What Do Millennials Want in Their Kitchens? It May Surprise You…
As the first wave of millennials reaches their mid-20s, many choose to settle down and appreciate the benefits of homeownership. As they focus on their first homes, they have specific aspirations for the kitchen, to make it as efficient and functional. This is a hard-working generation – a Manpower survey shows that 73% of millennials work more than 40 hours a week and spend another 10 or more hours working virtually from home. When they renovate the kitchen, often a top priority, they want an updated look that includes plenty of functional improvements to the space.
Here’s what millennials want in their kitchens, and a few of these items may surprise you.
Millennials, especially those in urban areas, tend to prefer smaller homes than their parents. With less square footage overall, they count on every square inch of kitchen cabinet storage and look for creative places to keep the kitchen and other household supplies organized.
This often means an open-concept kitchen with multi-purpose areas for social gatherings, entertainment, and perhaps space to function as a home office. Even before the pandemic lockdown, many millennials telecommuted. With the ongoing reality of remote work, a good space to work productively from home is high on the kitchen remodel list.
Opportunity for Self-expression
Like previous generations of homeowners, many millennials gravitate to a neutral color palette – mostly whites and greys – which they like to accent with bold colors in the cabinets, walls, or other décor. They also look for ways to add personal items that will bring special meaning to the decor.
A Preference for Frameless Cabinets
Lacquer and melamine make ideal cabinet finishes for millennial clients because when used together, the result is a custom look of a smooth-shine that offers the additional benefit of being low-maintenance. The millennial consumer goes for a modern, clean look, and likes to mix in some old with the new for an original style. The smooth, clean lines and fresh look of frameless cabinets make an ideal starting point for millennials to express their personal style in the kitchen.
In a nutshell, this group doesn’t want an elaborate, complicated design – they look for solutions that are easy to clean, high tech, low maintenance, and clutter-free, which often leads to a modern or transitional design choice.
A popular feature for millennial kitchens is a built-in storage island, which appears in 2 of 5 renovated kitchens. 49% of millennial homeowners were likely to install an island vs. 36 % of older homeowners. The island’s storage helps them to stay clutter-free and has plenty of counter workspace.
While homeowners in every generation appreciate the extra storage provided by a walk-in pantry, it is very high on the list for a millennial homebuyer. They want to keep everything clutter-free and tidy, so plenty of storage is a must in their kitchen.
Decorative lighting and functional lighting
Younger homeowners make extensive use of decorative pendant lighting and layer it with under-cabinet lights. Pendant lights are self-contained and affordable and come in various styles and colors that add another dimension to the room’s decor.
Millennials are completely onboard with wifi-enabled smart appliances they can control from their smartphone or another device. They lead tech-driven lives and appreciate the ability to control their home environment, including kitchen appliances, from a distance. When they choose their smart appliances, they tend to go for stainless-steel finishes 64% of the time, according to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) study. Black appliances are the next preferred finish, chosen 22% of the time.
Granite or other natural stone countertops have the edge over other surfaces, preferred by 62 % of millennial customers, according to the NAHB. This look fits right into the narrative of their desire for a clean, contemporary style in the kitchen. Granite earns high marks for its strength, durability, and appearance. These countertops come in various colors – black, white, blue, grey, yellow, gold, green, red, and brown – that nicely complement neutral kitchen cabinets and wall colors. As they require only periodic sealing, granite countertops are very low-maintenance.
Two low-tech must-haves are garbage disposal and trash compactor. Millennials are also more eco-conscious than previous generations and work hard to recycle different forms of trash whenever they can, including food waste, rather than throwing it in the landfill. They welcome dedicated space and storage bins to make recycling as convenient as possible.
Millennial homeowners are practical and cost-conscious. They will dive into a renovation themselves if it saves them money. They favor RTA cabinets and semi-custom stock cabinets to complete their remodeling projects as inexpensively as possible.
While millennials indicate a few stark differences in kitchen design preference than their older counterparts, there are quite a few similarities. Overall, open-concept kitchens that can accommodate friends and family for entertaining at home are becoming a norm for all homeowners.
Visit with a designer today to help you get started on your open concept, smart kitchen.