Electrolux launched a smudge-proof black stainless steel finish for its Frigidaire Gallery collection in mid-July.
Electrolux Electrolux launched a smudge-proof black stainless steel finish for its Frigidaire Gallery collection in mid-July.

This article was updated for our August 2017 issue of BUILDER Magazine

Dark, bold colors have been slowly growing in popularity as contemporary design becomes more popular. Now, manufactures of kitchen appliances are expecting that black stainless steel finishes for kitchen appliances are going to be the most popular trend among consumers.

According to the Houzz 2017 Kitchen Report, millennial buyers in particular gravitate towards black stainless steel finishes. Nine percent of those ages 25-24 who remodeled their kitchen in 2016 chose black stainless steel appliances to match their desire for a contemporary kitchen, a design style which saw an increase of 3% in demand compared to the previous year. The finish was first introduced to the market by KitchenAid over a year ago.

Homeowners are attracted to the black stainless steel finish for appliances because it’s versatile and it matches most other finishes, design styles, colors, and more. Whether an owner’s taste is for a modern farmhouse kitchen, an industrial commercial look, or something more traditional, black stainless steel will fit with the scheme.

“Black stainless steel appliances have a modern, neutral tone. This means they mix and match well with both bright, vibrant colors and dark, muted accents and can easily blend into existing design styles,” says Miranda Valentino, senior product manager of food preparation at Electrolux.

If owners eventually want to remodel, they won’t have to swap out their appliances since the finish will pair well with their new kitchen design. Black stainless steel “marks an exciting evolution of the traditional stainless steel finish, which has become a mainstay across kitchens in the U.S.,” says Taryn Brucia, director, public relations, LG Electronics USA. LG introduced the black stainless steel finish in 2015 and has since expanded the finish to its premium LG Studio line of appliances.

The premium LG Studio suite of kitchen appliances is offered in a black stainless steel finish.
LG Electronics USA The premium LG Studio suite of kitchen appliances is offered in a black stainless steel finish.

“It elevates the traditional stainless steel look with a satin-smooth, warm, and sophisticated finish for a both modern and timeless aesthetic that pairs beautifully with any kitchen style,” Brucia says. “Consumers have responded so favorably to black stainless steel because it’s a sleek finish that elevates the versatility and sophistication of kitchen appliances.”

Designer Nate Berkus, who has served as an artistic adviser to LG Studio for the past four years, said black stainless steel naturally seemed like the next step for the brand at a KBIS press conference earlier this year.

“Black stainless steel is still a leap for most people, but black stainless steel is the next big thing. The finish is rich and luxurious, and there is a warmth and patina to it,” Berkus says. “I’ve always believed that a kitchen should feel timeless, using classic materials and design elements that will look good today, and in 10 years’ time. It’s both sophisticated and handsome, and it will up the ante in any kitchen.”

Consumers also enjoy the smudge-proof and fingerprint-proof nature of the finish, which requires less maintenance and cleaning than traditional stainless—making it a perfect choice for families, according to Brucia. “It requires only a dry cloth to return it to its original luster,” she adds.

Kenmore consumer feedback further solidifies the draw to the finish’s smudge-proof capabilities. The manufacturer notes that its black stainless appliance line is particularly popular among homeowners with on-the-go families. “The Kenmore Elite Black Stainless suite of appliances is designed based on feedback from our customers, the majority of whom are women,” says a representative from the company.

“The smudge-proof finish is perfect for busy families, which is feedback we’ve heard, particularly from moms. It also provides a stylish elegance to the kitchen design.”

Black stainless steel’s timeless nature will keep it popular among consumers the same way traditional stainless steel has been the No. 1 appliance choice for years.

“The finish just stays looking beautiful,” says Berkus. “Black stainless steel—I can promise you—is here to stay.”