Anyone who has built or renovated a kitchen is aware of the endless lists of decisions to be made along the way. What complicates the process is the number and variety of materials that are required, and how best to put them together to make a cohesive design.

Generally, the cabinetry takes up the bulk of the space, visually dominating the room. Countertops, flooring, walls and backsplash all butt up against the cabinets. So you are looking at wood, tile, stone, linoleum, laminates and metals to mingle into a pleasing display. However, itís the hardworking appliances ó fridge, stove, dishwasher ó that are at the heart of the well-planned kitchen. They have a color story, too.

For decades, there was only white, then the avocado craze, and some brave colors appeared, mainly in Europe, where cheery red, royal blue and school-bus yellow appliances were downright fun. Today, the big leap to stainless steel from industry to residential favorite is complete.

So where do we go from here? Manufacturers who are on the lookout for better design choices to show off their products take a keen interest in alternative solutions that will appeal to the desire for a new look while blending with what is there. Iím often asked if all the major kitchen appliances have to match, and the answer is no, not necessarily. Here are two looks that are exciting and new, and blend harmoniously with stainless steel.

After extensive consumer research, GE has come out with a new finish called Slate. Inspired by the rich texture and appearance of stone, itís a warm, gray metallic with a low-gloss finish that is a natural complement to the spectrum of wall colors, countertop materials, and floor and cabinetry finishes found in most homes today.

Slate was designed to blend with stainless steel, black or white appliances. The new Slate appliances are finished with bold brushed-metal touch points such as handles and knobs, which add more interest and can connect to other details present in the kitchen. In addition to its modern look, the matte finish is easy to clean and resists fingerprints (a big bugbear with gloss steel appliances).

Another exciting option is copper. Copper looks great next to stainless steel; its warm glow complements wood, granite and tile and enhances all kitchen colors with its rich patina. Hand-hammered copper catches the light in a way that no other metal can and creates a warm, inviting look. Pairing up a copper hood (or copper sink and faucets) with peachy pink tiles and paint develops an interesting yin and yang quality of rustic and refined or masculine and feminine that works in urban and rural homes.

Premier Copper Products offers range hoods, sinks, faucets and lights in many styles and sizes to suit your style. On the environmental side, the sustainable, recycled 99.7 percent grade-A copper used by Premier is also one of the most recycled elements on the planet (copper never ends up in a landfill). Copper is easy to care for, requiring only warm water and mild soap to clean, and the surface of the copper is naturally antibacterial.

Debbie Travisí House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to You can follow Travis on Twitter at, and visit her website,