What is it about stainless-steel kitchen appliances that makes them so desirable? Even though the switch from those standard-issue, lacquered-plastic appliances to the smooth metallic ones happened gradually over the past decade, it somehow seems like all that shiny materialized overnight. When I take buyers into house and condo showings, one of the first remarks I hear is, “The kitchen is great…but I really wish it had stainless-steel appliances!” Why? Do they make food taste better? Does the stove whip up a nice risotto while you watch TV? The refrigerators, for example, are magnets for fingerprints, scratches, and grease splatter from the stove—all of which draw the eye against a chrome-like backdrop.
Design trends come and go quickly in today’s market, and anything over five years old is considered dated. This turnover means, unfortunately, that owners will need to refresh their interiors when it comes time to sell. So will stainless-steel kitchenwear go the way of shag carpeting, black toilets, linoleum flooring, and wood-pannelled basement rec rooms? I’d be hard-pressed to make an argument against it. In 2012, GE introduced a line of fridges, ranges, and microwaves with a less reflective slate finish, and Whirlpool’s glossy white “Ice Collection” was a response to what Patrick Schiavone, the company’s VP of global consumer design, called the “futurist styling of machinery.” I guess stainless steel’s reputation is already becoming tarnished.