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white kitchens

Do Kitchen Appliances Really Need to Match?

By 03/06/2014February 4th, 201754 Comments

Do your Kitchen Appliances Really need to Match?

When I went appliance shopping for my new white kitchen (the rest of the before’s and after’s are here) the salesperson informed me that I could always ‘coordinate’ my appliances, that they did not need to match.

Should Your Appliances Match?

Pantry wall Before

Knowing that my fridge and wall oven would be right beside each other (below), I did not even consider a ‘coordinating’ scenario.

However, when can you get away with different appliances? This is a question I get a lot.

Should your Appliances Really Match?

Pantry Wall After

We also have another pantry on the right inside a closet with U-shaped shelves, so much space for my never ending collection of vases, it’s awesome!

Should Your Appliances Really Match?

Photography by Tracey Ayton

My dishwasher is on the opposite side of the pantry wall, so it’s not the same (above).  It’s even hard to see them at the same time so it works.

Sorry the focus is clearly not on the dishwasher but you can get my point I hope.

Should Your Kitchen Appliances Really Match?

Via Pinterest

When my sister Anita renovated her kitchen, she bought a new stainless range and fridge because they were the first thing you saw when you walked in.

And she kept her old white microwave and white dishwasher because they were tucked into the prep side of the island and you didn’t really notice them until you were standing on the other side of her island.

Like this image above, you can’t see the other side of the island, so it’s not as important. Obviously the integrated dishwashers in this image are the ultimate but if you don’t have the budget for integrated appliances, then you have to think about how your appliances are going to look.

So it’s all about where they are located in your kitchen.

Do your Kitchen Appliances Really have to Match?

As a side note, now that I’m talking about appliances, our cooktop is Bosch and this is the configuration. Twice we have had to order new knobs because the heat travels underneath a big pot and melts the knobs. And let me tell you, it’s instant! Terreeia says this is the first thing she wants to replace at some point in the future.

Do your appliances match or do they coordinate?

Related posts:

White Kitchen Cabinets – Advice for my Sister

The Truth about Cloud White

Ask Maria: Would you put White Appliances in a White Kitchen?

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  • Amanda says:

    Maria, I noticed your Bosch wall oven immediately! I loved mine in the kitchen we designed together. But, I had to have the Wolf rangetop. If you can swing it, it is absolutely amazing. In my next kitchen, I will do the Bosch 800 wall oven again and the Wolf range. Love this kitchen. It is total inspiration and so classic. Nice work!

  • Teresa says:

    They need to match. My remodel was on hold for an entire year while I found a refrigerator that would fit into the space and that did not have bow and arrow handles. The oven, stovetop, dishwasher, beverage frig and micro needed to work too. I ended up with JennAir but it was not an easy decision.

    • cccid says:

      As a designer for 42 years, I totally agree. Nothing worse than uncoordinated stainless steel that is all different colors. Color matching is crucial!

  • Shelley Gardiner says:

    Hi Maria,
    What a beautiful kitchen. Stunning is more like it..
    I too have white cabinetry, my stove and fridge are stainless and my dishwasher and microwave are white. I chose white of course because of the location of both.
    The dishwasher blends nicely with the lower bank of cabinets and the microwave is surrounded by the upper white cabinets so rather than have them stand out they blend nicely with the colour of the cabinetry.
    So I agree all the appliance do not have to match each other in finish depending on the location of each..

    • ka says:

      I agree that it depends. Mine are all white and they match. I am a kitchen designer, and when we did my parents’ house & a number of other peoples’, we used the DCS by Fisher Paykel cooktop. I am going to use the range version of this when I redo my kitchen in white. I’ve used the range version of that appliance in a Italian lady’s kitchen and she loved it. In a number of homes, I’ve used the induction cook top, and have been to their homes, tried it out and I do love that. However, with my configuration, I can’t use an electric oven which is why I’m going to use the DCS range.

