Survey Pinpoints New-Home Kitchen Preferences

Survey Pinpoints New-Home Kitchen Preferences

According to the survey, conducted annually by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), new home buyers want larger homes, spacious kitchens and a wide range of interior features such as laundry rooms, high ceilings and work areas in the kitchen. They also want kitchens that are separate from, yet visually open to, adjacent living spaces.

The survey results, contained in a recently published report entitled What 21st Century Home Buyers Want, were based on a poll by the NAHB. The survey involved 
some 1,200 recent and prospective home buyers who had a median age of 44 years and a median household income of $45,500, according to the Washington, 
DC based trade association.

Interestingly, the homes desired by prospective buyers are not 
significantly larger than most of the new homes currently being sold, the NAHB observed. In fact, the median size for new single-family homes sold last year was about 2,070 sq. ft., the trade 
association noted.

Survey respondents were split nearly evenly over the question of whether they would prefer a larger home with fewer amenities or a smaller home with high-quality products and amenities, according to the NAHB. Fifty one percent of the respondents said they'd opt for bigger homes, while 49% noted they'd prefer a smaller home with more high end amenities.

Surveyed home shoppers also sent mixed messages when it came to the question of how much space they'd like their kitchen to occupy. For instance, while home buyers said they clearly desire kitchens that are large, the kitchens typically offered in new homes are apparently large enough that homeowners said they'd be reluctant to expand kitchens further at the expense of other space, the NAHB noted. In fact, only one third of the home shoppers surveyed reported that they'd sacrifice living space for a larger than average kitchen.

The number of bathrooms typically being offered in new homes today is adequate enough for most home buyers, the survey revealed.

Other findings
Continuing a popular trend of the last 10 years, surveyed home shoppers said they prefer kitchens that are adjacent to family rooms with the two rooms visually 
open but separated by a half wall (see Graph 1).

In fact, more than 40% of the survey's respondents said they wanted the kitchen and family room to be adjacent and visually open, but with a half wall separating the two rooms. By comparison, 20% said they prefer a completely open arrrangement, while another 9% prefer a layout with the two rooms side by side, but with a full wall. About 18% said the rooms should be located in completely separate areas of the home, and the remaining 8% noted that they prefer an oversized kitchen and no family room.

Among the survey's other findings were the following:

  • Of nine different materials for counters and kitchen workspaces, most respondents (55%) indicated that a solid surface material was essential or desirable. Cultured marble and laminate were each rated as desirable or essential by about one third of respondents.
  • A linen closet topped the list of desired bathroom features, with 88% of the survey's respondents rating it as essential or desirable. Other features home shoppers said they want included an exhaust fan, a separate shower enclosure, water temperature control, a whirlpool tub, ceramic tile walls and a dressing/makeup area (see Graph 2).
  • White is the color that's "in" for bathrooms with 56% of survey respondents noting they want a white toilet, tub and sink, compared to 32% who said they preferred a color for those fixtures.
  • Laundry rooms (92%) rank on the top of the list of specific additional rooms desired or considered essential in new homes. A dining room was second in demand (79%) followed, in succession, by a home office (58%), a den/library (54%), a sun room (46%), an exercise room (29%) and a media room (28%).

Editor's Note: The results of the survey cited above are available in a report entitled What 21st Century Home Buyers Want, available from the National Association of Home Builders. The report includes data on preferences tabulated by level of income, family type, age of householder, price range and more, according to the trade association. Details can be obtained by contacting the NAHB, at (800) 368-5242, ext. 272, or through