For the past two decades, stainless steel appliances have been the popular design choice for kitchens, lending a professional look with refined appeal. There are competitors for this top spot, with the newest to market being black stainless steel.
According to the manufacturers, black stainless steel has some advantages over traditional stainless. One plus is that black stainless has a much warmer and inviting look (as opposed to the more industrial, professional kitchen appearance of traditional stainless), making it much more suitable for home decor, while still maintaining a high-end design. Instead of reflecting light back into the room as traditional stainless does, the dark finish absorbs light, giving a much softer tone to the space.
Another feature of the new finish addresses one of the main consumer complaints about traditional stainless steel—fingerprints and smudges. Because black stainless does not reflect as much light, it reduces the appearance of surface stains.
Three manufacturers have released appliance lines in black stainless steel for this year—KitchenAid (www.kitchenaid.com), Samsung (www.samsung.com) and LG (www.lg.com). Each offer suites of appliances to bring a cohesive look to the kitchen; however, single appliances are available if consumers wish to mix the new finish in with existing pieces.
There is one caveat. The finishes do not match across manufacturers and would not be suitable for putting together in the same space. Retailers should make consumers aware of this if they are looking to go with the new finish, but want to pick and choose from the different product lines. For customers insisting on mixing product lines, suggest blending one key black stainless appliance with traditional stainless pieces to pull together a designer look for their space.