      There have been times when we have ordered appliance panel conversion kits for dishwashers. The kits only cost about 80 bucks and instead of having an ugly old black dishwasher people now have an applied appliance panel which matches the cabinetry. I haven’t investigated to see whether or not there is a version for refrigerators, but if you have an older working refrigerator this might be a way to disguise it without buying a whole new fridge.

  • I totally agree, they can only coordinate if they are not in direct view of each other. Paneling does not count, though, since you can always panel one piece and have it look nice. Seriously consider induction next time. Cleaning is super easy and it never gets too hot. I am a serious cook and never thought I’d want anything but gas, but now I won’t go back.

  • Ursula says:

    You raise great topics, Maria! My answer is it depends.

    Our newly remodeled kitchen has stainless steel appliances… except for the old warming drawer which we reused, which is ancient biscuit.

    Yuck, you say? Au contraire!

    Our perimeter cabs are creamy white with medium greenish soapstone countertops. Island and selected lowers are green-gray with oiled cherry butcher block on the island. Copper pulls and handles throughout. The wall ovens and fridge are on the same wall, so purchased from same manufacturer/line because different handles would have looked weird, and the handles are prominent features on these appliances. The dishwasher is another brand, but handle is close enough and it’s on the other side of the big island. Brand of the induction cooktop, micro, vent hood didn’t really matter–just needed to be stainless. No handles or protruberances on these, just control pads. Well, a hammered copper vent hood would have been stunning, but not in the budget! And that would have definitely been different from the stainless. :=)

    So now to the warming drawer–since they’re fairly rare appliances, they’re very costly for what they are, a simple box over a basic heating element. I would never spend money on a new one but now that I had one I wasn’t going to let it go. It was the only appliance still functioning from the old original kitchen. Husband was against it–buy a new stainless steel one or don’t use it–he hated the old biscuit color. I won this battle, told him we could reface it/DIY stainless somehow if it really looked terrible, even researched some products
    So guess what– instead of looking like a sore thumb, the old biscuit warming drawer looks like an intentional design decision. On the green gray island, it picks up the creamy color of the perimeter cabinets. The flat glass over the biscuit is actually kind of trendy–I’ve seen it on newer white appliances. And because it’s directly opposite the fridge and ovens, if we had gotten one in stainless steel we would have had to have different handles from those appliances since that manufacturer doesn’t make a warming drawer. But because the color and finish is different, you don’t even consider the handles.

    Love it when a plan comes together–husband has never mentioned warming drawer again because he doesn’t “see” it, it fits in so well… and with all we spent on the other appliances, this little salvaged freebie makes me feel the most luxurious!

  • Mary says:

    Love the idea of using a “headboard” for a banquette.

  • Eva says:

    It depends. I went with stainless for my new refridgerator and range/hood. My perimeter cabinets are a warm white (Kraftmaid Canvas). In the debate of contrast island, I had read that if the contrast of light and dark appeals to you, you will probably not tire of a contrast island. My island is peppercorn stain and I even have a different door style and knob, as if we reused an old bar. The old dishwasher was black and working so we reused it. It blends beautifully with the dark island and I would replace with the same but if I had ordered with the other appliances I would have unthinkingly gone with stainless and it would have stood out too much I think. My friend calls this unconcious decorating.

    • ka says:

      Black in the island was the right thing to do. Sometimes, you don’t want the appliance to be the focal point.

  • judy says:

    we did a Samsung fridge, kitchen aid dishwasher Samsung microwave and Electrolux propane gas stove-stainless- but the handles coordinate- all in a very small u shaped area-painted old flat door cabinets black and changed door handles to long stainless handles. rather have good appliances than new cabinets couldn’t afford both and not really smart in a house where the value seems to be going down while our investment goes up. ouch!

  • Carol-Anne says:

    Love the look of your kitchen!

    I agree with all that you’ve said, except I have to say that I’m soooooo tired of stainless appliances! I think they often look ridiculous in certain styles of kitchens, and yet people have been lead to believe that they’re the only way to go. Ridiculous! White, or even coloured appliances are fabulous!

    • Angela Taylor says:

      I agree, SS is a pain to clean as well. We are building a house and my kitchen is black and white so I could go either way with appliances. However, I’m going with white because it’s classic and clean-looking.

