know the cabinet color in the 1st photo? Does it have a name or color code? It’s the blue grey cabinets.

    1. Hi Brandon! Unfortunately, we don’t have the color code for those cabinets but if you go into your local hardware store with the image you can probably get a match for it in the blue-grey family.

    1. Hi Raja! We’re glad you found the article to be useful! Thanks for stopping by!

  34. I shifted to my new flat and looking for best kitchen appliances for my kitchen and I got helpful information here. Thanks!

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