Appliances: Stainless vs. White

Q: I'm hoping to replace everything in my kitchen soon and expect to purchase white kitchen cabinets. Is it acceptable, in terms of resale value, to have white appliances, or must I have stainless steel?
— E.W., Scarsdale

A: It sounds like you’ve been tuning in to House Hunters, featuring countless couples wrinkling their noses at “outdated” kitchens. So it’s come to this: As you’re about to drop a bundle on a kitchen makeover, you feel obliged to choose what the next owners will find “acceptable.” Unless you’re planning to sell your property soon, why not buy the innocuous white appliances you seem to prefer? Who knows if stainless steel won’t soon be upstaged by a resurgence of harvest gold and avocado? (Don’t scoff. Trends move fast.)

But let’s answer your question. Stainless steel has been the rage for “a good twelve to fifteen years,” says William Luceno, an owner of Majestic Kitchens & Baths in Mamaroneck ( Luceno says he has seen “no real slow-down in demand,” either, and was quick to respond that stainless-steel appliances are your best bet if you’re concerned about resale. “White isn’t a problem,” he added, “but stainless would help the sale. It’s number one.”

Luceno believes the material has stayed in vogue because “it seems to go with every type of design,” he says. “Especially in a white kitchen, it looks really nice.” White kitchens have been popular for a long time, too, Luceno adds, so your choice of cabinetry is wise as far as resale goes. If you don’t want the somewhat cold look of stainless, Luceno suggests covering the refrigerator and dishwasher with wood panels to match your cabinets.

As for coming trends: There’s no sign of harvest gold yet. “Some super-high-end appliance manufacturers are doing other colors — antique brass or an antique bronze look, but very rarely do you see that,” Luceno replies. “We’re not seeing such ornate cabinetry, either; people have taken a more subtle approach.”

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