      • Lisa says:

        Good luck finding white in everything. We have been looking for white and ranges are the hardest to find. We found Kenmore brand that has white range with smooth top stove. But it has a plastic part at the top of the oven, which now I’m afraid will yellow from heat. (The one on the floor at the store, the part was yellowed from the over head light). Back to looking for different brand. Or the black stainless steel-doesn’t fingerprint! Hate stainless steel for that reason too.

        • Lenora Everett says:

          Yale Appliance says that the finish on the black stainless scratches off easily. They don’t recommend it.

    • Janice Waterman says:

      Yahoo to Eva and Ka above. I am so tired of Stainless Steel. It can be beautiful but mostly, it looks to me like the homeowner is just trying to proclaim they are trendy. The appliances scream “look at me”! especially in wood or warm toned kitchens.

      I do love the sparkle of them in your white kitchen Maria. But, I have to say that I wouldn’t like the obvious height differences next to each other. I do like how the finish is repeated with the lights etc…it gives the shiny finish a design reason.

  • Hi Maria, The image of your banquette took my breath away!! Who cares about the dishwasher when you have THAT to look at! 😉 Oh my word I nearly died. And the green pillows? I fell over I love it so much. And I agree with everything you said about not matching. Have a great weekend!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Yes, my appliances all match. They are all 15 year old GE white appliances that just won’t die!
    I would love to replace them with stainless but it’s hard to justify the expense right now. At least they blend with my white cabinets.
    Some of your readers might be interested to read a recent post from Sherry & John @ Young House Love. They actually used a special paint & painted their biscuit colored fridge. They painted it white to blend in with their newly painted white cabinets. It was a money saver until they can afford to replace everything.

  • Cindy B says:

    I agree that you can get away with non-matching appliances is some circumstances, but it has to be strategic.

    And for what it is worth, I had to order new knobs for my GE gas range when it was less than a year old. Even though they are placed across the front as is common, just leaving the oven door open a few times after use (with oven off) caused the silver paint to peel off the knobs. We were told by GE that we should close the oven door after removing the food. Of course it is so nice to leave it open in the winter to get that residual heat, so needless to say, I will be more careful when shopping for my next oven.

  • franki says:

    Mine are integrated…except for the RED microwave..I’m very matchy-matchy!! 🙂 franki

    • ka says:

      Sounds very happy! I once did a white beadboard kitchen with a red silestone counter for a 60+ nurse. She had waited, saved her money and got exactly what she wanted.

  • Beth says:

    I agree with strategically placed differences can work well, though one real estate agent told me that regardless of how well it’s done, buyers may react as if something is wrong. So if thinking about resale…

    The kitchen is lovely, though the walls want color, even if it’s soft. White on white on white can be blinding for some, and often white walls look either sterile or dingy, not fresh. Photos don’t tell the whole story, of course. Just my take; YMMV.

    • Ursula says:

      That happened to us! We almost lost a home sale in 2009 due to “mismatched” cabinets in the kitchen. The buyers otherwise loved our house, but that was the one issue they really agonized over before making an offer.

      The builder spec home kitchen was huge and had two walls plus an island of cherry stained maple cabinetry with light counters. When we added cabinetry on a bare wall and adjacent mudroom, we basically flipped the scheme with cream cabinetry and finished wood countertops stained slightly darker than the maple. More maple cabinetry would have been dark and overwhelming.

      It was carefully considered and well done, including a wall color change, and I did have professional help from a kitchen designer and interior decorator… but I guess mixed cabinetry and counters was a little too much in that particular market back then!

      We expected to stay there much longer… had I known we’d be relocating within a few years of the kitchen project, I might have done that and a few other things differently.

  • Brooke says:

    Lovely kitchen! We are looking to buy a new fridge and stove for our modern white kitchen, and I am wondering if the stainless trend might be on its tail end? Are the new glossy, glass-like white appliances possibly the next big thing? Or is it too much white for a white kitchen? Stainless is starting to look more traditional/classic to me rather than modern. Thoughts?

