Appliance colors tell kitchen history

  • Article by: BY ROSEMARY SADEZ FRIEDMANN , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Updated: December 15, 2012 - 2:55 PM

Appliance color can tell the history of the kitchen.

What color is your kitchen? Did you ever wonder about the chronology of colors for appliances? If so, read on.

In the beginning, the kitchen was a simple place consisting of a fireplace or woodstove, a table and chairs -- and little else.

But then came electricity, and that changed everything. Kitchens became the place to cook food, keep it cold, wash the dishes, grill, toast and so on.

The kitchen had always been the place for gathering, a hangout for the family, friends and guests. And because of that, the idea of making it more aesthetically pleasing was a natural evolution.

Color -- an attention-getter -- became important in the kitchen.

Initially, white was it as far as appliances were concerned. But in the 1950s, other colors were introduced -- Stratford Yellow, Sherwood Green, Turquoise Green, Cadet Blue, Woodtone Brown, Petal Pink, Canary Yellow.

By the 1960s, a few new shades were added -- and quickly canceled, too. Charcoal Gray was one of the not-so-well-received colors. Yellow, pink and turquoise were survivors. A new color, called Coppertone, emerged, and was popular until the 1980s. Coppertone and turquoise were on the top of the list of favorite colors for appliances for many years.

Let's go back to the '60s. Turquoise was replaced by avocado and Harvest Gold. Those colors stayed alive into the early 1980s.

Poppy Red appeared in the '70s for a short time, but by the end of the decade, New Naturals -- Harvest Wheat, Onyx Black, Coffee, Fresh Avocado and Almond -- took over and became the colors of that era.

Whites returned in the '80s and '90s. With the new century came a new color. It's not actually a color, but a metallic: stainless steel. Stainless and black are today's appliance finishes of choice. Some say that's because more men are cooking, and it's hard to picture them in a pink kitchen. It seems men can wear pink shirts, but cooking over a pink stove is not appealing.

Slate is the newest color on the scene, but white has remained the most purchased color in kitchen appliances.

Rosemary Sadez Friedman, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of "Mystery of Color."

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