“Gen X and Y want clean lines, sleek styling, glass tile in unique shapes and/or colors, glass doors with specialty glass inserts, lighting within cabinets as well as undercabinet lighting, and greater use of LED lighting throughout the kitchen,” says Trish Burgess, CKD, CAPS of the GA-based Kitchen & Bath Concepts of St. Simons, Inc.
Peter Ollestad of the Woodinville, WA-based Strasser Woodenworks, states: “Gen X and Y consumers are looking for a more modern/transitional look with cleaner lines. Colors tend toward darker wood, but white is also quite popular. In addition, this generation will be most likely to expect eco-friendly products, and products made in the U.S.”
“The hottest trends are more contemporary and or transitional looking products,” agrees Boldt, who adds that “using more textures” is a key project element for these clients.
Nicholaus Medley of Studio M concurs that green products are hot with this demographic, noting that, “[These consumers want] products that are made utilizing materials that don’t off gas and that can be recycled when they tire of them.”
While younger consumers do value practical, durable products, they also espouse a love of technology, and often seek out easy solutions for incorporating their techno devices into their spaces.
For instance, according to Ollestad, one of the things that sets Gen X and Y apart from the baby boomers is that they not only want more technology incorporated into their designs right now, but they will likely want designs that provide room for techno additions down the road. He explains, “The younger population will increasingly expect to see more technology built into the vanities. Designated space for hair dryers, flat irons etc., including electrical outlets, will be expected. Eventually, we see this market segment requesting more technology options into vanities and medicine cabinets, [such as] speakers in the vanities/medicine cabinets, connected with Bluetooth technology where the iPhone/iPad can be utilized.”
Swartz agrees that technology matters to this demographic more than any other, explaining, “[We’re seeing more demand for] wiring for sound (iPods) in the kitchen and surrounding rooms.”
When designing a kitchen for Gen X or Y, Burgess likes to include “a perch or snack bar where they can pause to use their electronic devices and still be ‘in on the action’ that is taking place in the kitchen.”
Finally, for those designing for Gen X and Y, it’s important to remember that these consumers often have a sense of whimsy. As Barker notes, “They are more likely to choose a striking feature because it’s fun, like multi-color LED lighting.”