    • mairi says:

      There is an excellent discussion on by Becky Harris on this topic you may find helpful.
      My older Jenn-Air range is similar to the lovely new White Ice appliances available and the colours have stayed true. It provides that visual continuity to my white kitchen being on its own wall. So I don’t think it’s too much white and the stainless steel trim allows a SS range hood or SS microwave to blend nicely. Best of both worlds. Good luck with whatever you go with..

  • Barbara Travis says:

    Lovely kitchen, so fresh. On the topic of your gas top, could you please do a post on gas versus electric cook tops/ovens. I love my gas cooker but the heat has melted the thermofoil cupboards & now I have to replace them which means an entire new set of cupboards. Debating if I should replace my gas cooker with electric. Would love your followers to weigh in.


    • Barbara says:

      Go for induction. I am waiting for the price to come down.

    • Ursula says:

      I agree, induction is wonderful for ease of use, control of heat, safety, cleanup. Lots of appliance showrooms will demonstrate the features, some even will let you cook on it.

      The price has been coming down rather quickly. It took us four years from moving into a fixer upper to completion of kitchen overhaul… when I first looked in 2010, our 36″ unit cost about $1500 more than what it cost last summer.

    • T. Wright says:

      I was fortunate enough to have won a complete set of top of the line S/S kitchen appliances in a contest in 2012. The cooktop is induction and even though I had to replace my 40+ yr old S/S cookware bc the pans all had copper coated bottoms, I LOVE the induction cooktop so much. I used to think gas was the best way to go but bc we don’t have access to natural gas in our neighborhood and I don’t like the propane smell we’ve always had electric. The induction cooktop is even better than natural gas to me bc even though it’s very responsive it’s ever so much easier to clean than a gas cooktop. I’m a believer now and would probably not replace it with anything else from now on.
      I don’t think you’d regret going with induction, it heats water to a rolling boil faster than a high powered microwave, yet the top itself doesn’t get hot, only the container does. Some residual heat makes it hot to touch for a short time after removing the hot vessel from a ‘burner’ but I wouldn’t think damaging your cabinets would ever be an issue. You might see if anyone you know has induction so you could see it’s performance for yourself. Best of luck with whatever you decide!

  • margy says:

    hi maria. this is beautiful and so bright. as i write this, half of our house is taped off with plastic as workers gut and install a new kitchen/dining room. today, they measure for quartz (ceasarstone organic white) since we’d just installed dark, rugged hardwood floors throughout a year ago (a flood — don’t ask!!) we’re keeping the floors, which we love. we are buying all new stainless appliances. cupboards will be BM navajo white to match the woodwork in the rest of the house. the wall color is still undetermined. should i use the restoration hardware light silver sage again? i know that combo has been around awhile, but we live near the ocean, surrounded by trees and the colors just work with the light. can i add an accent of coral in accessories? do i go with brushed nickel for pulls or ORB, which is feeling old to me now. any direction MUCH appreciated. questions, questions!! btw, i downloaded your book and love it! thanks.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I wouldn’t say muted blues are old as most people are not going to paint their walls baby blue or cornflower blue. Sounds pretty. Maria

  • Loribeth says:

    Our appliances didn’t match at first. Before I moved into Jim’s house, he had replaced the refrigerator that came with the house with a stainless steel model, but he still had the white stove and cream hood vent that were there when he bought the house. He didn’t have a dishwasher.

    Now we have a stainless stove and over the stove microwave that match the refrigerator. We have a stainless dishwasher that we will be installing, but we have to rearrange some cabinets first.

    The only thing that doesn’t match is the toaster oven, but I haven’t been able to find one that’s actually made of stainless steel and not the fake plastic looking stuff. At least, not one that fits in the budget we’ve set.

    Now, I will admit that all of our appliances are different brands. But I’m okay with that, because we were shopping for looks, features and quality rating, not for brand name.

