How did a material once relegated to the cold confines of commercial kitchens become the hottest trend in kitchen decorating? By getting the word out that it is extremely durable, hygienic, and water and heat resistant. Not to mention that it possesses eye grabbing appeal.

First introduced to the residential market ten years ago, stainless steel has gained remarkable popularity in a relatively short period of time. Rarely is a new house complete or a kitchen renovation concluded without the addition of distinctive stainless steel appliances.

The fridge, stove and dishwasher are the most traditional of stainless steel offerings, but recently the surge for steel has resulted in stainless countertops, cabinet faces and backsplashes. Although first depicted as a decorating trend, it is quickly becoming clear that stainless steel is a mainstream style that is here to stay. Some homeowners are hesitant to decorate with the glossy steel for fear it will give off a cold feeling, not suited for a family kitchen. This is hardly the case if the material is mixed and matched with common kitchen materials.

For instance, blending warm traditional kitchen finishes like maple or cherry cabinets with stainless steel will result in a fantastic, unique contrast. Stainless is also versatile enough to be partnered in a kitchen with black, white or bisque appliances. The durability of stainless is another element of great appeal. The material is highly resistant to rust, discolouration and corrosion, easily maintaining its professional appearance for years. Perhaps the only drawback stainless possesses is its tendency to scratch easily, although some find the occasional mark adds character and substance. It also has an inclination to attract fingerprints, which can be a concern if children roam your home.

Fortunately, stainless steel is not a difficult material to maintain.

Cleaning involves a wash down with a mild detergent, a rinse and then a polish with a dry cloth. Of course, before outfitting your kitchen with stainless steel style, be sure you have a proper bulletin board, as the non-magnetic tendencies of stainless make hanging your families' schedules on the fridge next to impossible.

Depending on your perspective, this may be stainless steel's greatest quality of all!