Multigenerational Kitchens

To understand the design elements Baby Boomers and Generations X and Y want or need in their kitchens, Masco Cabinetry, Taylor, Mich., completed its GenShift 2011 study. The online survey was conducted between Feb. 28 and March 2 by Harris Interactive, New York. Respondents were 1,027 U.S. adult homeowners aged 18 to 65.

Based on the survey, it’s believed that building and design professionals who have a strong understanding of solutions that meet clients’ multigenerational needs will be more likely to create kitchens for universal living.

Baby Boomers

According to the study, 63 percent of Baby Boomers plan to stay in their current home for the next five to 10 years. The survey also discovered 75 percent of Boomers don’t feel their current kitchen layout is designed for their living needs. Consider the following:

  • Transitioning from a 42-inch bar-height table to a 28- or 30-inch table is easier for this generation. Because Boomers frequently use their kitchens for entertaining, a standard-height table near or connected to an island is ideal.
  • Eighty-seven percent are interested in a semi- or completely open floor plan. Wider walkways or paths throughout the kitchen and adjacent rooms provide easier mobility.
  • Storage options must be easy to reach and well organized. Pullout storage options are ideal.
  • Boomers prefer clean lines, some color and/or texture, but nothing too loud or dramatic.

Generation X

Born roughly between 1966 and 1978, members of Generation X rely on friends for advice more than anyone or anything (the Internet). Nearly half (49 percent) of Gen X homeowners said they plan to stay in their current home the next five to 10 years.

The following design considerations can ease their fast-paced lifestyle:

  • A computer near the kitchen allows them to cook dinner, answer homework questions and read the latest update from their social-media accounts.
  • A taller, bar-height table lets a friend sit and chat or a kid grab a snack and work on homework.
  • Those without children are interested in an entertainment space adjacent to the kitchen.
  • Sixty-eight percent said a creative place for hiding small appliances was top on their list. This demographic prefers uncluttered spaces.
  • Thirty-nine percent favor open floor plans. They also prefer peninsula or galley configurations; flexible pantry storage; and other options, such as two sinks.

Generation Y

Members of Generation Y were born between 1979 and 2002 and consist of 87 million young consumers. Gen Y looks to third parties on the Internet for advice and the lowest price for getting what they want—now.

  • In addition to enjoying an open kitchen layout, the Gen Y kitchen needs to meet young child needs, like highchairs, and adult needs, such as an entertainment area.
  • Pullout drawers, providing easy access to snacks, pet food and prepared items are appreciated.
  • Forty-five percent indicate a place for spices is a top-three kitchen extra.
  • Aesthetics should include clean lines, less detail and easy-to-clean surfaces.

To view the complete study and other related materials, visit