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We bought new appliances, and they aren’t stainless

It started when our oven died last month. No worries, we thought, we’ll just replace it. It’s old anyway. While we’re at it, we figured we might as well replace our ancient microwave and get matching appliances. At the time, we had a black circa 1989 microwave and a white oven that I’m guessing was about 10 years old.

Unlike most people these days, our first thought was not stainless. Let me tell you a little something about stainless appliances. I do not understand the appeal. In my opinion, they give a kitchen a cold, institutional look. But more than that, getting stainless is usually more expensive than getting other finishes and stainless is harder to maintain, which I consider a huge downside, especially with a toddler in the house.

The other thing that bothers me about stainless is that it has become so pervasive in new kitchens. In the last 6 years, we’ve looked at probably at least 100 homes that we were considering renting or buying. Of the ones that had been remodeled recently, I can only think of one that did not have any stainless appliances (and that was the first house we bought, by the way). Time and time again, an updated kitchen meant stainless appliances and granite countertops. After a while, it gets so boring.

So for us, stainless was out. Neither of us liked white, and because we had recently painted our cabinets, transforming them from a lovely pinkish hue (remember when that was in?) to a dark chocolate brown, we didn’t think black looked very well with them (and because we had bisque (or should I say almond?), white and black appliances in our kitchen, it was easy to tell what didn’t work). Our best option was bisque. I know, I know. Bisque is so 1980s. But the thing is, I actually like bisque — it’s warm, inviting, even unique these days and it looks good with our cabinets.

So we ordered a bisque Kenmore range. When it arrived, though, I had to do a double-take. This was not the warm, creamy color I had envisioned. Oh, no. This was not at all like the bisque Kenmore refrigerators I had seen at the store. It was white. Maybe, if you squinted, you could tell it was barely off-white, but it certainly was not what I was hoping for.

And so, we decided to return it and get a different brand. We cancelled the matching microwave we had ordered to go with our new range and picked out a Whirlpool microwave and range. We picked up the microwave from the store and it was pretty close to the color I wanted. Definitely a bisque at least. So we installed it and waited for our new oven to be delivered. Since bisque is not very popular these days to say the least, it proved to be a long wait. In the meantime, we used the Kenmore oven without complaint.

And then, our Whirlpool dishwasher, which had just been replaced a year ago, died as well. We faced a dilemma — should we choose another Whirlpool and hope it doesn’t suffer the same fate or should we go with another brand and risk mismatched colors? We ended up deciding on a Kenmore because it was the nicest bisque dishwasher we could find (a good dishwasher is pretty close to a necessity in our household). When it arrived, its hue was somewhere between the new microwave and the Kenmore dishwasher, but I figured that since it was in another part of the kitchen, it didn’t matter that much. And I have to say, while it’s not the exact color I wanted, it is super-quiet and washes dishes wonderfully, so I was willing to sacrifice on the color a little to have the performance I wanted.

So there we were, with three different shades of bisque from two different manufacturers, but we were content with the performance of all of them. The microwave was better than the old one (although it has a few quirks), the oven was better (although it has a few quirks, too) and the dishwasher was dreamy (if a dishwasher can be such a thing). You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Whirlpool "bisque" appliances

Not only are our Whirlpool appliances different colors, they can't get the time straight either!

On Wednesday, our new Whirlpool oven arrived. Mind you, I had chosen this oven based on the belief that it would match our new bisque Whirlpool microwave. It did not. It is slightly off-white, I suppose, if you look at it at just the right angle. But it does not match the microwave, and it is not the color I had envisioned at all. At this point, in retrospect, I should have just stopped the delivery men and kept the Kenmore oven. But I didn’t. I thought at least the oven and microwave were from the same manufacturer and I didn’t really expect there would be that much difference between the two ovens since they were basically the same price and had the same features. I was wrong. There is a big difference between the two ovens. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say that I do not like our new oven.

Today, we went to Sears to talk to them about returning the oven. We didn’t get a clear answer on that, since we had ordered the Kenmore online originally, but the saleswoman told me that all bisque ovens are lighter in color than other appliances because of the glass. Gee, that’s something I wish someone had told me before I ran out and bought all these new appliances. But, more devastating, she told me that they are discontinuing bisque altogether. Since our fridge is on its last legs as well, that means we’ll need to get a new fridge while bisque is still available or have a fridge that doesn’t quite match. And our kitchen will most definitely be dated.

