Hot Home Trend: Stainless Steel Kitchens
Thursday Nov 16th, 2023
The metallic sheen of stainless steel is evolving beyond appliances—to countertops and cabinets. Google searches for “stainless steel kitchen islands” are up 200% year over year, while searches for “stainless steel kitchen pantries”—which are outfitted with shiny metal shelves and carts—also are experiencing a rapid rise, according to a recent report from Magnet,(link is external) a U.K.-based kitchen retailer. Even searches for more general terms, such as “stainless steel kitchen for home,” are seeing an uptick.
Jen Nash, head of design at Magnet, says celebrity trendsetters and popular cooking shows, like “Boiling Point” and “The Bear,” have made bolder uses of stainless steel one of the biggest kitchen design trends heading into 2024.
“The stainless steel kitchen has long been seen as the antithesis to the warm, welcoming ‘heart of the home’ style that people desire in their kitchen space,” Nash says. But now stainless steel kitchens are recognized as sleek and contemporary, fitting into the modern industrial trend. They’re also durable and hygienic: Stainless steel is known for preventing bacteria build-up on surfaces. Designers and homeowners are starting to rethink the material and how it can be used, Nash says.
“It’s a far cry from the ‘cozy’ kitchen aesthetic,” Nash says. “But amid the increase in foodie culture and home cooking, homeowners are showing an increased interest in having a kitchen that channels the persona of a true chef.”
Nash offers three ways to introduce more stainless steel in the kitchen.
All-in: ‘’If you are feeling confident and brazen, opting for stainless steel throughout the whole kitchen can make a big statement with an unexpected luxurious feel,” she says. “On the likes of cabinets, islands and appliances, using a humble material in a maximal manner imbues it with a sense of opulence, grandeur, and sophistication.”
Tip: To avoid the space looking too harsh, consider breaking up the silver shine with small details and more natural materials. For example, Nash suggests hanging textured tea towels on the handles or displaying decorative dishes on open wooden shelving.
Contrast: Another way to embrace the stainless steel trend: Instead of using the finish everywhere, limit it to countertops or a kitchen island and create a contrast with other elements. “A stainless steel kitchen island or countertop contrasts beautifully with surrounding cabinetry that is perhaps more traditional, bringing a balance between cold and warmer physicality to the space,” she says. “The result can be a unique blend of industrial and organic elements, which is a design statement in itself.’’
Backsplashes: “A stainless steel backsplash may seem like a minor use of the material, but it can have a big impact,” Nash says. “It gives your kitchen a clean and contemporary look, with the added bonus that its reflective surface can make the space appear larger. Plus, a stainless steel backsplash is built to endure heat emitted by cooking. That said, while it’s a hardy choice, owners will find they need to clean the surface regularly.” Nash suggests using gentle, natural cleaning agents and a polishing cloth, instead of abrasive sponges, to prevent scratches.)