Move over, stainless steel. There’s a new favorite finish.

By Jessica Bennett
Updated November 05, 2019

Matte black is having a moment. Featured on exterior paint colors, living room decor, cabinet hardware, and more, this edgy color trend is practically everywhere within homes. And now, kitchen appliances are embracing the dark side, too.

"We took cues from trends in interiors and tech, specifically the 'softening' of technology, which helps it to seamlessly integrate with your style," says Maggie Bellinger, senior industrial designer at GE Appliances, whose suite of Cafe appliances feature the shade. "The matte black finish fills a key void in color options for kitchen appliances."

Courtesy of GE

Buy It: Cafe French Door Refrigerator in Matte Black, $3,329, Home Depot

Black kitchen appliances hit the market years ago, but the flat finish, which is actually dark-colored stainless steel, began gaining popularity in late 2017, according to Google Trends. Modern and minimalist, yet dramatic enough to command attention, matte black is ideal for giving your kitchen appliances a stylish update. This bold new finish offers a high-contrast antidote to the long-popular white-on-white kitchens outfitted with a suite of stainless-steel appliances.

"Stainless steel has been around for decades, and it continues to be the leader in premium finishes," says Brandt Vartner, head of product management for home appliances at LG Electronics. "However, customers are showing they want more options to show a new look in their kitchen." That’s where matte black comes in.

Courtesy of Home Depot

Buy It: LG Electronics Gas Range with Self-Cleaning in Matte Black Stainless Steel, $1,249, Home Depot

Although refrigerators, microwaves, and dishwashers aren’t usually the most glamorous elements of a kitchen’s design, this smooth finish makes them (figuratively) shine. The dark, nonglossy surface adds sophistication—and it's easy to care for, too! So next time you’re in the market for new appliances, a flat black finish might be the way to go. Here are six things to love about matte black appliances.

Panichgul Studios, Inc

1. Create Striking Contrast

Want to make your kitchen stand out? Matte black appliances are one way to add distinction and a modern spin—without embarking on a major remodel. "While they look great in a full kitchen package, [matte black appliances] can also be purchased individually and blend with an already stainless kitchen," Vartner says. This allows you to try the trend with a single appliance if you’re not ready to fully commit. For added impact, Bellinger suggests pairing the finish with light-colored cabinetry.

2. Warm Up a Utilitarian Space

Too much stainless steel can make a kitchen feel cold and commercial. Ditch the industrial finish for softer matte black to establish a warm look that's more suitable for cozy cooking spaces and farmhouse-style kitchens. The striking surface pairs well with textured elements like aged metals, wood, stone, and brick.

Image courtesy GE

3. Hide Life's Imperfections

Stainless steel’s shiny surface hides nothing. Fingerprints, sauce splatters, and sticky smears all show up in clear detail. Most matte black finishes, on the other hand, resist these kinds of smudges, which means fewer weekly wipe-downs. The smooth, dark-colored surface also hides dust, dirt, and water marks, which don’t stand out as prominently on the flat black finish.

4. Add Timeless Color

Kitchen appliances can be a hefty investment. You don’t want to shell out big bucks on a style that’s going to be outmoded in a year or two (looking at you, rose gold). "Matte black is a classic, enduring tone, which makes it a great choice for people who want their kitchen to be in style for years to come," Bellinger says. Neutral and timeless, yet still trendy, matte black isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Tria Giovan Photography Inc

5. Make Cleaning Easy

Unlike their stainless-steel counterparts, matte black appliances don’t require a special polish to keep them looking pristine. Simply wipe down the surfaces with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water when needed. Be sure to avoid abrasive cleaners or scouring pads that could damage the decorative coating that makes the surface matte.

6. Complement a Variety of Aesthetics

A matte black finish seamlessly blends utilitarian appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators into your kitchen's aesthetic—whatever that may be. Whether you prefer country-inspired cooking spaces or more modern kitchen designs, this sophisticated surface pairs well with all styles. Mix matte black appliances with textured stone and rustic wood finishes, or surround them with colorful lacquered cabinets for a stunning contemporary spin.

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