I’m bummed, a little angry and confused. I wish manufacturers would put more thought into their product lines. Surely, there must be some way for them to make a bisque oven that actually matches its microwave counterpart. So, why don’t they? And no wonder bisque has gone out of style. It’s what I really wanted for my kitchen, but if I had to do it all over again, I would’ve just gotten stainless like everyone else so I could spend my days endlessly wiping fingerprints and water spots off of my appliances.

I think the other thing that irritates me about this situation is that my options are so limited. I’m not calling for a return to the avocado-colored kitchen appliances of the 60s, but I don’t understand why the only appliances that come in a variety of colors are washing machines and dryers. Is it because when people sell their homes, they usually take their washer and dryer but leave their kitchen appliances behind? Are we all sheep who must buy stainless or be banished to the ranks of the styleless forever? I guess I’m weird, but I actually think pale yellow or sage green or chocolate brown kitchen appliances would look awesome. I could even see a bold red or blue looking really cool in the right kitchen. Why does it all have to be so boring?

What color appliances do you have in your kitchen? Do you love them?

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40 Responses to We bought new appliances, and they aren’t stainless

  1. The color appliance in the 80′s was called almond. Bisque replaced almond in 2000 something. I have almond appliances and really like the neutral color. Bisque is much closer to white. I desperately need a new stove but hate the thought of mismatched appliances so I have been putting it off. I had thought of almond as a pretty standard color – alas I was wrong.

    • Thanks for clarifying that. I don’t think they make any appliances in almond any longer. It’s too bad. We have 3 different bisque appliances and they are all different shades, some darker than others.

    • I have GE appliances both a microwave and a gas range with the same color of bisque. My dishwasher also matched but it recently died. I just bought a Maytag today with stainless inside from Home Depot. It is in Bisque also. I am in total agreement. Bisque is nice and other colors offered would be great too…there are few choices and most are boring. I say bring back some retro colors…why not have a little fun?

  2. Right now I have four different bisque appliances – Amana (refrigerator), Maytag (dishwasher), and GE (stove and microwave) and I really can’t see any difference in color between them – they’re scattered about my kitchen. I bought the stove and microwave this year and asked the salesman about the availability of bisque because I’m worried too. He told me that although it’s not a huge seller nationwide, it’s still very popular in certain pockets of the country so it will never go away totally. But, he told me to expect that bisque would only be available at the high end price-wise.

  3. I am sorry to hear you had such a hard time finding the right color of bisque. In June of 2011, I did my kitchen with white Thomasville cabinets, and all bisque appliances. The appliances match perfectly. I found the fridge, a Whirlpool Gold brand; GE Profile wall oven; GE Profile microwave at Sears Outlet; and the GE Profile dishwasher online at Sears. I chose bisque because I had stainless steel as far back as 20+ years ago. I changed to all black appliances in my last two homes. Out of the four kitchens I have done, this is the show stopper. Everyone loves it, and they all admit that they would have never gone with bisque. So, go with what you love, and like me try not do what everyone else is doing. After all, I was way ahead of my time with the stainless steel, and everyone loved that too!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Laurie! I’m sure your kitchen is gorgeous. I wish we had had the same success in finding matching bisques.

      • Your comment caught my attention. I have bisque appliances (fairly new) and pecan cabinets. I have been wanting to paint them a white, but wondered how it would look. Would you share with me the shade of white you chose? thank you,

  4. I too like bisque. And think stainless is way too cold and sterile. Plus, I don’t know anyone who has stainless that can maintain the fingerprints. Even my neatfreak friend..

    • Exactly! That’s one of my pet peeves with stainless. And as a busy mom with young kids, the last thing I want to be concerned about is wiping fingerprints off of my appliances all the time.

  5. I am just now reading these posts — feb 2013. I love reading that other folks feel exactly the way I do about stainless appliances. I hate the cold, sterile look. However, I am just not a gray-person. I like warm colors and like kitchens in warm colors. I don’t like the mix of stainless steel/gray feel with warm feel of floors/cabinets. My 40-plus year old cabinets have been pained off-white and I have bisque appliances. they are different brands and not exactly the same color,, so when choosing paint for cabinets I brought home about 100 samples from several different stores of cream, ecru, off-white, almond, etc., etc., and then matched them up against all appliances and at different times of day, with valance closed/open, etc. to find the color that blended the best with all. My next goal is to get some sort of solid surface countertop with shades of browns/beiges to add some contrast. The floors are a darker beigish/blended shades tile. I think I will like it when done — I like warm shades and not cold, institutional shades.

