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Appliances: Stainless Steel vs. White

Let’s say one of your kitchen appliances died. And let’s say – oh, I don’t know! – it’s the fridge. You had to make a decision to not only buy used (again) or buy new, but you’ve also realized that you had the freedom to choose any finish you liked! Stainless! White! Black! (Blue!)

In an attempt to salvage our on-the-fritz, fine-to-look-at but not-so-stellar-working stainless refrigerator, we purchased a replacement magnet strip. When that didn’t work (and we were out $100 on an appliance we only paid $200 for a year ago), we figured we had a few options: Hire a repairman and hope for the best (therefore putting us out an unknown amount of money), scour the classifieds and pick up another used-but-okay-for-now replacement or put on our grown up pants and just buy a new one.

While the last option was the most painful price-wise, we felt it was the smartest decision for the long haul. (And let’s be honest, it took us a few days of waffling just to commit to the idea that funds needed to be allocated towards an unexpected item.) A kitchen makeover is very much in our future, so we completed step 1 (at the very least!) and got a new refrigerator!

white-fridge-01

When it came time to start the hunt (and we needed to move – fast!), I asked Scott, what about white? I’d been noticing white appliances pop up more in a handful of blogs, catalog spreads and the like, and after confirming with you all that white was right, we nixed the idea of stainless and said peace out! to puppy nose smudges once and for all.

Not wanting this to turn into the next Great Fan Debate, we quickly narrowed down our favorite style to french doors with a bottom drawer freezer (it makes so much sense!). But you all know we got stuck somewhere, right?

fridge-options

We store hopped and online shopped for far longer than we’d ever admit, and although our heads began to spin with more ideas of what we liked (a clean finish on the front), what we didn’t like (no exterior water dispensers!) and what our max budget would be (which admittedly got bumped up and up), we landed on 3 finalists. Above, left to right: Whirlpool, Maytag and Samsung; all french door, all around 25 cu ft.

On paper, these guys are damn near identical, however, some had more visible screw holes, some of the bottom freezer drawers felt chintzy (not good when you’re spending this much!) and – as weird as this may seem – some of the wheels were more noticeable. And after a mind numbing game of which is the best? We went with the  Samsung!

white-fridge-003

If we’re going to look at the bright side, this did all go down around the 4th of July holiday which amounted to some pretty great appliance sales. While purchasing a new refrigerator wasn’t the first thing we would’ve hoped to be spending money on, we love it! It’s our first big appliance purchase that’s shiny and new (our condo came stocked with all new appliances, so we had no input), and we liked the matching stove that we have a feeling we’ll be picking up soon (which was also a deciding factor). Tip: We ended up purchasing ours from Best Buy, as they had a 10% cash back in-store incentive (which’ll go towards the stove!).

We christened it with a no holds barred grocery trip, stocking our newly adult purchase with the appropriate adult beverages (among other things, too – come on, now!), but the only downside is our very sad, very out of place kitchen:

white-fridge-004

Below, you can see our old refrigerator on the right (it’s since been moved into the garage), our attempt at choosing a wall color (all have been axed to the chopping block; we need to go a bit darker, don’t you think?), a tiny side table holding our tiny toaster and our one measly wall of cabinets. We have many, many ideas for this space, and although an entire kitchen overhaul may be a bit further down the road, we know a big impact can be made with a few affordable upgrades and some fresh coats of paint.

white-fridge-005

Until then, we invite you to beeline to the fancy fridge and grab yourself a drink. You’d fit right in!

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  • Emily7.23.14 - 7:41 AM

    I love white appliances and am so happy they are making a comeback! I’d say the only thing I’d change about yours would be to make it a counter depth. I just don’t dig giant fridges, but to each their own! Looks great. Can’t wait to see progress on the kitchen.ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.23.14 - 8:36 AM

      We considered the counter depth… Hope we don’t regret that decision?! Eeks.ReplyCancel

      • Jaime7.23.14 - 10:37 AM

        I LOVE that you went white!! I am going to bet you will NOT regret skipping out on counter depth!! We now rent, and our landlord put in a sweet stainless steel, french door, freezer drawer, counter depth fridge, and we previously had (in our condo) a pretty plain, white, standard depth fridge on top,freezer on the bottom and…..I HATE OUR NEW FANCY ONE AND MISS THE OLD ONE! :( You lose SO MUCH space going to counter depth vs standard (its really absurd!!), and I really didn’t mind that the old fridge didn’t sit flush with the counters. I also despise the stainless steel for keeping clean (I have a dog and a toddler…ARGH!!) and the french doors are a real PITA in my opinion (wait until the first time you leave one open and you have to throw all your food out…those door alarms they have are about as loud as a pin drop). Don’t get me wrong, its a beautiful fridge, but man, all these new trendy things are just not for us. At least now we know not to waste our money and when we finally get our own place again we will go with a simple fridge. The manufacturers keep adding all these fancy compartments and drawers etc but everytime one of those things gets added, it takes away from the usable space in the fridge. Just give me 3 straight shelves and my 2 drawers and I am a happy camper! Haha!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarge in Charge7.23.14 - 7:56 AM

