Martha Stewart's stainless steel kitchen is striking – but is it a pain to maintain?

Martha Stewart's stainless steel cabinets make a stylish statement, but what do the logistics of looking after it involve? We investigate

Martha Stewart
(Image credit: Martha Stewart)

Martha Stewart is a trendsetter in the kitchen – from the appliances she uses to the culinary recipes she creates. But what can she teach us about kitchen design? The founder of Martha Stewart Living recently shared a glimpse into her kitchen at home, and while she (probably) intended for us to focus on her holiday decor, her cabinets stole all our attention. 

In the post below (scroll past that fabulous cat to the second, third, and fourth posts on the photo carousel!), Martha documented how she decorated her kitchen for the season, but the abundance of stainless steel in her space was what took center stage. 

In the images, Martha shows the stainless steel cabinetry that make up kitchen. Many of the cabinets appear to conceal appliances, including the oven and dishwasher – creating an almost 'invisible kitchen', a look that is one of the biggest kitchen trends of the year. 

'More decorations! We decorated every room and most of the windows,' Martha writes. Alongside the steel cabinets (and her marble kitchen countertop), the businesswoman showcases her silver-hued Christmas decor, such as the trio of luxe wreaths in her window. She similarly dressed her countertops with mini Christmas trees – before sharing a glimpse into her festive dining room lighting ideas

Martha, herself, is also spotted standing beneath her extensive collection of pans that hang from the ceiling in the center of the room. Their metallic tones complement the cabinets and emphasize the room's distinct look further. 

And while we love the striking look of her kitchen, our second thought was: how easy are they to keep gleaming?  

'Stainless steel is highly durable and can look great in a modern, industrial-style kitchen. However, there's no getting around the fact that it scratches and dulls easily, though these become less obvious over time, and that it can get dirty quickly – and often leave streaks after a clean,' says Lucy Searle, H&G's Global Editor in Chief. 'While careful use will minimize scratching, knowing how to clean stainless steel appliances properly will help you not only get yours clean, but keep them clean, too.'

Martha Stewart

(Image credit: Martha Stewart)

To encourage the shine that a stainless steel deserves, we turned to the experts.

Lucy, who has had a stainless steel kitchen in the past, recommends investing in a professional stainless steel cleaner, such as this one from Amazon, that is designed to clean without residue. 'However, you can simply wash stainless steel with a solution of dish soap and warm water. Just be sure to buff it dry afterwards with a soft cloth to ensure it doesn't leave a film.

'If your home has hard water, you may find limescale a problem on areas that are regularly wet, so you'll need to know how to clean your stainless steel sink carefully, too. It's not just the products – bleach will cause staining, for example – but any grit that's trapped under a plastic bowl will cause scratching, too.'

Joyce French, a cleaning expert at HomeHow agrees that a stainless steel cleaner is the easiest option:

To clean, 'dampen your cloth with mild soap and warm water and give special attention to the areas which attract a lot of fingerprints such as the handles,' she suggests. 'Use professional stainless-steel cleaners and wipe in the direction of the grain and dry to prevent streaking.'

Linda Mason Hunter, author of GREEN CLEAN: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home, available at Amazon, suggests using pantry staples, white vinegar and olive oil, to remove smudges and add a shine. She advises rubbing the smudged steel with oil applied to a soft rag, then applying vinegar with the clean side of the rag to remove the oil. Allow to dry. Linda also warns us to avoid harsh abrasives, scouring powders, and bleach, which can, she says, damage the finish of stainless steel.

'There's no denying that Martha's stainless steel kitchen is high maintenance, but if you're looking to clean your metal backsplash or you have cabinets like Martha's, these methods should keep them looking smarter for longer,' says Lucy Searle. 'However, while I loved the look of my stainless steel kitchen, I wouldn't have one again – the maintenance is just too much to take on.'

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.