For high-quality undermount sinks, stainless steel is the industry standard, but this durable and attractive material can be deployed inside a home in other ways, and most notably: they can be introduced without making yours look like a commercial kitchen.

The high-end Elam series from Tisettanta is elegant and minimalist – what is particularly engaging (and useful for those looking for new layout ideas) is the contexts they are put into for showroom display and photographs.

The settings for these shots show practical possibilities of pairing steel with softer tones and textured surfaces to keep it from seeming cold and impersonal.

Not everyone has a stone or brick wall handy, though, with which to contrast shiny a stainless counter top, sink or faucet – which is where a bright and/or warm accent color comes in.

Still, even in black-and-white zones it can work as well, assuming one goes in for the traditional Modernist aesthetic or adds some colorful decor to offset the gray.

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Sometimes small doses are part of the solution as well – a modern or traditional setting with sparing amounts of exposed steel can work as well.