  6. hello. I am getting a kitchen remodel with offwhite cabs, I too love bisque, but even the remodler made a face and said to go with stainless steel stove and micro and dishwasher, my fridge is a older kenmore bisque, Im so torn, I keep going back and forth, and i dont like stainless steel, and the black in the stainles steel, I want a country cottage looking kitchen, came here to get some advice, my house is mostly country/ shabby chic. Is there any brand that makes a bisque in a lighter shade? I know all the manufactures have different tones, does anyone know who makes the lightest tone? more like an off white instead of a beigh color? thanks

    • I’m not sure who does, but our Kenmore Elite dishwasher appears to me to be a lighter shade than our Whirlpool microwave. I think part of that may have to do with the amount of light they receive, though. Have you gone to a store to compare shades?

  7. hi, I couldnt find any bisque at home depot, sales person looked at me like i was crazy when I asked if they had it. I really dont like the stainless steel, and all my friends and kids are telling me to get stainless steal :( the bisque looks so much prettier in My opinion. Im going to look in sears tomorrow so i can compare :) We get our remodel soon, Maybe I should go with a greyish white and get white appliances? I really have my heart set on the cream colored cabs. I have been trying to google a picture with off white cabs and bisque and cant find one? So glad I found this chat room, I was starting to wonder if I was the only one who liked bisque lol

    • check out the website for Home Depot they do have bisque, I bought a bisque Maytag dishwasher today its great can’t wait for delivery and the price was excellent

  8. Hi,So happy I found this post! Redoing my kitchen in a townhouse, (small and a bit dark) so opted to go for off white cabinets. (wood will be too dark), have older almond/bisque D.W and fridge, will have to replace stove and MW. Hate stainless steel and didn’t like granite either for the longest time. Am frustrated also with the limited choice of colors and “the look” you get from family, friends retailers,kitchenguys etc. if you mention bisque!Just found out today that they do still make bisque appliances (GE)or there are places that match/paint colors, which I am a little hesitant about (quality) Anyone has experience with that? I could go for a granite wavy look (brownish) with my bisgue and cream colored cabinets, appliances and wood floors. Still thinking about butcherblock countertops also,allthough not very practical, unless you go for laminate, like Wilsonart. But laminate is another big no-no apparently. decisions decisions…Any views on that? I am tired of the same kitchen , wherever you go in America these days…

    • There are still several manufacturers that make bisque appliances, including Whirlpool and Kenmore. I don’t have any experience with matching appliance colors. We have had both butcher block and laminate countertops, and I definitely prefer butcher block. It does require more care than laminate, but I think they look much nicer. Good luck with your kitchen!

    • To the realtor: Fingerprint-attracting stainless appliances and radon-emitting granite countertops are in now, but you can’t guarantee they will be a few years from now. I sense rebellion brewing in the market. Personally, I’d like to start a movement to bring back almond-colored applicances.

      My advice to folks: It’s your home, not an investment. Make it the way you want.

      • I loved our almond appliances from Whirlpool, but they were 23 years old when we were forced to get new countertops installed. NOT granite! Anyhow, the only options we found were white, black and stainless. We went with stainless and regret it. Not only do we regret the stainless, but we regret the ceramic top stove. We’ve decided to put these appliances in a rental property and look again. Harder, longer and slate is catching my eye. I would rather have almond again, but it’s not available in what we want in a gas stove, etc. Stainless appliance need to GO!

  9. Quintin J. Higgins

    I am going to start a Facebook page “Bring back bisque appliances”. I own a restaurant and work with stainless all the time. When I get home it’s the last thing I want to see. I have bisque in my house and love them. They maintain the warm feeling of my blond oak cabinets and neutral paint colors along with the earth tones in my granite countertops.

    • Sign me up! Bisque=warm, inviting. Stainless= cold, institutional.

    • I also am looking for a bisque stove–went to Sear’s today (5th trip) looking at stoves. I do not want stainless either, still love bisque. There is little to choose from. Hopefully my other (bisque) appliances will hold up for a while, as I am concerned that in the future this color may not be available at all.

  10. I’ve had GE Profile ALMOND appliances in my kitchen – my home was built in 2006. I’ve never had to replace anything except the refrigerator has been fixed several times. I went to Sears to see if they can replace my frig with a newer GE Model but to my dismay they are not carrying the Almond color anymore – just one or two “Bisque” and, yes, the color looks white! They need to bring the Almond color back – I love it!

  11. Totally agree with this thread. I was planning to go with white (stainless steel looks okay in some kitchens I still dislike it for all the above reasons) but just bought a gorgeous 1920s buffet to use as “kitchen furniture, in my shabby chic kitchen and every time I walk in I am shocked by how beautiful the wood (it’s oak but finished in a walnut stain with a bit of red, almost mahogany tint) looks with the almond fridge I was planning to throw out! Sadly, the stove MUST go so I searched the local second hand stores today and found four almond stoves. One was beautiful but, oh dear, it isn’t self-cleaning. Still, I had a self-cleaning oven back in the day so I know they are out there. Wish me luck and the same to all of you.

