A kitchen remodel is a big job that incorporates both aesthetics and functionality. After all, a beautiful kitchen is useless if it can’t do what a kitchen needs to do. A major part of the project is the selection of appliances, which come in a dizzying array of colors and range from basic units that cost a few hundred bucks to designer “professional-grade” appliances that cost five figures. Which should you choose? Some designers (and real estate agents) suggest there’s another question you should be asking: Should I buy a matching set of appliances from the same manufacturer?
Let’s examine the possible reasons to do this both from an aesthetic and a functional point of view. You obviously don’t want a complete mish-mash of styles and colors in your kitchen. But just about every kitchen appliance ever made comes in white and black; higher-end models come in stainless steel as well. It should be no problem finding appliances in matching colors even if they all come from different manufacturers. Sure, the handles might look slightly different, and some manufacturers might not have the exact same finish on their stainless steel appliances. If those slight imperfections matter to you, matching is probably the way to go.
However, if your intent is to maximize the resale value of your home, matching kitchen appliances isn’t a serious factor. Buy the appliances that will work for you instead of the ones that might look nice to a prospective future owner (who might tear them out and buy new ones anyway).
There’s no functional reason to buy matching appliances. Unless you’re buying some kind of ultra-high-end kitchen rig with linked computer systems that as far as I can tell hasn’t even been invented yet, your Maytag dishwasher will be perfectly happy chugging along next to your Kenmore oven and your Bosch microwave.
There is, however, a good functional reason not to buy a matching set from a single manufacturer. If you look at consumer ratings for kitchen appliances, you’ll find that a single manufacturer almost never receives top ratings across the board for all their appliances. Instead, you’ll find that one manufacturer makes excellent ranges, but mediocre dishwashers, while another does better with dishwashers but has poorly rated refrigerators. A manufacturer set will invariably leave you with some clunkers in your kitchen for the sake of matching nameplates.
If you’re thinking that buying all your appliances from a single manufacturer sounds like a universally terrible idea, well, that’s mostly true. But there’s an exception for every rule. In this case, that exception comes in the form of rebates. You’ll occasionally find manufacturer rebate programs that give you money back based on the number of appliances you purchase from that manufacturer. For example, as of June 2012, General Electric was offering a $500 gift card if you purchased four GE appliances ($300 if you purchased just three) [source: General Electric]. Local appliance stores may offer similar deals if they’re trying to reduce inventory. It pays to shop around, and if the rebate is large enough ($500 is pretty nice), it may be worth it to go for the matched set even if one of the appliances isn’t the best performer.