A Brief History of Kitchen Appliance Color Choices


Once upon a time, a kitchen was a simple place consisting basically of a shelf space, fireplace or woodstove and table and chairs for dining. Then came the invention of electricity and the possibility of creating powered appliances that would cook food or keep it cold, wash the dishes, stir, knead, chop, toast or grill and so much more. Historically, the kitchen has alternated between being a family gathering place, a separate utilitarian space and back to a hang-out area for family, guests and friends and guests alike. Although women are no longer the sole proprietors in the kitchen, they have cared as much about decorating this space as the rest of their home. In response, appliance manufacturers have offered new colors with varying levels of success.

While white appliances were the only choices initially, by the 1950s colors such as Stratford Yellow, Sherwood Green, Turquoise Green, Cadet Blue, Woodtone Brown, Petal Pink and Canary Yellow offered homemakers exciting new ways to coordinate their kitchens. Cadet Blue and Woodtone Brown proved to be unpopular and were discontinued in less than 10 years as were several of the other colors.

By 1960 a few new shades had been added and almost as quickly cancelled including an attempt at a charcoal gray. Standard yellow, pink and turquoise were the only real survivors of this color craze. A new color, Coppertone became a popular choice until the 1980s. In fact, Coppertone and turquoise were the two favorite appliance colors, after white, for several years.

As the later 60's approached, turquoise was replaced by avocado and a Harvest Gold shade. These became the new stars for the remainder of the 60's, the 70's and the early 80's. Bright Poppy Red made a short appearance in the 70's but as the decade closed New Naturals had become more popular. Harvest Wheat, Onyx Black, Coffee, Fresh Avocado and Almond were introduced with Almond and Harvest Gold definitely taking the lead. The 80's saw Coppertone and Avocado fade away.

From the pastels of the 50's, the earth tones of the 60's and the off-whites and return the whites in the 80's and 90's, today kitchen designers often choose stainless steel for an efficient utilitarian look or black for sleek sophistication. It may be that as more and more men have become comfortable and active in this part of the house, their opinions about appliance colors are bearing more weight. It's just hard to picture a man cooking over a pink stove.

White has always remained the most purchased color when it comes to kitchen appliances. It never goes out of style, makes small work areas look larger by blending in easier with the overall space and will adjust to new decorating whims. Larger kitchen areas can handle the boldness of black or silver stainless steel. For those who want to liven up the kitchen with a vibrant color theme, carrying it out in smaller, less expensive appliances is highly recommended. When a fad color loses its appeal, it is much easier to buy a new toaster or can opener, than a stove or refrigerator.

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