With multi-generational living trends on the rise, these kitchen design tips will accommodate every family member’s needs

Parents are moving in with their adult children. College grads are coming home to Mom and Dad. Siblings are moving in with one another after a home foreclosure. Across America, the need for home design that supports multi-generational living is on the rise.

In 2008, an estimated 49 million Americans, or about 16 percent of the total U.S. population, lived in a family household that contained at least two adult generations or a grandparent and at least one other generation, according to the Pew Research Center. And, trends show this will continue.

“Factors such as job losses, home foreclosures and a changing attitude toward multi-generational living have all contributed to the rise,” said Sarah Reep, director of designer relations and education at KraftMaid Cabinetry. “Now families are finding relatives at both ends of the age spectrum living together under one roof.”


As the number of multigenerational homes grows, homeowners will need to adapt to the changing landscape. Reep recommended the following kitchen design elements to create a home designed for all ages:

1. Get creative with lighting. Different tasks and generations require various levels of lighting. A combination of recessed, pendant and under-cabinet lighting provides both aesthetics and functionality. Adding dimmer switches is a way to add even more flexibility.

2. Add a splash of color. While monochromatic color schemes have been popular in recent years, older generations may prefer contrast between countertops and cabinets in order to maximize visual acuity.

3. Vary countertop heights. Lowered counters will create a workspace for small children, wheelchair users and those who prefer to sit while preparing meals. Homeowners can also use the varied heights for different tasks, such as lower counters for kneading dough and higher counters for cutting vegetables.

4. Install the right hardware. Older or smaller hands may have trouble grasping or pulling certain types of cabinetry hardware. Consider larger drawer and cabinet pulls that are easier to grasp and more ergonomically friendly, such as the Tapered Bow Collection from KraftMaid Cabinetry.

5. Keep counters clutter-free. There’s a common theme when it comes to kitchen cabinetry accessories — more storage in a clean design style. Creative storage solutions like a wall appliance garage and pull-out cabinets keep must-have items always within reach.

“Living in a multi-generational home can be a great experience, but it can also be very challenging,” said Reep. “It’s important to take each generation’s ideas and needs into consideration, especially when it comes to home design.”

For more information on how multigenerational living will impact kitchen design, visit www.genshiftkitchen.com.

This article is courtesy of Home Improvement News and Information Center.