    You made the right call with white, in my opinion! Clean, classic, and doesn’t date to a particular era. While stainless has had some longevity and is probably no longer a trend, in a couple of years I do think it will date to a particular decade. I also find stainless much harder to keep clean than white.ReplyCancel

  • emily7.23.14 - 7:59 AM

    Congrats on your purchase!
    We had to unexpectedly buy a new fridge shortly after buying our second house (I went to paint behind the old one and it had rusted to the wall… yuck). Anyway, it was an unexpected expense but it made me so happy. It held so much! It was so much easier to get the milk out! It didn’t freeze my lettuce! I was seriously in love with it for about a year (and then we got our new dishwasher! It is so awesome!!) and now it’s just a fridge. But I understand how an appliance can bring such happiness. :)

    And I also love the white.ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.23.14 - 8:36 AM

      Ha, so funny. We imagine the fridge will become second fiddle once we get the stove, right?ReplyCancel

    • Marie7.23.14 - 8:51 AM

      Wow, I’ve always been impressed by the size of American fridges. Did you managed to fully fill it, the two of you ?
      For fun, I did a little comparison between US and European ones : http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/kitchen/20822/
      http://www.ikea.com/fr/fr/catalog/categories/departments/kitchen/20822/
      Amazing ! :)ReplyCancel

      • Kim7.23.14 - 9:30 AM

        That’s seriously insane. I love the smaller fridges!! LOVE THEM.ReplyCancel

      • thelady7.23.14 - 3:58 PM

        I love smaller appliances but they cost so much in the states. I live alone so a counter dept fridge and 18 in wide dishwasher would have been great in small kitchen.ReplyCancel

      • Tina Goins7.27.17 - 2:12 PM

        Marie, are those true to size fridges?? They are so small!! I live in Michigan and our state is 3rd on the list of overweight states in the entire USA??? So having a bigger fridge is not good for some people but the majority of people that are overweight don’t cook so they tend to not even be able to get up and open the door. I do like them, stunning!!!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle7.23.14 - 8:34 AM

    We bought a similar Samsung french door refrigerator back in ’09 and loved it so much we brought it with us when we moved across country three years later! The storage capacity is amazing! Great choice, promise.ReplyCancel

  • Jaclyn7.23.14 - 8:42 AM

    Fridge looks good! Can’t wait to buy new appliances. Question – where did you buy your island? Or did you build it?
    Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square7.23.14 - 8:51 AM

    We had to replace our fridge as well last winter. We went with stainless and we got side-by-side instead of a bottom freezer. And we have a water dispenser. And it’s counter-depth. So we kind of went the opposite direction as you! But much of our decision making revolved around our own specific kitchen space and the functionality we needed. I think it’s totally dependent on that kind of thing as well as personal preference. You have almost a blank slate since you’ll be renovating your kitchen – nice choice! Sounds like the storage capacity is amazing. :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather7.23.14 - 9:49 AM

    Great choice! I have the same frig in a stainless steel finish. If I had to do it over, I would totally pick the white. Me and that stainless finish have had a few battles already. :) When you are ready for your oven, take a look at the LG 30″ convection oven. I love mine…and the inside it the most brilliant blue!ReplyCancel

  • Monika & Sam7.23.14 - 10:41 AM

    Welcome to the world of adult homeowners where stuff breaks down at the most untimely times and costs way more than you think it should. That said, congrats on the swank new frig. I was one of those pushing the white and you guys smartly went big with the freezer below. Kudos on the acquisition as well as the decision. Good luck with the kitchen rehab. Baby steps, right? :)ReplyCancel

  • Jenn7.23.14 - 1:19 PM

    Those 4th of July sales were amazing–we took advantage of the Lowes/Whirlpool sale and replaced the ancient dishwasher that didn’t work after all (despite what we thought at the inspection) with a pretty, quiet SS number. A new fridge is on the list, too, but not in the immediate future.ReplyCancel

  • I found choosing a new, bigger fridge (after having to live with a tiny one at our condo) to be a lot of fun. The only goof is that we didn’t get a counter-depth model. Doh! That might come back to bite us when we get to the kitchen reno. I keep telling Aaron we can make it work…

