Barbenheimer’s Coming for Your Kitchen Appliances

a kitchen with a fireplace
Barbenheiner’s Coming for Your Appliances Nicole Franzen / Stephan Julliard

"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."

In the beginning, there was the white kitchen. Minimalist and monochrome, its color palette—or lack thereof—made a timeless, foolproof backdrop for day-to-day sautéing and braising. The countertops were subtle, thinly veined quartzite; the faucets and refrigerators were stainless steel.

No more. In 2024, the kitchen is going full-blown Technicolor. Gone are subtle color palettes like duck egg and deep green; in their place, homeowners and kitchen designers alike are favoring palettes—and ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers to match—like black or pink; moody versus bright.

Kitchen appliances, to borrow a pop culture reference, are going full-blown Barbenheimer.

“I stayed true to classic white kitchens for a very long time,” admits interior designer and ELLE DECOR A-Lister Ghislaine Viñas. “I’m now entering a period of exploration.”

lancome pink house
a pink oven range with a colorful background
Viking unveiled a new color palette, with eye-popping hues like this Barbie-adjacent fuchsia range in the shade Valentine. Courtesy of Middleby Residential

You can’t say we didn’t see this coming. Last August, Sherwin-Williams debuted its annual Colormix Forecast, a trend report that, for 2024, targeted blacks and pinks, citing how palettes are becoming part of our “global turmoil” and “dualistic conversation,” as noted by color marketing director Sue Wadden.

Pinterest, for its part, predicted the rise of the so-called kitschen—a cooking space doused in retro colors and cutesy flourishes. The terms "kitschy kitchen" is up 75 percent on search, "retro pink kitchens" is up 40 percent, and "eccentric kitchen" is up a whopping 160 percent.

But it was at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), in Las Vegas last month, where the extent of the trend was extra apparent. Subtlety was swapped out for paradox; a truth especially evident at Viking’s eye-popping booth. The appliance brand debuted a new color palette, which included some tried-and-true neutrals but that also went all in on big color. Valentine, for instance, a fuchsia hue, felt ripped straight from Barbie’s Dream House. Kitchen designer Matthew Quinn set these larger-than-life colorways against Lichtenstein-esque backdrops in his scheme for Viking’s booth. “If there’s one constant, it’s that clients are expressing themselves rather than following trends created by others,” he tells ELLE DECOR.

a kitchen has black lower cabinets topped with white veined black marble and upper cabinets with glass fronts showing glassware and dishes, stainless steel sink, and planked oak flooring
a kitchen with black cabinets
Bertazzoni extended its matte black finish, Carbonio, to its full product suite, so you can get the look in everything from ovens and ranges to dishwashers and hoods.Courtesy of Bertazzoni

Still, if last year taught us anything, it’s that for every bubblegum-pink Barbie mood board, there’s a gritty, dark Oppenheimer variant to tip the scales. Nowhere was the latter more apparent than at Bertazzoni’s showcase, which saw its Carbonio finish—introduced last year for induction and ventilation—expanded across the full product suite into dishwashers, refrigerators, and more. The brand’s continued investment in the dark side of appliance colors is a sure sign that it’s not going anywhere; something Miele hinted at too by bringing matte black to its built-in appliances, specifically the sleek Artline ovens and microwaves.

Of course, as was the case for Barbenheimer, these aesthetic ideas of glossy pink and matte black are better together. “Black is such a grounding color for appliances,” says interior designer Isabel Ladd. “I like for the eye to travel within a space instead of just landing in one jolting, attention-grabbing piece and sitting there.”

Looking for a test case? Ladd curated a KBIS vignette—dubbed, aptly, Daring Drama—that incorporates just about all of the above, from black ovens to emerald green wallpapers via Harlequin, and pastel blue and warm red tones courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

le whit chelsea apartment
three kitchen ranges
Following its emerald green range last year, Café Appliances debuted a new line of colors: Breeze, Chartreuse, and Poppy.Cafe Appliances

So if high contrast and all-or-nothing color is in, what’s in the rearview? “I have three clients who asked me for colorful appliances days after they saw my KBIS space,” says Ladd. “They changed their original selections, which were stainless steel.”

Indeed, in a land of dark blacks and bright pastels, there’s little room for the chromed-out kitchens of yesteryear, a former go-to, according to ELLE DECOR A-List designer Ghislaine Viñas, who cites a “notable shift” toward darker appliances. What’s really out of style, though, is something that clients clamored for not too long ago: “White kitchens are becoming fewer and far between,” says Quinn.

Now unabashed self-expression has come to the fore, fueled by a pop culture phenomenon that generated billions at the box office. “It’s not just about functionality. It’s about making a statement and turning the kitchen into a canvas,” says Anne Puricelli, executive vice president of Viking’s parent company, Middleby Residential. “Color is powerful.”

You Might Also Like