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design 06-25-2009 11:25 AM

stainless steel- is it really for 'everyone'?
It seems like stainless steel is toted as the ultimate finish in appliances. The neutral that goes with everything from hardwood floors to tile, from chrome plated hardware to oiled bronze...

...So, my question is, does it? Is it actually neutral, or is it like the kitchen equivalent of jeans? Because really, blue doesn't 'go' with everything, but blue jeans somehow do.

Does it work for you? I'd especially like to know if it goes with a more warm, family style kitchen, or if it works best in a more trendy kitchen.

shan2themax 06-25-2009 01:13 PM

I personally do not like stainless steel appliances. I think that they definately go in trendy kitchens, but I havent seen a kitchen yet that I fell in love with as a 'family' kitchen that had stainless steel in it.... but.... I am by no means a 'trendy' person myself....

I've not ever been a follower and I have always done things that others thought was weird or quirky..... my appliances are bisque.... which I must say... I hated when I first bought the first one... but... it has grown on me and now I only need one more bisque appliance.... a fridge


jimmy4 06-25-2009 03:42 PM

It is really a matter of personal preference. One thing to keep in mind is that it is much more difficult to keep clean than a colored appliance and shows dings and scratches much easier too.

Nestor_Kelebay 06-25-2009 05:37 PM

I think stainless steel appliances are a fad, just like Avocado and Harvest Gold coloured appliances were in the 1970's.

The bottom line is that I've never known anyone to haul a fridge or stove to the scrap yard because the door or cabinet was so badly rusted so as to render the appliance useless.

So, if painted doors and cabinets aren't a problem, then replacing those items with stainless steel is solving a problem that doesn't exist. And, in my view, that's a good indication that appliance manufacturers will move away from it once it's no longer a novelty and helps them sell more appliances.

Once Avocado and Harvest Gold coloured appliances began to look "dated" in the 1980's, appliance manufacturers dropped them like a hot potato. It'll be the same with stainless steel appliances once they start to look "dated" in the 2020's.

But, a stove will last you 40 years. That means it'll long outlast it's fad. Even a fridge should last a good 25 years, so a stainless steel fridge will look "dated" and "so 2000's" long before it's useful life is over.

So, never buy an appliance because it's currently "fashionable". The fashion will change quickly, and your appliance will spend most of it's life being out of fashion.

Christian 06-26-2009 10:45 AM

Personally, I don't like them. Hey are really hard to keep clean and they show fingerprints really easily. Plus, with 2 dogs in the house, I can only imagine the doggie 'nose' and 'tongue' prints I'd have all over my fridge and stove if I bought stainless.

They look pretty cool, but for all the extra money you'll pay and the down-sides I just mentioned, I don't think it's worth it.

I'll be doing my kitchen in black.

design 06-26-2009 01:17 PM

It's interesting to hear that what is supposed to be 'desirable' is often not. I think many people who have ss appliances love them, but then there is another group of people who either have them and wish they didn't or people who choose one of the defaults (white/black/biscuit) because there's so few options (without going the pricey custom route).

I read that 91% of designers prefer stainless steel, so maybe that's why most newly designed appliances are in stainless... Designers designing for designers!

design 06-29-2009 11:08 AM

ok, so I noticed that this thread kind of got very anti-stainless steel, and most of the people who viewed it did not comment. So maybe the 45 people who viewed but didn't comment are the pro-stainless people who don't want to be the odd man out.

I know a lot of people who have stainless and love the heck out of it, so if that's you, speak up for stainless!

I created a survey for everyone to put their two cents in on kitchen trends in a more anonymous way. So tell me about your personal kitchen style and your thoughts on the debate! Kitchen Design Survey

if you want I can post the results later.

Nestor_Kelebay 06-29-2009 09:48 PM



Designers designing for designers!
No, that's not what stainless steel panels on an appliance are all about. A design is a LOGICAL choice of a materials, methods and structures that collectively accomplish a goal. Replacing panels that rust with stainless steel panels would be a good design choice. Replacing panels that don't rust with stainless steel panels is not a "design" choice, it is "fashion". Fashion need not be logical nor practical nor even reasonable.

If you want stainless steel appliance, then by all means buy stainless steel appliances. How you spend your money is not something that should be decided democratically. YOU spend your money on what YOU want regardless of what strangers on the internet say.

design 06-30-2009 08:31 AM

As an industrial designer I agree that design is a logical choice, otherwise I'd be out of a job and replaced by logarithms or robots or something...

stainless steel panels are as logical as brightly colored petals on a flower. Make something attractive to a target and you will draw them in.
My question is basically- is stainless (or black, or white) still the most logical way to attract buyers to a certain appliance? Or have tastes changed?

My feeling is that there has been a shift, and what used to be the 'ideal' is no more. I think people want more freedom in their kitchen design, more ways to express themselves.

So if you have an opinion on the subject that you would like to be heard by the appliance industry, by all means, tell me!

Kitchen Design Survey

Nestor_Kelebay 06-30-2009 03:17 PM


Stainless steel panels on a fridge or stove are entirely part of the "aesthetics" of the appliance. The look of stainless steel appeals to a lot of people, and so that's why stainless steel appliances sell well. My point is that neither rusting nor scratches nor the paint chips that occurred on the previously painted exterior panels of fridges and stoves were enough of a problem to warrant replacing these painted panels with stainless steel.

The switch to stainless steel is an aesthetic choice, not a design improvement.

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