  12. I have to post a comment on this topic. I am a realtor and a licensed designer and I have to warn you if you intend to sell your home in the next few years, do not buy bisque appliances. You will end up losing money from an offer. I have never, ever had a client say ” Oh I just love bisque appliances”. Stainless is the ONLY finish that is acceptable/requested unless a frig is custom and has cabinet panels on it.

    Maybe all of you live in small towns in the Midwest and maybe people there like that but here in Florida, bisque appliances would be a deal breaker here.

    • Thanks, Jenny. I live in Virginia, not the Midwest, but I wouldn’t think bisque appliances would exactly be a deal breaker here. I know stainless is the preferred (heaven knows why, since it shows marks and dents so easily), but none of the homes we’ve bought had stainless appliances. Appliances are relatively easy to replace. We live in a great location and I think that’s a far bigger factor when people are looking at homes.

    • I am commenting a year after your last post to this thread. I have light hardwood floors and light wood cabinets (someone said blond – that might describe this). I have granite counter tops. I live in a small condo that I bought several years ago. The range, microwave, fridge, and dishwasher are all stainless. I thought it looked nice when I bought the place, but now I am wanting a warmer look in my kitchen. I pained my walls a light yellow “banana cream”, but it is impossible to get the warm spacy look with the stainless steel appliences. I really want sometning different and I am so disappointed in the colors available. I am probably going with bisque, but I hope I can find matching colors. It sounds like GE might be good. Thanks for the posts!

    • IMHO, real estate agents are part of the problem here. I’m not refurbishing my kitchen for some future buyer, I’m doing it for *me*. The idea that the primary consideration should be what some unknown buyer might want is unreasonable. Who knows what will be popular whenever I might want to sell my house anyway?

      I’m redoing my 1950s kitchen right now and want a “retro” look. I special ordered a Kohler sink in almond (who knew almond would be a special order item) and bought a bisque dishwasher from Sears to go with my existing almond appliances. The cabinets have being refurbished to their original very light cherry color and everything looks great together — especially with the newly polished solid copper window frame and other copper accents that were original to the house.

      There is no way a real estate agent’s preference for stainless would have influenced my choices.

      FYI, I’m also re-papering the walls rather than going with plain painted walls.

  13. Thank goodness there are so many others who also are not SS lovers. Never understood the craze. SS is cold and to me, unless you are into the modern industrial kitchen design, SS looks rather out of place. Will be listing my home soon and would like to replace the old appliances, but can’t bring myself to purchase SS. Think I will offer a kitchen credit and let the new owners buy what they want. Granite is not a favorite of mine either. First of all, some granite is known to emit radon. Plus, if you are a real cook, why on earth would you ever want granite when you can use ever-forgiving Corian? Was excited about the bronze colored appliances at first, but when I saw them in the showroom, they appeared cheap-looking. And they were not cheap. I too, wish manufacturers would be a tad more creative and provide some handsome and neutral colors for use in the kitchen.

  14. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and yes everyone here remodels their kitchens with stainless steel and granite. At least in the 60′s and 70′s you had 2 – 3 color choices. I remember my mother cleaning the stainless steel sink with SOS pads. In the 70′s she actually found someone to paint her stovetop harvest gold to match her other appliances. I didn’t own a home until ’86. Almond color time. Dishwasher broke in 2000. I’d had the sink replaced in bisque and bought a Bosch dishwasher in bisque. I still have the original fridge and oven. Unfortunately I agree with the realtor but I’m not planning on selling and hope to find the real bisque.

  15. I am moving and where I am moving too has a white stove and a bisque refrigerator. No MW but I will get one and the dishwasher is on it’s last legs too. The stove is an old electric coil burner stove and I have to replace it. When I saw the fridge I had to say that I really like the bisque color. I found a great stove in bisque that will work but the sales rep did try to talk me out of it. I am still up in the air because I hate the fingerprints that show up on stainless still. Wish I could make a decision but all of your comments were really helpful. Thanks!

