The New Kitchen Finish: Black Stainless

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Photo Credit: KitchenAid

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR Magazine

Among all the tech hype at CES 2016 this week, appliance manufacturers are showing off their latest high-tech, super energy efficient models. But they’re also doing it under a new finish: Black stainless.

KitchenAid, LG, and Samsung are among the appliance makers showing the black satiny finish. It’s the latest finish to go up against the long-held popularity of stainless steel, the rugged industrial look that has adorned modern kitchens for decades.

But stainless steel has had a love-hate relationship with home owners. Home owners love the shiny look but they tend to hate the fingerprint smudges that are often left behind. Manufacturers have tried alternatives, such as Whirlpool’s White Ice and GE’s Slate. But none have come close to biting into stainless steels’ popularity.

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Photo Credit: KitchenAid

Will black stainless catch on? Possibly, because it’s not that too different of a look.

It’s less reflective than the conventional stainless steel. It’s just slightly darker and offers a slightly more (but not completely) smudge-free finish.

KitchenAid first launched its black stainless steel finish in September 2015, which had designers calling it the hot “new neutral” that added “warmth” and “sophistication” to a kitchen space.

“Major appliances are the anchor pieces of a kitchen, and their color and design contribute largely to the overall look of the space,” says Beth Robinson, senior brand experience manager for KitchenAid. “As a stylish alternative to traditional finishes, our black stainless steel offers designers and consumers tremendous design flexibility and the chance to experiment with fresh ideas.”

What do you think? Do you think black stainless will catch on?

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Cindy starks

    Love, love, love it. 🙂

  2. Susan Melanson

    Love it! Been looking for new appliances and always loved black but stainless seems to be the choice out there and selections in black very minimal. I will be looking for these as this will fit exactly what I was looking for! So excited! 🙂

  3. My house is being built and includes black or stainless options for stove, microwave and dishwasher. Refer not included. I plan to add the Samsung black stainless RF263BEAESG/AA refrigerator to the mix. I think it will mix well since it is at the end of the room.

  4. I absolutely love the look! I just discovered the new look last week at my local home improvement store. I’m in the market for a new refrigerator and will be shooting for the new Black Stainless Steel!

  5. I think the Black Stainless Steel WILL catch on, esp. with all white kitchens coming back into vogue – there will need to be an alternative, for sure!

  6. Julie

    Black stainless scratches easily

  7. We absolutely love the color.

  8. Less than a year after buying a SAMSUNG black stainless range the finish (paint) is flaking off. I called SAMSUNG and rather than back their product, chose to call my problem “cosmetic damage”. My advice; AVOID SAMSUNG BLACK STAINLESS G A R B A G E

  9. Very classy and modern! Wise use of this trend can make a big impact in your home selling.

  10. Keri

    I was tired of Stainless (still don’t like it, it is so common it has lost it’s appeal). I have Slate, I like it, glad it is not stainless steel. Black stainless is great too and works with the slate, my upgraded microwave is black stainless, it matches beautifully. Was really excited about “white ice” but looked at it in person and was not particularly impressed – at least for my kitchen.