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Jan 14, 2009 01:58 PM

Are there different stainless steel colors if you mix and match?

If I mix and match appliances, Kitchen Aide side by side refrigerator with Electrolux dual wall over with GE Monogram cooktop and all are stainless steel, will the stainless steel color look different by brand? I like the different features from different brands but am afraid of stainless steel clashing.

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  1. if you're concerned, yes, they will clash a bit. Some will be more blue, others more grey. It's kind of like the shades of silver on cars.

    I'm still hoping to get smooth steel (not brushed) like my grandparents' had in the kitchen they built into their custom house in 1950.

    1. The last place you want to find out your appliances don't play well together is in your kitchen. See if you can get the appliance store to display side-by-side. This will be a stretch at a big-box home store (unless you are already dropping major coin there for cabinets) but if you are going to a full-service place like Abt (Chicago), now is the to make them earn their commission (be firm, but polite!)

      Stainless is stainless but...if it has a brush finish, there may be some variations. There are also other metallic finishes (titanium and "cleansteel") that look like stainless, that are slightly different. Bright (mirror) finishes should all be about the same.

      If you have the appliances side by side, you may find that clashing details like the handles, buttons, knobs and that sort of thing might be a bigger deal to you than the panels. For example, the fridge has a brushed finish on the handle, the stove has a chrome handle, and the dishwasher is trimmed in black.

      A lot depends on your tolerance for mis-match and kitchen layout. Our house has a stainless dishwasher, a white fridge and a black range with a white exhaust hood. Those are the appliances that came with the house -- barring catostrophic failure/unexpected inheritance -- that will have to do for now. You don't see any side by side, so the cognitive dissonance is manageable (at least for me.)

      1. I used to work for a high-end kitchen design company and to me, nothing is as offensive as buying the same brand of everything just for appearance. Buy what works. Obsessing over "matching" stainless hues on appliances is silly. I never once had a client complain about stainless not matching and most of them were spending $100,000+ on their kitchens.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ferret

          Thanks for your help and advice. Any experience with the 36 inch Kitchen Aid side by side, counter depth refrigerator; Electrolux icon 30 inch dual wall ovens; 36 inch GE Monogram gas cooktop and Sharp microwave drawer? I am narrowing down my choices and I like the different features on each of these but I haven't bought appliances in 15 years so would appreciate any advice. Also looking at GE Monogram 36" counter depth side by side or 42" side by side built in refrigerator.

          1. re: ferret

            Thank you for interjecting sanity into this discussion. I was never under the impression that one manufacturer could actually make best in class appliances across the board. Most high end houses have different brands of fridge, cooktop, wall ovens and dishwashers. The "appliance suite" is a marketing ploy by the manufacturers -- that's all. If handles looking alike are important to you -- knock yourself out.

            1. re: ferret

              The only thing we tried to match was the handle design. The dishwasher and fridge are KA and not next to each other. The double ovens are Frigidaire. They all have the architectural handles. The rangetop and hood are Viking. All the stainless looks pretty much the same. There is no clashing between them. Finish maybe a little different but it all blends well.

            2. What makes steel "stainless" is being alloyed with 10% chromium. No maker is likely to add more chromium than necessary, because chromium is the more expensive element. Steel is the element iron with a varying content of carbon. The color of "stainless" should be very consistent, save for the texture of the finish.
              Gold, in contrast, is alloyed with upwards of 40% of cheaper base metals, of varying colors.