Black is new white in kitchens

Kitchens are going over to the dark side.

Black is replacing white or gray as the go-to choice for trophy kitchens across the country. “Kitchen noir” is also trending on social media sites such as Pinterest and in the portfolios of high-end kitchen designers, where trends often are hatched.

Customers are looking for something their neighbors don’t have yet, designers say. Black kitchens appeal to both men and women. Black custom cabinets are growing in popularity, as are black counters, islands, flooring and wall colors. Designers say that black is moody and romantic and brings drama to the room in the house where everyone likes to hang out.

“My clients are saying they want something different,” says Maria Stapperfenne, a kitchen designer in New Jersey who is president-elect of the National Kitchen &Bath Association. “They want something dramatic and bold. And they don’t want what their mother had.”

“There’s a lot of interest right now in intense, deep tones for kitchens,” says Paul Lobkovich, co-owner of Lobkovich Kitchen Designs in Tysons Corner, Va. “Black is a new neutral. We’re doing a couple of kitchens now that are sort of a gray/brown/black or black with a little eggplant mixed in.”

The 2014 National Kitchen &Bath Style Report asked members whether they had used a black color scheme in at least one kitchen they designed in the past year. Of the respondents to that question, one-third said they did; five years ago it was only 12 percent.

Major appliance manufacturers are taking note. At GE Appliances, designers are working on new finishes for appliances that would blend with the darker finishes becoming popular for kitchen cabinets, countertops and floors.

“Over the past year, we started hearing about black kitchens from high-end designers all over the country,” says Lou Lenzi, GE Appliances director of industrial design.

Although GE has offered a black onyx finish for more than 35 years on stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators, the company is working on something new, probably to debut next year.

“Its going to be a much more sophisticated color in terms of its gloss level and materials,” says Lenzi, who described it as a brushed, textured graphite with a low-gloss finish.

In small appliances, Williams-Sonoma stocks a lot more black than it used to, such as KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixers, Nespresso Inissia compact espresso makers, Philips Viva Digital Air Fryers, KitchenAid Pro Line 4-Slice Toasters and Hurom Slow Juicers.

Although small black appliances blend in with black counters and cabinets, they also work with other finishes.

“Black works well with brushed aluminum stoves, microwaves and refrigerators that are often featured in new high-rise apartments or renovated spaces,” Carrie Crespo-Dixon, director of public relations at Williams-Sonoma, wrote in an email. “Black accents are easy ways people can make a statement without fully committing to one color in their decor.”

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