The time has come to remodel your kitchen. Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply replacing old hardware, your goal is to create the kitchen that communicates your values most effectively. The story your kitchen tells could be characterized by a crisp, seamless look that brings you joy, or it could be all about creating the coziness that will make your guest feel at home — or it could be both.
Whatever your desired style is, one step in the design process is picking appliances to match your kitchen cabinets.
If you’ve been wondering, for example, how to choose a refrigerator for your kitchen that will complement the rest of your design, you’re in the right place. Matching appliances with your cabinets and other displays is one of the best ways to let your kitchen tell your story. Storytelling is in the details, and perfecting these details is a journey in and of itself.
Why You Should Match Appliances and Cabinets in Your Kitchen
Large kitchen appliances serve two purposes: functional and fashionable. Of course, no one can deny that the practical uses of kitchen appliances are essential. Find the oven, fridge, dishwasher and stove that suit your cooking, cooling and washing needs. Then, you can see if different finishes are available to match your styling preferences.
Only on rare occasions do your appliances need to draw the attention of every eye in the room. Usually, you want to find cabinets and appliances that blend well together with colors and hardware to complement your space.
But how can you figure out which combinations work well and which ones do not?
How to Choose Kitchen Appliances to Fit Your Kitchen’s Style
Every kitchen style tells a big-picture story through its visual design. The way we feel when we enter a room stems from the colors and textures we see, the space around us, the light and whether the temperatures are warm or cool. Nothing affects the feel of a room more than what we can see within it.
This visual significance is why the finishes on your appliances and the way they pair with the rest of the kitchen can have a significant effect. A cohesive blend is much easier to understand than chaotic mismatching, and fitting the right appliance to your hardware and cabinets can help create this uniformity.
Among appliance finishes, the following five stand out as the most commonly used in kitchens all across the country. Each communicates different design qualities and fits in with a variety of decor styles.
Stainless Steel Appliances: The Leader in Versatility
In the last few decades, stainless steel has replaced white as the traditional crowd favorite. Not only is this change good for resale, but you will also find that stainless steel appliances fit beautifully in any kitchen, complementing a broad spectrum of designs and favorite cabinet colors.
Especially with more recent fingerprint-resistant models, there’s no downside to opting into stainless steel. It has become so widely sought after that a few similar alternatives have crept up to provide slight variety:
- Slate stainless steel: After having recently been coined “the new stainless steel,” slate stainless has begun to steal the show. Its more subdued gray color creates a slightly darker look without drifting as dark as black. With its sandy undertones, slate adds rustic flair that matches a variety of cabinetry options to any modern kitchen, and it has a lower tendency to attract clingy fingerprints than classic stainless steel. If you’re searching for a look that’s grounded and earthy, slate may be the best choice.
- Black stainless steel: Another strong contender for stainless steel substitutes is one coated with a solid black hue. Black kitchen appliances have their own unique set of pros and cons because they work exceptionally in darker-themed kitchens and can only truly thrive in light-colored spaces when tied together expertly with additional black accessories.
- Colored stainless steel: While not widely common yet, metallic colors other than slate or black have begun cropping up as alternative options for stainless steel appliances. Bronze, brass and copper are examples of the trending hues that can easily be tied into the rest of your kitchen with the right metal hardware.
While these other finish colors are trending, stainless steel in its classic state continues to be the most versatile option you’ll find. It’s the most prevalent in all types of kitchen appliances and hardware, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
One of the benefits of stainless steel is that you never have to worry about the contrast it may create. It matches with nearly every kitchen style while giving you the chance to create a unique space. However, if you’re looking to get creative with lights and darks, the next two styles of appliance finishes may be worth considering.
Black Appliances: Sleek and Refined
As the upscale runner-up to the classic look of stainless steel, black is quickly gaining popularity in the world of appliance finishes, both in glossy and matte states. We’ve already briefly addressed the way black is well-suited for dark kitchens, as it offers the versatility of matching a wide range of dark wood and painted cabinet finishes. It also keeps a clean look much longer than other finish alternatives.
Considering going black and white? Never fear — it’s entirely possible to attain a stark, beautiful contrast. With white or very light cabinets, black appliances require an effort to create unity. You may want to consider threading black elements into the rest of the kitchen by adding stylish black hardware or dark countertops, for example. The repeated black aspects in a light room will communicate a contrast marked by evenness and intentionality.
Black appliances can also transform a dull kitchen into an upscale destination. To achieve an even more high-end, sleek look, consider this growing trend. Increasingly, black appliances can be topped with what is called a “floating glass” finish, which gives the appliance a smooth, reflective surface. The clean feel of floating glass is another reason black appliance finishes are rising in popularity.
