Trendy New Appliance Finishes

Modern kitchen interior 3d rendering

Stainless steel has been extremely popular in the premium appliance industry for more than a decade. Today, however, consumers are looking for something different in the high-end market, and four new finishes have caught their attention: black stainless steel, slate, black slate, and matte black.

Black Stainless Steel

Available from various manufacturers, black stainless steel has emerged as one of the broadest new trends in appliances. It provides a softer, warmer look than traditional stainless steel, yet still has that sleek, metallic appearance people want in a contemporary kitchen.

What is black stainless steel? For most brands it’s basically stainless steel with a black oxide coating on top. Only one brand departs from this method by “baking” the black color into the stainless steel during the manufacturing process. 

Not all black stainless steel is the same, and there is quite a variation of finishes among manufacturers — in fact, the colors range from gray to almost black. Some brands have a more metallic appearance, with shiny reflective surfaces. Others have satiny or glossy finishes, and a couple

have more of a matte look (flat, dull). Most feature matching handles. One brand, however, offers stainless steel handles for a striking contrast.

If you want a consistent, seamless look in your kitchen, stay with the same manufacturer when buying black stainless steel appliances.

Pros of Black Stainless Steel

  • Cleans easily using warm water and mild soap with a soft cloth, then wiping dry with a soft cloth
  • Most brands are smudge- and fingerprint-proof, unlike traditional stainless steel
  • Gives your kitchen a cutting-edge look
  • Coordinates well with today’s trendy cabinetry colors — light gray and white

Cons of Black Stainless Steel

  • Color variations among manufacturers make it difficult to assemble a kitchen package from different brands
  • New black color trend could be discontinued by manufacturers if not accepted by the marketplace, leaving owners unable to find individual replacements in their kitchen package
  • Black stainless steel is more prone to scratches, chips, and peeling problems, depending on the brand. This is becoming less of an issue as manufacturers are increasing the durability of these appliances
  • Some manufacturers have limited model options to choose from


Slate is a very good option if you want a darker metallic look, but not one as dark as black stainless steel. The warm gray and subtle bronze/brown undertones of slate, combined with a matte finish and contrasting stainless steel handles, make a beautiful addition to any kitchen décor.

Pros of Slate

  • Wide variety of models to choose from
  • Provides a distinctive, high-end look to kitchens
  • Coordinates well with the current trend of white or light grey cabinetry
  • Versatile — works well with the dark wood tones of rustic kitchens, as well as with colorful kitchens
  • Blends beautifully with wood, glass, stone, and tile surfaces
  • Resistant to fingerprints and smudges
  • Tough and durable, doesn’t scratch easily
  • Cleans easily using a soft, damp cloth and mild dish detergent, then wiping dry with a soft cloth

Cons of Slate

  • Only one manufacturer provides slate appliances. You can’t mix and match with other brands to assemble a kitchen package
  • If slate becomes unpopular, and is discontinued, it will be hard to replace any broken appliance to match the others
  • Resale value of your home could be affected if home buyers aren’t familiar with the slate color

Black Slate

Black slate is a deep charcoal color with a low-gloss matte finish that offers something different and unique to the black stainless steel trend. It provides a softer look and is an elegant alternative to traditional and black stainless steel kitchen appliances.

Pros of Black Slate

  • Doesn’t show fingerprints and smudges
  • Cleans easily using a soft, damp cloth and mild detergent, then wiping dry with a soft cloth
  • Choice of stainless-steel based, fingerprint-resistant hardware for some models: brushed copper, brushed bronze, brushed black, and brushed stainless
  • Pairs well with whites, grays, and deep colors
  • Complements brick, wood, and stone materials

Cons of Black Slate

  • Only one manufacturer offers black slate. You can’t mix and match with other brands to assemble a kitchen package
  • Limited range of appliances compared to other finishes (e.g. slate, black stainless steel)
  • Has yet to prove longevity in the marketplace. If discontinued it will be difficult to replace broken appliances

Matte Black

Matte black is a low-gloss, rich black finish. A deeper shade than most black stainless steel finishes, it provides dramatic contrast to both light and dark cabinetry. At the same time, the softer matte black establishes a warmer look to any kitchen.

Pros of Matte Black

  • Hides dust, dirt, water marks, fingerprints and smudges on its flat, black surface
  • Cleans easily using a soft, damp cloth and mild detergent, then wiping dry with a soft cloth
  • Available in a full range of appliances with matching matte black handles
  • Pairs well with stone, wood, aged metals, and brick
  • Complements almost any color or kitchen style, including traditional, modern, and contemporary 

Cons of Matte Black

  • Only one manufacturer offers matte black. You can’t mix and match with other brands to assemble a kitchen package
  • Longevity yet to be determined. If discontinued, it will be difficult to replace broken appliances
  • New to the market. If not popular, may affect the resale value of your home

Is there a difference between matte black and black slate?

The matte black finish is actually similar to black slate, although not identical. However, the manufacturer of black slate appliances is rebranding its black slate finish to matte black. Consumers wanting a matte black look in their kitchen (and currently there’s only one matte black manufacturer), as well as brand choices, should also check out the black slate appliances.

Mixing traditional and black stainless steel

Don’t want to replace all your traditional stainless steel appliances? Mixing stainless steel and black stainless steel is a great way to create a modern, elegant kitchen.

Here are some tips on how to achieve an eye-catching balance between the two.

  1. Buy all your stainless steel or black stainless steel from the same manufacturer. Blending works best if all the appliances are the same shades of stainless and black.
  2. For a more coordinated look, ensure you have multiple appliances of each color. Only one stainless steel or black appliance will make it seem out of place.
  3. With a one-toned appliance, use an accent piece of the opposite color (e.g. black kettle on a stainless steel stove, stainless steel magnets on a black fridge).
  4. Purchase appliances with handles, knobs, or features of the opposite color. For example, black-glazed glass makes a wonderful contrast with stainless steel ovens and microwaves. If you’re not buying new appliances, replace the handles on current ones.
  5. Mix silver and black elsewhere in your kitchen to tie everything together. Display silver cannisters and cooking utensils, lay down a black rug, or install a black backsplash.

Call C&W Appliance Service at (855) 358-1496 for all your appliance repair and maintenance needs or submit our online service request form for prompt, reliable service.


For the very best in appliance repair and maintenance, you can count on C&W Appliance Service.