  16. Just coming late to this site and could not agree more with the sentiments. I do not like stainless, either. It drives me crazy when I watch the shows on HGTV and people shopping for a house will walk into a perfectly nice kitchen with newer black, bisque or white appliances and maybe solid surface countertops, and say, “this has to all be gutted, I have to have my stainless steel and granite!” And why in 2014 do we have so few color choices in appliances? After a major electrical problem this week, I have to replace my refrigerator and wall oven. I too loved almond appliances and was so disappointed when they changed the color to bisque. Now that is being discontinued. I have a bisque fridge, almond cooktop, black dishwasher and black wall over. It doesn’t look bad because of their placement around the room. And I was planning on painting our old maple cabinets a cream color. Now, I am at a loss as to what color appliances to get. I really want bisque but am having trouble finding the right color in the right size in the right price. I hope that manufacturers are reading these posts. And I live in NJ, btw.

  17. Very interesting read though I see I am very late to this conversation. My dilemma right now is that we have ivory colored cabinets (new) which blend well with the bisque dishwasher and fridge but desperately need a new range Induction appears to be finally coming down in price and after researching I think it’s the better option for me…but only stainless is available. :) Torn between getting a bisque radiant range or stainless induction. Won’t be selling the house in our lifetime so I am leaning towards the induction/stainless. No way would I want all stainless as I to think it looks cold and don’t like how it breaks up the creamy flow of bisque/ivory cabinets. I also agree, years from now people will look back on this time as the era of stainless appliances and speckled brownish or solid black granite countertops…so boring.

  18. I, too, feel stainless is cold and institutional looking, along with granite countertops. Everyone is opposed to cookie-cutter homes, yet everyone goes with a cookie-cutter kitchen: stainless and granite. Come on, people, show some individuality and imagination! I have bisque appliances (GE Spacesaver micro; GE Whirlpool d/w; Amana frig) and LOVE them. The color is so warm and a great contrast with my cabinets. Anyway, I’ll be really bummed if I can’t get bisque replacements when the time comes. P.S. I live in AZ.

  19. I hate stanless steel. I want almond or bisqe in my kitchen. I have the money to buy all my appliances saved and I just can not bring myself to buy stanless steel. Sorry to say this, but what man thought women would want stanless steel in the kitchen? My kitchen is not a garage, or an industrial kitchen, or a fast food joint. I just want pleasant almond or bisque appliances that all match. I sure do not want black either. What the heck is wrong with Kenmore, Fridgedare, Whirlpool. They need to hire a women for their designs. I guess I will keep what I have until I can not repair them as I am not going to part with $3500 for appliances that I do not like. rrrrrrrrrr

  20. I have to disagree with one of your commenters that any finish other than stainless would kill the sale of a home. I hate stainless. I work with it all day long and when we went to sell our home, we were told to upgrade our white frig and stove to stainless to help sell it faster. Well, for me that was 6 months of hell. I was constantly wiping the darned things down…I mean constantly, and they were supposed to be smudge proof. Yeah, sure.
    We are building our hew home. Guess what color my appliances will be. White. I love it. I cannot wait to go back to what works. I’ve had almond appliances as well and I never complained about the color either.
    I told my realtor that I wanted to kill him if he didn’t sell my house as fast as possible because of cleaning that stainless crap. It didn’t help sell the house as the new owner removed both the new frig and stove and installed, you guessed it, white appliances.

  21. Good news for all of us bisque lovers. In 2012 my kitchen was remodeled from dark pine cabinets to off white. Bright and open is my preference! Ditched the three different colored appliances and got bisque – GE, Maytag. Now the GE oven needs replacement. I found 2 bisque at Sears. Under $1000. I guess I’ll deal with the next problem of what to do about the frig or dishwasher when I cross that bridge. I’ve spray painted appliance in the past – maybe that’s the way to go? buy white and spray it.
    LOL good luck friends. AM

  22. I came across this site when I googled trying to find out others’ experiences with whether different brands’ “bisque” was similar or not. Had to replace my water-leaking fridge and was thrilled to find one in a lovely shade of bisque. Now I have to think about replacing dishwasher and stove and wondering if it’s better to do it sooner because the color just might not be there in the future. I just have to say it’s refreshing to come across so many independent thinkers. I detest stainless – it is UGLY. And, it usually doesn’t go with what people put it with – cold does NOT go with warm. I love warm, inviting, soft, creamy colors.

  23. Since my last post in 2012 we had our kitchen remodeled. Nothing fancy but it suits us. We went ahead and bought a new bisque stove, microwave and refrigerator. We kept the almond dishwasher because it’s a Bosch and still works great. I was worried the appliances would look obviously different but they really don’t. White would have been too harsh, black sucks the light out of a room and stainless is just plain ugly. I’m glad Sears is still in business since you can still get some decent Kenmore appliances in Bisque.

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