Medium-toned cabinets are less suited for black appliances. Unfortunately, they can create a grayish, muddy combination that absorbs light from the room, making the kitchen feel much smaller. Stick with either strictly dark or light cabinets to keep your kitchen friendly on the eyes and allow your black appliances to work their intriguing magic.
White Appliances: Clean and Bright
While not as popular as other finishes or as they have been in the past, white appliances continue to blend well in kitchens with white or light cabinets. An all-white look creates an area with a clean, bright feel. A kitchen with a monochromatic color-scheme communicates simplicity, and with white, you’re less likely to find smudges and fingerprints all over your appliances. Some contemporary styles will also feature white appliances with a “floating glass” finish to add extra shine to their clean appearance.
In a kitchen with white cabinets and appliances, the addition of dark countertops or hardware can spice up the potential monotony of white-on-white. But even an entirely white kitchen has its perks. For example, it makes for an excellent backdrop for colorful decor, painted walls or patterned backsplashes.
Another option with white appliances is to use them to create a stark contrast with the darkest cabinets. With charcoal, dark brown or even black cabinets and countertops, white appliances can add light sources to soften the small or ominous feel of a dark kitchen.
Paneled or Hidden Appliances: Seamless Uniformity
Manufacturers sometimes offer custom appliances finished with cabinet panels, essentially disguising your appliances as cabinets themselves. This appliance style is one that will most seamlessly integrate your appliances into your remaining cabinetry, which can create a fun and sneaky element for your design. However, without some exciting contrast — either through your countertops, hardware or decor — you run the risk of creating a visually monotonous space.
Colorful Appliances: A Splash of Modern Retro
Appliances dressed in bright colors, while less popular than other finishes, can definitely become the focal point of the kitchen they’re in. Some of these appliances are designed with a throwback vibe in mind, while others have a sleek modern design intended to complement an otherwise neutral contemporary room. It’s unlikely that a brightly colored appliance will fit in well with equally bright cabinets. Instead, as with the stark black and white, using a brightly colored appliance should serve as an innovative means to create some contrast.
What Style of Appliance Will Match Your Kitchen and Tell the Right Story?
Now that we’ve looked at different appliance finishes, are you ready to make a decision for your kitchen? One of the great complexities of choosing the right cabinets, appliances and hardware for your kitchen is making sure every detail somehow fits into the grand, big-picture story your kitchen communicates.
This big-picture approach to design is why the way your cabinets match your appliances matters. Here is a quick guide to help you get started on painting that picture and creating the design you want, the right appliances included.
Find Your Big Picture: A Brief Style Guide to Six Trendy Kitchen Designs
While the following list is not an exhaustive catalog of all kitchen design styles, you may find that these individual styles communicate ideals similar to the ones you hold. Consider the style guidelines as a brainstorming tool to see which appliance, hardware and cabinet styles fit well together and what kind of effect their combinations can create.
The Contemporary Kitchen
Contemporary kitchens speak of simplified, clutter-free lifestyles marked by neutral tones. A range of grays offers a soft and comfortable environment, while splashes of black and white evoke emotion through their jarring contrast. Stainless steel finishes can create a serious industrial look, while granite countertops give small bursts of color to evoke lightheartedness.
Artisan woodworking in the cabinets adds a homey touch, and the mild black hardware on light cabinets serves as elegant decor. Extra adornment is only acceptable in moderation, as the primary purpose of this kitchen in functional, but small hints of personal expression are encouraged to promote socializing with guests in a comfortable, 21st-century environment.
Cabinet-appliance combinations for the contemporary style are:
- Black, gray and white cabinetry with stainless steel appliances
- Warm white cabinets and stainless steel appliances
- Gray cabinets and appliances with metallic finishes like stainless steel or slate
- Black-and-white cabinet-appliance combinations
The Cottage Kitchen: Cozy Coastal Charm
The appeal of the cottage kitchen is its effectiveness in pulling colors and textures from nature. Pale or white cabinets accented with blue and green hardware or sandy panels with contrasting-colored knobs draw in splashes of vivid color. For a bold and beachy look, cabinets can be painted bright yellow or orange, calling upon a more retro style. Fiber-like textures through woven rugs or wicker decor contribute to the overall coastal feel of a cottage kitchen, which should focus on bright or light color to reflect warmth and airiness.
Cabinet-appliance combinations for the cottage style are:
- Brightly painted cabinets with white appliances
- White, pale or cool-colored cabinets with white appliances
- Pale cabinets with retro-colorful appliances
The hardware finish to match is non-metal based hardware such as ceramic, marble, wood or glass.
The Country Kitchen: The French Versus the English Farmhouse
The country kitchen is perfect for that weekend-getaway feeling. Although it comes in different varieties, each one centers on creating a space that’s open and inviting. French country kitchens portray sleek elegance with sophisticated florals and fabrics. It conveys quaint, quiet and earthy colors.
