Design Dilemma: Stainless Steel Vs. White
By now, if you don’t have a kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances, you are SO behind the times that you might even be considered ahead of your time. Recently, it has been clear among the design elite that the ubiquitous stainless steel trend is out, replaced by appliances hidden away and built into cabinetry. Â Most of us who are not going for the top-of-the line Euro-style custom cabinetry, however, are stillÂ faced with the design dilemma:Â stainless steelÂ or white?
Which way would you go?
Take these points into consideration when making the big choice:
1) What’s the temperature and humidity level like where you live? In some very humid climates stainless steel holds up better than other types of appliances that have the tendency to corrode.
2) How likely are you to be frustrated by fingerprints and streaks? Stainless steel appliances show fingerprints,Â greaseÂ and smudges much more easily than white appliances. On the other hand, owners of stainless steel stoves report that they clean up easily, sometimes more easily than their white counterparts.
3) How design conscious are you? Because stainless steel and granite countertops have become ubiquitous in standard tract homes across the country, they are not likely to remain in vogue for long. Within a few years, stainless steel appliances may scream 2002, and you may not want to send that message.
4) Do you have children? Stainless steel tends to dent and it can scratch. It can also be noisy if it is not properly stabilized on an appliance.
5) Will stainless steel fit with your kitchen aesthetic? Stainless steel is sleek, urban, industrialÂ and commercial-looking. It may look out of place in a rustic country kitchen or in a retro-style kitchen. Most customers seem to prefer stainless steel with dark wood and warmer cabinet colors, although in truth, stainless steel usually looks good with any cabinet color, as long as there is warmth somewhere in the kitchen. Paring stainless steel with high-gloss lacquer cabinets will make a kitchen feel ultra high-tech and colder.
6) Will you be able to get the same stainless steel for all your appliances? There are different kinds of stainless steel. The stainless steel on your refrigerator should match that of your stove, microwave and dishwasher. Check out the stainless steel carefully on the appliances you want to buy to be sure the pattern and handles match.
7) Are you replacing only one appliance? If so, your one stainless steel appliance is likely to stick out if it is combined with white or colored appliances. Stainless steel usually blends better with black appliances.
Photo: Eric Roth