    • T. Wright says:

      Our Cuisinart convection toaster oven is not only S/S but an excellent small oven for the two of us whether we want to bake a couple of potatoes, (abt 30 min), bake ‘heat and serve’ breads or make toast for breakfast. In our hot, humid climate in the southeast US not having to heat the large oven saves a lot of air conditioning energy. You might check it out although since my husband chose and purchased it I don’t know the price, I do know it’s been the best toaster oven we’ve had for over 5 yrs now. I suspect it’s paid for itself in energy savings and I could never have baked potatoes in the others we had without melting something bc they would get as hot outside as inside and couldn’t reliably hold a temp. Best of luck in your search!

  • Sharon says:

    Question: what is the name of the white on your pantry cabinets and walls? They look slightly different, but they are GORGEOUS! Thanks for all the wonderful updates and photos!

  • sandyc says:

    Practical and sensible post, Maria. And of course, it depends. The first thing one sees when coming through my front door and looking left across the LR/DR (now office) is the side of my fridge and then behind it the range in my U-shaped kitchen. Both are original from 1986 and white. From my office, I can see the dishwasher which was black (go figure) but is now covered with a white magnetic cover. One only sees all appliance fronts if one stands in the middle of the kitchen and, because the room is small with lots of light coming from the south side of the south/west corner windows and a solar tube light above, it’s hard to tell that the white appliances are not an exact match. My new fridge, which is on the truck as we speak, is white as is the new microwave/convection oven just installed above the range. So glad I don’t like stainless steel anyway because I can’t imagine looking at that 3’x5’ wall of shiny grey side of the fridge every time I approach the room. Would totally “cold” my kitchen which is slated to be warm and light and bright and some shade of white (cabinets) once I do my little bitty “reno”.

  • Beth says:

    I currently have a white kitchen. It’s a royal pain to keep the cabinet fronts clean. They show everything.

    • Kay says:

      A lot depends on your family. My white cabs are easy to keep clean, but there are no children or dogs in the house.

    • Ann says:

      I also have a white kitchen with four kids and two black dogs. My husband, unfortunately, is also not very tidy! LOL! With that being said, I LOVE my white kitchen! I clean the spills and marks knowing I get the trade off of a beautiful white kitchen that feels bright and cheerful. Its worth the extra work, it really is. I’ve also noticed that its mostly the base cabinets anyway. I would rather see the dirt (food) so I can clean it up, rather than it being camouflaged!

  • Kates says:

    In my first house we had mismatching appliances and my husband and I decided that it was time for new appliances we bought a new black fridge and black dishwasher. They were right next to each other and so I made sure they coordinated. The oven was on the opposite wall and it was in good condition and we didn’t want to replace and since it was black and almond colored we chose black over stainless. I knew we weren’t living there forever so we made the investment where it made sense and not one person during the selling process mentioned anything about the appliances. We also sold it for over the previous purchase price so I was happy either way.

  • Dianne says:

    Maria, thanks for the information about appliances. Just a though… you may be using to much gas for you cooking pots. The flames should fit the bottom of the pots and not reach the sides.

  • Kathy M says:

    I agree Maria. My stainless steel dishwasher is different from my refrigerator and double oven. The dishwasher is located on the other side of the kitchen so no one notices it’s Bosch and the others are Kitchen Aid. And I didn’t even replace my cooktop which is still white. You can’t even see it since it’s flat on the counter. We were going to replace it with the 5 burner Bosch cooktop, but after seeing your post I think we’ll just wait for the white Kenmore cooktop to quit. It probably never will!! Lol

  • Kay says:

    It depends on a number of factors. In my white kitchen, I bought a white refrigerator with a handle style similar to that of our white, practically new dishwasher that I didn’t want to replace. (As Ursula indicates, coordinating appliance handles is nearly as important as coordinating colors.) The microwave is stainless because it didn’t come in white, but it is located in the island opposite the range and is practically invisible unless you turn with your back to the stove and bend down to look at it. The stove, however, is a Portuguese blue Lacanche and the focal point of the kitchen. A really fabulous stove in a great color does not need to match the other appliances (IMO). In fact, I’ve seen pictures of kitchens where the dramatically colored appliances match each other but not the cabinets, and that looks all wrong to me–something like painting your garage door the same vivid color as your front door. The room ends up looking spotty instead of coordinated.