The English-country style prioritizes a well-loved and tested atmosphere, proudly bearing its worn-down imperfections to the world. Rough textures, sun-bleached surfaces and distressed wood finishes accentuate the celebration of passing the time with friends and loved ones. The English country style also highlights hunting scenes instead of the French country style’s focus on birds and the charm of farm animals.
Cabinet-appliance combinations for the country style are:
- Warm wood cabinets with paneled or hidden appliances
- White wood cabinets and discreet stainless steel appliances
- Mixed colors, from yellows and greens to primary reds, with paneled or stainless steel appliances
The Modern Kitchen
Pristine and honest, the modern kitchen features impeccably smooth surfaces of sleek glass and wide, uncluttered spaces. This style offers a strict adherence to uniformity and deep contrasts of darks and lights in regular installments. It communicates evenness and authenticity without unnecessary frill.
Occasionally accompanied by black accent walls, the modern kitchen can appear at first glance to be cold and cheerless. With the right accents, however, the room can pop with color. Pearly white countertops can create a clean backdrop for bright flowers, while polished dark wood finishes develop a sense of stability and warmth when paired with colorful hardware such as satin brass.
Cabinet-appliance combinations for the modern style are:
- Stainless steel with either dark or light cabinets
- All dark cabinets and appliances
- All light cabinets and appliances
- A stark contrast of dark appliances and white cabinets
The Traditional Kitchen: Old World, Tuscan and Mediterranean
The traditional kitchen carries a myriad of definitions. It focuses on creating a welcoming look for anyone who enters its doors, whether for holidays and events or delightful hours with family and friends.
Panels on appliances and glass doors on cabinets make the look timeless, and bursts of white bring in extra light. Darker hues can lend themselves to an old-world-styled kitchen, with a luxurious texture marked by period-specific details. This style is characterized by mahogany finishes and stone surfaces. On the more lighthearted side, a traditional kitchen can evoke a sense of the Mediterranean style, with its rustic colors of bright blues and olive. Copper or ceramic accessories and rough textures add to the time-worn charm of this traditional kitchen style.
Cabinet-appliance combinations for the traditional style are:
- Wood-paneled cabinets, either stained or painted, and hidden appliances with matching panels
- Dark wood cabinets with matte black appliances
- Creamy cabinets with white appliances
The Transitional Kitchen: The Best of Both Worlds
A transitional kitchen aims for the perfect balance of the old and the new. It seeks out the beauty in both classic and modern styles. Neutral tones express an appeal to everyone, and the lines in the cabinets create the structure and form of the room.
This style minimizes fluff and decor and lets the deep, rich cabinet doors or polished glass surfaces do the talking on their own. Modern steel countertops are added to complement traditional cabinets, or antique light fixtures are used to contrast the sleek geometric design of contemporary styles. Black accents and nickel-brushed or steel hardware create the subtle modern details that dazzle between the warm wood panels of traditional trends.
Cabinet-appliance combinations for the transitional style are:
- Dark wood paneled cabinets and black, glossy appliances
- Light-stained wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances
- Wood cabinets with glass doors and black or metal appliance finishes
While these styles and cabinet-appliance pairings are popular today, the right design for you may not fit neatly into any of these pre-determined categories. If that’s the case, what should you do? As long as you have the right amount of contrast and cohesion, there’s almost nothing you can’t do to create your perfect kitchen.
Mixing and Matching: Do All Appliances Have to Be the Same?
As dreamy as it would be to create the perfectly paired ensemble, let’s say you already have a few white appliances on hand but are considering a stainless steel fridge. It could be because of finances or preferences— whatever the reason, you’re not interested in matching all of your appliances at this time. Can you still have a balanced kitchen design?
How you choose a refrigerator for your kitchen —and the rest of your design in general — is completely up to you. To be kind to your budget and ease your mind, of course, you don’t have to match all of your appliances. Here are some pointers for mismatching intentionally:
- Keep in mind that anything different from the rest will create some contrast.
- Remember that the best way to contrast look intentional is by tying the color into the rest of your design through cohesive decoration and matching hardware selections.
As long as you’re happy with your kitchen’s big picture and have peace of mind, there’s unlimited flexibility in creating the kitchen of your dreams. Be sure to create an ageless design for your space by selecting excellent details, including the right hardware for the job.
Matching Hardware Ties It All Together
Hardware, as we all know, adds the ultimate finishing touch to a well-designed kitchen. It’s the one element that ties your carefully selected appliances to the cabinets and counters making up the rest of your kitchen space.
Which cabinet hardware would look best in your kitchen with your story in mind? What style and hardware finish do you need to find? At Cliffside, we serve our customers in finding the perfect match for their hardware needs with high-quality, attractive, long-lasting materials and unparalleled service. Contact us today for additional assistance in selecting the right touches for your design.