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By Alice Lesch Kelly
Walk into any appliance showroom and you’re likely to see an all-too familiar wall of stainless steel refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, and microwaves. Stainless steel appliances have been the go-to choice for several decades, and their popularity remains strong. But homeowners and kitchen designers are feeling more bold nowadays, and are looking for color options beyond silver, such as bright whites, jet blacks, and deep reds, anything to add some drama and excitement to the kitchen.
“Stainless appliances will always have a place in homes, but everyone is looking for what is new and next,” says Robin Gannon, owner of Robin Gannon Interiors & Home in Lexington. “I think the trend is reverting back to warm colors, and with that comes a trending away from everything silver and grey.”
Homeowners hoping to avoid the “wall of stainless” look in their kitchens have a few choices. One is to select appliances with wood panels that blend in with their cabinetry. This is an especially popular route for open-concept kitchens. “People don’t want the kitchen, which is now more than ever the main entertaining and high-function part of the home, to always feel like a kitchen,” says Molly Pidgeon, principal of the Malden-based interior design firm House of Dietrich.
You can also go in the opposite direction. Instead of trying to camouflage your appliances, you can draw attention to them with something like a new brick red oven range coming out from the stylish New Zealand-based design company Fisher & Paykel. Designers sometimes recommend choosing a range in a bold tone or bright color that stands out from the other appliances in the room. “The range is often a focal point, and as designers who love color, we are always open to and excited for that option,” says Mary Maloney, co-founder of Bees Knees Interior Design Studio in Hopkinton.
Using bold tones to draw attention to the range feels right for many homeowners. Although today’s families use their kitchens for living, working, and entertaining, food prep, after all, is still the room’s reason for being—so it makes sense to draw all eyes to the range. In the days before modern appliances, families gathered around the fireplace and hearth; in today’s open floor plans, think of the range as a home’s metaphorical gathering place.
So if you’re feeling ready to break away from the wall of stainless in your kitchen, go ahead and be bold. Just keep these tips in mind:
Be sure you’re ready for a big changeTake time to think about whether a major color or tone change will suit you long-term. “New kitchens are one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your home,” says Melanie Kokoros of MDK Design Associates in Wellesley. “You want to make sure you can live with your choice for a very long time.”
Buy with function—not just color—in mindA bright-colored range may look beautiful in your kitchen, but you must love it as an appliance—not just a design element. “If you cook often, you really have to educate yourself about the range’s functionality,” Kokoros says. “It’s important to make sure the range’s technology suits you. You need to have form, function, and beauty all in one.”
Go ahead and replace stainless appliances piecemealIf you need a new appliance but aren’t redoing the entire kitchen, it’s fine to choose a non-stainless tone, as long as it fits your kitchen’s design. For example, a black, white, or red range can look gorgeous in a kitchen with otherwise-stainless appliances. “You just need to make sure the range color will work with the existing cabinet colors, backsplash, counter, appliance, and flooring,” Maloney says.
Don’t feel like you have to stick with one tone or color“The kitchen can be just like any other room—you wouldn’t have everything in your living room be the same color, so why should you do that in your kitchen?” Gannon says. “Choose a complementary color to the existing colors in your kitchen.”
Think about the space above the range, tooIf you’re selecting a bold-tone range, consider a matching range hood, and think about coordinating the backsplash and upper cabinets, too. “After all, our line of sight is not going to scan directly to the lower portion of the stove but from roughly 52 to 60 inches,” Pidgeon says. “Details you can add there and above will create a floor-to-ceiling impact for that space.”
Accessorize with restraintAdding touches of matching color elsewhere in the kitchen can create a finished look. But don’t go overboard. “If you venture for a bold stove, consider how you are balancing color in the rest of the space,” Pidgeon says. “In order for a space to be fun yet sophisticated, the tonal balance is very important. Too much color can go elementary very quickly. For example, if you have a red stove, don’t go crazy accessorizing with red.”
To bring bold new Fisher & Paykel appliances into your kitchen, find gas ranges available starting April 1. Look out for electric and duel fuel models starting August, with induction models available in October. Learn more at fisherpaykel.com.
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