One of the most-watched trends in the homebuilding industry is the increased popularity of aging in place,1 which is when people decide to stay in their homes as they get older. But, another trend on the rise is multigenerational living2. The increase in both of these lifestyles has created a hybrid known as living in place. A survey conducted by The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) identified living in place as a growing design trend that helps provide a better quality of life for all residents, no matter their age or physical ability.
Here's how you can help build and design homes that will allow each generation to live comfortably:
Make Meal Prep Simple
According to the NKBA's study, 61%5 of respondents wanted spaces for easy meal prep, which adds convenience to the everyday lives of any generation. For example:
- Installing a pot filler on the wall above the stove makes it easier for older homeowners who may have trouble lifting large pots of water from the sink to the stove.
- Connected appliances can make meal prep even simpler. With the KitchenAid® Smart Oven+ Combination Oven with Powered Attachments, for instance, young adults who grew up using smartphones can use their devices to remotely monitor and control the oven. Older generations may benefit from the 4.5" full color glass-touch LCD display that allows them to clearly see and select their oven's capabilities, while the SatinGlide™ Roll-Out Extension Rack makes it easier to cook with large or heavy bakeware.
- Shallow kitchen sinks, about 6-8 inches deep, make it easier to rinse fruits and vegetables rather than leaning over a deep basin.
Implement Low Maintenance Materials
The kitchen can get messy when multiple generations are living under the same roof. Low-maintenance materials6 and appliances can help create a durable kitchen that allows homeowners to enjoy the space rather than spend all their time cleaning and maintaining it. Glass cooktops, such as the Whirlpool® 24-inch Compact Electric Ceramic Glass Cooktop, are easy to wipe clean after use while durable, luxury vinyl tile7 provides the look of traditional hardwood while offering an antimicrobial surface - a feature baby boomers are particularly interested in. When it comes to cabinets, consider flat-panel doors8, which tend to collect less dust and dirt, and are simple to wipe down.
About 80%9 of NKBA survey respondents identified minimizing clutter as a critical design need. And with people of all ages spending more time in their homes, maintaining a clean space is more important than ever. Here's some tips for how you can make organization easy through kitchen design:
- The Zera® Food Recycler provides a simple way for all members of the household to limit waste. The appliance reduces food waste by over two-thirds its original volume in less than 24 hours through a fully automated process. Plus, it reduces landfill waste, which is appealing to millennials who are willing to pay more10 for eco-friendly home products.
- Install drawers instead of doors. A large pull out drawer can reveal everything that's inside all at once, alleviating the need for homeowners to bend or kneel to see what's in a cabinet. Opt for drawers wider than 30 inches to store pots and pans.