    We went with stainless steel to match our over-sized range (which had no options besides stainless and was a MUCH harder decision… and more expensive purchase than the fridge), but white is definitely trending!ReplyCancel

  • ann7.23.14 - 4:27 PM

    I love the white and wish we had purchased one with bottom freezer. The cost of appliances has skyrocketed!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie7.23.14 - 4:43 PM

    I love white appliances too! Everyone says to get stainless steal because they look more expensive. but, white just looks so fresh and clean and bright. Great choice.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn7.23.14 - 8:06 PM

    Although our fridge is stainless, all our other appliances are Whirlpool Ice collection in white. They are featured in House Beautiful magazine. White will soon become the new stainless if companies continue to make them sleek and modern.

    Check ours out in our renovated kitchen @ vintagetovoguerevivals.com!ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.24.14 - 9:29 AM

      Beautiful renovation! And yes, white refrigerators have come a LONG way, thank goodness!ReplyCancel

  • emily @ go haus go7.23.14 - 8:25 PM

    Modern white appliance lovers unite!! Love the look!ReplyCancel

  • Debra7.23.14 - 10:21 PM

    I actually am beginning to loathe my stainless appliances. Good choice on the white.ReplyCancel

  • Trude7.24.14 - 4:14 PM

    Congrats on the big purchase! My roommate and I got a similar one three years ago (I think Whirlpool?) and we love it. So much more storage and super easy to get things in and out (especially with the 2 drawers and divider in the freezer!).ReplyCancel

  • Anna7.25.14 - 2:02 AM

    I’ve run the gamut with appliance colors! Got my first stainless setup (in 1997!) back when stainless was almost exclusively in commercial kitchens. But I quickly got sick of it because of the smudge factor, and soon everyone and their brother had stainless. Next house, I spent a fortune on Viking when they had all these great colors! But then, you guessed it, I got bored of that too. (I have trouble with color commitment.) Sold that house and next put stainless in my two rental properties because dang, stainless still sells! Meanwhile I live quite happily in Japan with my small nondescript WHITE fridge from Muji. True story! Anyway, stainless, white, black, blue, metallic pink – it’s all good, as long as you’re happy and the thing WORKS, right? Can’t wait to see how the rest of your kitchen turns out!ReplyCancel

  • Erin Haslag7.28.14 - 2:11 PM

    Love the white fridge! Our house has a dark kitchen (espresso wood cabinets, black tile blacksplashes, marbled grays for countertops) and the appliances from our builder were all stainless steel … but no fridge! So we, too, had to put on our grown-up pants and spend a week and a few weekends searching for a fridge (sliding by on an almost 10-year old mini fridge while we deliberated). We ended up with the same model you and Scott purchased, but in a stainless steel finish. I love-love-love the bottom freezer and holy space inside! It’s like we’re barely using 50% of the space and we cook from, eat from home for 90% of our meals.

    Next house – NO stainless steel! Between 2 dogs I already feel like a crazy woman trailing around the kitchen removing smudges on the daily!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah1.15.15 - 11:27 AM

    White was the right choice. Although I do love stainless accents, and maybe even stainless small appliances (like my mixer), I LOVE a white kitchen and the look of white appliances. Never have really been on the stainless appliance kick. Good choice!ReplyCancel

  • Zorba6.27.19 - 3:15 PM

    Thank Goddess there’s somebody who has enough sense to just say “NO!” to ugly STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES! We dumped the ugly STAINLESS for black – and went away from the french door idea at the same time. Maybe this horrid fad is starting to die at last?ReplyCancel

  • Jo8.24.19 - 6:02 PM

    I know this is an older blog, but we now have all white appliances and LOVE them!  We actually used to have stainless appliances, which we purchased when we bought our house back in 2008, and I hate, hate, HATED them.  EVERYTHING showed up on them.  Every single tiny little smudge, fingerprint, dog and cat nose prints, etc.  They were damn near impossible to keep clean and I almost immediately regretted buying them.  I swear, the stainless appliances turned me into some sort of crazed, OCD maniac after all of the years I spent trying to keep them clean.  When we remodeled our kitchen a couple of years ago, we sold all of our stainless appliances and bought all new white ones and they look SO much better.  They pop right out next to our caramel colored cabinets.  White is a million times easier to keep clean and I think it just looks classy.  Even when they do get smudged, you don’t see it unless you are right up close to it.  I was surprised to find that white appliances are now actually more expensive than stainless.  We had to replace our dishwasher last fall when the one we had shorted out and died in a power surge and the white KithenAid that we bought was $200 more expensive than the stainless option!  Crazy!  Anyway, I completely agree that white is the way to go.ReplyCancel

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