  • Kay says:

    Very useful topic Maria. Of course, it depends. There are so many variables in a kitchen design. But what drives me crazy is mixing different appliance manufacturer’s whites when a client does want white appliances. White plastic trim elements don’t age the same way either: some yellow more rapidly and some not so much. This is one of my “issues” as a design professional. I recently did a kitchen for a very budget conscious client who wasn’t sensitive to it at all. She had other priorities. I shaped the design to her budget and her needs of course. She loves her new kitchen. It looks really good as long as you don’t look too critically. But I won’t be including the photos in my portfolio!!

  • Diane G. says:

    If you are going with white appliances, shouldn’t your white cabinets be painted a white that looks nice with ‘appliance white?’ If so, what do you recommend?
    BTW, I think white appliances are just as hard to keep clean as are stainless!

  • Ange says:

    I thought since you can see all the appliances when you enter our kitchen it would be a good idea to have them all match. But now that we have all new matching appliances our cabinets need a little TLC. Looking forward to your professional opinion!!

  • Christina Duncan says:

    I left one important thing out of my comment: The professional painters who painted my kitchen cabinets and family room trim in SW Snowbound told me that all high-gloss and semi-gloss whites WILL yellow over time. I love Snowbound so much I hope this doesn’t happen but will report if it does in a later comment.

  • BillP says:

    Earlier this week I helped a friend swap out his old white GE appliances for a four piece Kitchenaid package. A caution is that there are big differences in stainless finishes between the brands (and different whites, also). As I realtor, I believe that customers feel that appliances of all the same manufacturer were purchased at the same time, and it gives them comfort over the feeling “when will the next one fail?”. I have panels on my integrated dishwasher and Subzero with hardware that matches the cabinets, so people don’t notice different brands. With that, a Wolf oven and Wolf gas cooktop with a stainless hood and Sharp stainless microwave. Regarding the price of stainless, four piece packages can be purchased for under $2,000 which I always recommend to clients with dated and mismatched appliances.

  • Joanne G says:

    Such a beautiful kitchen–a world of difference from what you started with.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    That kitchen was the BEST investment in your own business, Maria! Lovely. I keep telling my husband that I cannot bring people to my house and say I can help them with theirs UNTIL the colors/finishes are right.
    (all perfectionism aside)….
    Hope Bosch is listening here too, about that stove top design!
    Still would love to have tea sitting at that banquette with you! xo, P.

  • Carrie says:

    Hi Marie,

    I’m in love with your kitchen!! I am planning a kitchen remodel within the next five years and am always collecting pictures of kitchens that I like. I like the idea of having a cooktop and with a separate wall oven but I also like the industrial look of some of the gas ranges on the market. May I ask why you went with the separate pieces – what do you like about having them separate and is there anything you miss about having one unit?

  • Rebecca says:

    As a kitchen designer, I would much rather see an appliance that blends with the cabinets. As with furniture, you don’t need a matching suite.

    The exception would be a statement piece, such as a great stove and coordinating hood.

  • Diane S says:

    If you do go with stainless and the appliances are right next to each other, be aware that each brand of appliance has a different color and tone of stainless. Some are shiny,some brushed, some darker, some lighter!! The manager at Best Buy showed me in the store and it was a HUGE difference sometimes.

  • Susan @Susan Silverman Designs says:

    In a perfect world, I think the appliances should match but if they just coordinate, there is not just the handles you need to look at, it’s also the colour of the stainless steel, because not all stainless is created equal. I recently changed my range to a Samsung induction because my Kitchen Aid broke down after 10 years, and it was too expensive too fix. Although the handles are sort of the same shape, the Kitchen Aid ones are tubular whereas the Samsung is flat. I didn’t care for the KitchenAid induction so I went with the one that suited my purposes best. But then again, it’s not a perfect world. It was function before form for me!

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