Is stainless steel on its way out?

Stainless Steel: Not Out

Don't go junking your stainless steel oven just yet.

"I think stainless will always be in style," says Fitzhugh Karol, noting that material that looks good and works well doesn't exactly grow on trees. Not to mention that stainless steel remains a fixture in restaurants and on cooking television shows. "It often nods to commercial cooking which resonates with some people," Karol says.

In fact, stainless steel continues to be an overwhelmingly popular choice for kitchen designs, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. The material is so routinely used that designers consider steel a neutral tone, which can blend in with other colors in the kitchen while providing a contemporary look [sources: Kitchen Solvers, Dickinson].

That's not to say that the wave of stainless steel won't eventually crest and begin to roll back, however. Those sounding the death knell say it's just a matter of time until a suitable replacement comes along. Already in places like Europe and Israel, kitchen designers have turned to white appliances, often combined with glass surfaces [source: Construction Supply Alliance].

So is white the new stainless steel? As in many debates -- whether about politics, the war on drugs or how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop -- the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. "White appliances can be great too. I see us mixing them in for a certain look," Karol says. "There's room for both."

Thus it appears that reports of stainless steel's death have been exaggerated. Follow the links on the next page for ideas on how to incorporate it into your kitchen.