How do you feel about colored appliances? Sure, you might have a cheerful yellow tea kettle, or maybe an Empire Red KitchenAid stand mixer, but I mean major appliances, like refrigerators and washing machines. Would you ever consider making a color statement with those?
I’ll just put this out there: I love brightly colored appliances, and I don’t understand why more people don’t share my enthusiasm. Why is there a continuing insistence on stainless steel, when appliances can be found in a wide range of happy and highly personal colors?
I grew up in a ‘50s-era house with a full suite of ancient original appliances in a soft butter yellow. While I’m sure my mom dreamed about replacing them with something a bit more up-to-date, I loved them all – even the old natural-gas-powered refrigerator, which never seemed to keep food quite cold enough (all ice cream was soft-serve in our household!).
Today, I can buy a similar, updated refrigerator in Buttercup Yellow, from the Boulder, Colorado-based Big Chill (https://bigchill.com/about/):
It’s not an exact replica, in either color or style, but it’s pretty darn close. And it’s a safe bet that it will actually keep food at the proper temperature! Don’t like yellow? It’s also available in a wide range of other colors, from Pink Lemonade to Beach Blue, as well as other styles and even custom colors. And while Big Chill is primarily known for refrigerators, it also offers ranges and ovens, microwaves, dishwashers and dishwasher panels, and hoods, all in the same signature colors.
The Italian company Smeg (http://www.smeg.com/about-smeg/) also offers retro-styled appliances in a variety of colors. Northstar, a division of Elmira Stove Works, is yet another company offering vintage-inspired styling in a wide range of “not-so-standard” and custom colors: http://www.elmirastoveworks.com/northstar/ranges/colors/. Products include refrigerators, ranges, microwaves, hoods, and dishwasher panels.
And you don’t have to go retro to add color. Big Chill’s Pro line of refrigerators, ranges, hoods, and dishwashers offers a more contemporary look, like the 48-inch double-oven model in Orange below:
Several high-end appliance manufacturers embrace color as well. The Reading, Pennsylvania-based BlueStar (http://www.bluestarcooking.com/), which has been manufacturing cooking and heating products since 1880, prides itself not just on its professional-quality performance, but on its customization, including color choices. It offers its ranges, cooktops and wall ovens in more than 750 different colors plus textured finishes, and will create custom colors as well. At the very least, you can select colored knobs, or any of 10 different metal trim options.
Earlier this year, at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas, French manufacturer La Cornue (http://lacornue.com/en/) introduced 10 new “Parisian-inspired” colors to its already extensive finish choices, in collaboration with designer Suzanne Kasler. The new Couleur Collection (http://lacornuecollective.com/home) is just the latest in customization options from this luxury manufacturer, known for its hand-crafted French ranges.
British company Aga allows buyers to customize their ranges with 15 enamel finishes, including Duck Egg Blue, British Racing Green, Aubergine, and Heather: https://www.agamarvel.com/aga/products/aga-cast-iron-ranges/build-aga-app/.
The venerable Italian firm Bertazzoni (http://us.bertazzoni.com/), which first introduced its products to the U.S. market in 2005, is yet another high-end appliance maker that offers bold color choices, including yellow, orange, red, and burgundy.
Conversely, while other manufacturers are expanding their color choices, Viking (http://www.vikingrange.com/consumer/) has actually reduced its offerings. While the company at one time offered its ranges in 24 different colors and finishes, it recently narrowed the choices down to just seven: stainless steel, black, white, apple red, graphite gray, cobalt blue, and burgundy.
Ready to Ditch the Stainless Steel?
So, with so many brands and colors to choose from, are you ready to make the leap? If colored appliances still seem like a scary idea, here are a few considerations that might help you with your decision:
Be Unique: First, don’t worry about being trendy, or choosing a color that’s going to date your home in the coming years – because, frankly, there are no current color trends in appliances (although matte black seems to be a strong up-and-comer, and stainless steel seems to be slipping in favor just a teeny bit). The 20-teens are nothing like the 1970s, when Harvest Gold and Avocado Green were suddenly all the rage, and just as suddenly derided as ugly and outdated. If you choose colored appliances today, you’ll definitely be showing your own unique style, and not following a fad.
Be Selective: Next, consider whether or not you want to commit to a full matching suite of colored kitchen appliances. Purchasing a refrigerator, dishwasher, and range/cooktop/oven all in one color could prove to be problematic down the road. If one appliance fails, you might not be able to find a replacement in the same finish. Appliance manufacturers are notoriously fickle when it comes to finish colors, and are quick to drop a finish that’s not selling well. That would leave you with the dilemma of either replacing all of your expensive appliances because of one failure, or replacing just the broken item with something that doesn’t match the rest of the kitchen.
You can avoid this potential problem by adding just one colored appliance, while keeping the rest of the kitchen in coordinating neutral colors. For example, if you want to make a professional-style range the focal point of your kitchen, you could select a bright color for that, but keep the rest of the appliances understated.
Get Personal: Make sure the colors you choose are personal favorites. If your taste changes frequently, you’ll be more likely to get bored with a particular color. But if you’ve had a favorite color for many years, you aren’t likely to change your mind about it just because you’re seeing it in your kitchen every day.
Take a look throughout your house, including in your closet. Is there a particular palette that seems to crop up repeatedly, either in home décor items or in your wardrobe? That might be a good place to start when choosing colored appliances.
Match What You’ve Got: Make sure the appliance color coordinates with other colors throughout your kitchen and the rest of your home. Unless you’re doing a major remodel and replacing everything, check the color against your existing flooring, cabinets, countertops, and tile.
Consider Soft Vs. Bright Colors: Keep in mind that “color” doesn’t necessarily mean “bright,” despite some of the examples shown here. Soft pastels and creamy neutrals can also make a statement. For example, this muted Jadeite Green Retropolitan Fridge by Big Chill is easy on the eyes but still full of personality. Lighter colors might also be less prone to showing smudges and scratches than very dark or bright finishes.
Don’t Be Afraid to Commit: Finally, remember that appliances don’t last forever. They are a major purchase, and you might worry about committing to an unusual color for many years to come, but the sad truth is that the average off-the-shelf refrigerator these days will only last for about eight to 10 years. Unless you’re splurging on high-end brands like Viking or La Cornue, which are designed for much longer use, you won’t really need to love the color indefinitely.