Solutions: Appliances trend toward color

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Home appliances have become a hot topic as the selections get more stylish and sophisticated than ever before. Just ask Alexandria Hays, product specifier for Specialties Showroom in Berkley, who shares some of the latest trends.

Bold colors like cobalt are popping up in today’s kitchen appliances for a more distinctive look in the hub of the home

Customers are growing more curious about this category. “Some people come in just to get ideas and find out what’s new,” she says about their showroom, which features home appliances in room settings that make them easier to examine. “We offer a wide range of appliances to fit any budget and we pride ourselves on asking a lot of initial questions to see what features and benefits are right for the customer.”

One of the biggest trends they’re seeing right now is color, which would typically appear on a range, a hood or a refrigerator.

“Color is coming back very strong in appliances, with cobalt blue in particular and what we call Ferrari orange,” says Hays. “The longtime trend in stainless steel is shifting and people are asking for something different. They want to have one item in a unique color or finish.”

Consumers have also been rethinking the hardware on their appliances, given the latest options like gold tones, copper and brass. “There’s more customization or personalization on one or two pieces in the kitchen to make them stand out as that jewelry piece or eye-catching part of the kitchen,” Hays explains. “There’s the whole Houzz ( movement that lets people think outside of the box and see unique things.” 

For instance, she says True Residential refrigerators offer a dozen colors in their lineup along with custom colors for your fridge, hinges and hardware. 

In addition, Hays says Blue Star ranges have a huge online following and other brands are starting to add color to their products.

“People want that wow factor when friends walk into a kitchen, so we’re having that conversation more and more on the floor for something bolder,” she adds.  

Other trends include fingerprint-resistant stainless steel dishwashers and panel-ready styles that blend with the cabinetry. More dishwashers are embracing juicers and the recyclable water bottle movement with a spray directed at these types of containers for better cleaning.

According to Hays, quiet dishwashers remain the number one request while the demand for black stainless steel appliances is also on the rise.

A new trend for washing machines is a laundry detergent cartridge dispenser that evenly dispenses the right amount of detergent.

Laundry continues to go beyond the traditional locations in the home to second-floor laundry areas in the master suite. With heat-pump dryers, Hays says there’s no need to worry about venting. “You can place them just about anywhere in the home and they’re eco-friendly,” she says.

From the more basic appliances to high-end varieties, many have added Wi-Fi capability that allows you to do everything from looking up recipes to getting tips on how to use the product. This feature also makes diagnostics easier when something may be in need of repair.

Apps, such as Yummly, seem to be getting smarter every day. This one goes so far as to let you take a picture of the contents in your fridge and recommend recipes based on the ingredients.

According to Hays, the huge foodie movement that has people cooking at home with fresh ingredients often leads them to scale back on the size of their freezer.  

There’s also been an increased interest in home bars for those who make their own beer. In this case, Kegerators are a big seller. “Refrigerators for craft beer are taking over from wine refrigerators,” says Hays.

Lastly, icemakers have been a big hit, too. “A lot of whiskey drinkers come in specifically for icemakers. They want clear ice when they serve whiskey in batches,” she says. In the industry, they’re known as “ice snobs.”

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Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at