This Is the New Stainless Steel

This Is the New Stainless Steel

Alyssa Longobucco
Mar 21, 2017
(Image credit: Danielle Moss)

Stainless steel appliances have become so mainstream, they're basically expected in any updated kitchen. But we can't help but wonder if we'll ever look back at the shiny metallic appliances and ask our past selves what we were thinking. Will the look ever become dated? Will anything ever be more popular than stainless steel?

The Enduring Appeal of Stainless Steel

Right now, stainless steel still seems like a perennial favorite — according to the Houzz 2017 Kitchen Study, about 72 percent of homeowners are still repping appliances in the finish — but it's no longer the enticement it once was for home buyers. According to an HGTV survey, only 41 percent of real estate shoppers say they would pay more for a house that has them, while TIME reports that buyers now see stainless steel as more of a "buzzword" for an updated, modern kitchen.

So why has stainless steel lost a bit of its shine? It could be the fact that the style is both widely available and affordable. Because it's no longer as special as it once was, buyers and renovators are turning to other improvements, like window and door replacements and new countertops to reap a better ROI (return on investment) for their homes.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

The New Stainless Steel Is ... Stainless Steel!

So if stainless steel doesn't excite people the way it once did, what is doing the trick? Well, according to that Houzz study of designers, white (see Whirlpool's Ice collection) and slate (like GE's Artistry Collection) are on the up-and-up.

Overall, purchases of alternatives to stainless steel are up a combined 24 percent in the last year, but there's one big player that's really heating things up: stainless steel! We're not talking regular ol' stainless steel — we're talking about black stainless steel.

(Image credit: Samsung)

All About Black Stainless Steel

So, what is black stainless steel and what makes it so special? Basically black stainless steel is stainless steel — but it's black. It's got all the polish and contemporary feel of stainless steel, but because of its darker tint it feels different — and cooler. Plus, it doesn't show fingerprints, which is one of the big drawbacks of the shiny stuff.

Black stainless steel exists mostly for people who want the look of stainless steel but hate keeping on top of smudges and fingerprints — but it can appeal to other homeowners as well. Black stainless can be used as a softer, warmer alternative to traditional stainless steel because it's not just a harsh chunk of metal. The black can blend into dark cabinets or make a bold statement among lighter ones.

More good news: Prices are similar to regular stainless options — just around $50 to $100 more. And you have your pick of brands: KitchenAid, LG, Samsung, Viking, GE, and Whirlpool have all come out with lines touting the fresh finish.

Would you opt for black stainless steel for your kitchen?

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