Essential Housewares & Appliances
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Essential Housewares & Appliances
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The Ultimate Guide

Introduction

Buying Home Appliances: Consider Color or Go Neutral?

Is a colorful appliance right for your kitchen?

Contemporary kitchen
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Avocado green appliances were once all the rage. In fact, some of those colorful fridges and ovens might still be in service—but that avocado green refrigerator is likely considered more retro than energy-efficient.

It's yet to be seen if today's appliances will live as long as those decades-old models. However, given the high cost of home appliances, they're still considered to be a long-term investment for the home. Avocado green might not be as trendy as it once was, but choices now run the gamut from powder blue to fire engine red and beyond. There's something to be said, though, for sticking to neutrals such as white, black or stainless steel. The proper choice is a function of your decor tastes, the reason for buying a new appliance, and your living situation.

Colorful Appliances

First, consider the drawbacks when considering what color refrigerator or microwave to buy to determine if the cons outweigh the pros.

  • A bright color quickly dates appliances, meaning you might feel like your kitchen has gone out of style faster than expected. It's good fun to have a trendy kitchen, but neutral finishes are more likely to been seen as timeless.
  • If you're purchasing a set of colorful appliances, remember that colors go in and out of stock more often than, say, stainless steel. If one needs to be replaced and you can't get your hands on a matching item, you'll have to settle for mismatched appliances or also replace the companion appliance.
  • Color appliances are generally more expensive than white or black options.

Consider Decor Preferences

If you like to follow home decor trends and can afford to replace your large appliances often, picking a colorful appliance color might be the right option. A colorful fridge can give a kitchen a retro yet cheery look.

However, when deciding what color appliance to buy, ask yourself another question: Does the color of your chosen appliance complement the rest of the decor that's likely not going to be changed anytime soon, such as flooring, counters, and backsplashes?

Stainless steel appliances tend to be the most neutral of all the finishes because they fit with both warm and cool color schemes. Additionally, you might be less likely to tire of stainless steel—unless, of course, the particular finish is difficult to keep clean, as stainless quickly shows fingerprints and other spots more easily than other finishes. Small dents and scratches may be more noticeable with stainless finishes.

Although black is not as neutral as white, it does has a few perks—it blends well with stainless, and it is trendy, but it's harder to date than color finishes. However, black is difficult to keep clean and requires more maintenance. It also shows up scratches more than lighter colors or white.

If a customized, hidden-appliance look is what you're after, some cabinet manufacturers offer custom-sized finished cabinet panels that virtually hide refrigerators within the cabinetry. These are generally more expensive but are a great enhancement and selling feature. You'll need to check with your cabinet manufacturer for availability and installation requirements.

Sometimes, Consistency Is King

If you're buying a replacement appliance, you should choose a color or finish that matches or complements the existing appliances, unless, of course, you plan on also changing the remaining appliances soon. If this is your plan, keep in mind that availability of particular colors and finishes can be short-lived, so complete the set while you can.

Keep Long-Term Plans in Mind

If you're planning on selling or renting your home in the near future, you might want to consider neutral finishes, which appeal to more potential buyers. Certain finishes such as stainless or platinum can give your kitchen a high-end look, often a necessary selling feature. Additionally, if you're replacing appliances merely to increase the resale potential, keep in mind that the features of an appliance are just as important as the aesthetics.

If the house will eventually be a rental property, skip colorful appliances. You never know what the tastes of a potential renter might be or if the chosen hue will complement their furniture and accessories. In this case, white or stainless is the most practical option.