Designers Discuss Age Demographics

"Our target market is clients who are 55 to 65 years old. Our next largest market is 40-something-year-olds.

We don’t necessarily market differently to each group, however, we do design differently for each since they usually want different things, which are identified when we do our design surveys. For the older age group, it’s usually more about ease of maintenance. They are at a point in their lives where they want to simplify and get rid of things. They want less clutter and they’ll only hold on to items that are meaningful.

The younger age group – the 40-year-olds – has a different mentality. Most of them still have kids at home, or have kids that are getting ready to leave the nest. They hold onto their possessions and they’re still acquiring and accumulating them. As such, they are more concerned about having adequate storage.”

Chris Berry, member ASID

brooksBerry & Associates, St. Louis, MO


"My primary clientele is between 40 and 60 years old. Within that age group, I do design differently for clients at each end of the spectrum. For example, for a family with younger kids I try to be conscientious of incorporating design elements such as plenty of island seating so kids can use their laptops in the kitchen. I also try to make sure appliances such as microwaves are easily accessible so younger family members can safely use them. At this year’s KBIS, I attended a seminar about designing spaces for elderly people, especially those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I learned more about the importance of color and surface selections as well as lighting.

I also encourage clients of any age to consider incorporating aging in place and Universal Design elements, especially if they plan to be in their homes for a while. I have a lot of active clients of all ages who play tennis, snow ski, etc. who can be injured by participating in these activities. I want my clients to be accommodated in their spaces, even if it’s for a temporary situation.”

Karen Kassen, CMKBD, Allied ASID

Kitchens Unlimited, Memphis, TN


"Our typical clientele tends to be about 35 to 55 years old. Although age does factor in greatly, it seems with our customers’ tastes we are usually creating an amalgamation of their wants/needs while considering what would be architecturally correct for the house. As far as the requirements for varied ages, form, function and aesthetics seem to carry through to clients of all ages. Most people just want their dream kitchen to look great and be a great place to cook and socialize in.

As far as marketing, usually by the time a client makes it to our Web site or offices, they know they want a designer. And after educating them as to our unique approach to design/renovation, they’re usually eager to retain our services.”

Joyce Baker, CKD

Keen Design Group, Rochester, NY


"When I started as a designer, my jobs concentrated on single, young professionals who were designing their first condo or co-op. But that market has disappeared because housing prices have gone through the roof.

Now, I find myself doing more work for families who have been in their apartments for a long time. Their needs have changed [since they first moved into their residence] and/or their finances have caught up to the point where they can make the improvements they want. I am currently working on a job where the clients have been in their apartment since the early 1990s. They have kids in their early teenage years, and their needs and style are different from when they first moved in. Another client is a 64-year-old single man, while yet another client couple are recent retirees who moved from a brownstone where they had raised their family and lived for 32 years. Designing is more about appealing to a fantasy that a person has, no matter their age, than matching that to how they want to live.”

Jeff Blum, principal

Sixzero6 Design, Brooklyn, NY


"My typical clients are in their 50s, but I also have clients who are 30-something-year-old busy professionals. I recently changed my marketing to include more digital, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Houzz. I also still conduct seminars because I believe it comes back to face-to-face communication.

As far as designing for demographics, I do find some differences. My older clients tend to be more comfortable in their own skin and are less concerned about what everyone else is doing. But I also find there is a lot of overlap, regardless of age. All of my clients seem to appreciate the value of my expertise as a designer and the knowledge that I bring to a project.

I also think it’s important to address Universal Design and aging in place to my clients of all ages. I refer to it as ‘ergonomics and safety for all’ because I believe everyone should enjoy the benefits of grab bars, non-glare surfaces, etc. I believe it’s more about adapting to a client’s situation rather than strictly about a person’s age.”

Rhonda Knoche, CMKBD, CAPS

Rhonda Knoche Design, Portland, OR