Generations Cite Their Must-Have Kitchen and Bath Features

Filed in Design, Economics, Trends by on June 29, 2021 6 Comments

Home buyer preferences for kitchen and bath features can vary significantly by generations, according to survey results from NAHB’s recent study, What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition.

For instance, some bath features are significantly more popular among younger buyers. The leading example is dual toilets in the primary bath, a feature rated essential or desirable by 48% of millennials (born 1980 to 1996) and 50% of Gen X (born 1965 to 1979) buyers, but only by 20% of the older group of baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964).

Similarly, while at least half of the younger two generations want to have “his & her” baths, a skylight in the primary bath, and a bidet, the share of boomers interested in these features only ranges from 25-35%.


When it comes to kitchens, younger and older buyers once again exhibit different wants. Millennial and Gen X buyers are more likely to desire certain kitchen features than their boomer counterparts, by a margin of 25 percentage points in some cases.

For example, a steam oven is desirable or essential to 51% of millennials and to 47% of Gen X buyers, but only to 19% of boomers – a 32-point difference between the youngest and oldest buyers.

Likewise, more than 50% of the younger two generations would be positively influenced to purchase a home if the kitchen included a trash compactor, a wine cooler, a central island with range and a double island.

In contrast, the share of boomers who want those features only ranges from 25-37%.

These generational differences for kitchen and bath features are all statistically significant after controlling for a number of other factors, particularly the income and household composition of the buyers.

NAHB Senior Economist Paul Emrath provides more analysis on buyer preferences in these Eye on Housing blog posts regarding kitchens and baths.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Sam Bowles says:

    So by contrast, it would make sense to show what the boomers really want? How this has changed over time? Younger generations want wine coolers and kitchen islands but in place of what?

  2. Boyd Buchanan says:

    Are these actual Millennial and Gen X “buyers”? Dual toilets in the primary bath? “His & her” baths? A steam oven? A kitchen double island? Was the survey among luxury home buyers exclusively?

    • NAHB Now says:

      The survey results are based on a comprehensive, nationwide survey of 3,247 recent and prospective home buyers conducted in the summer of 2020. The results can be broken down by Census division, age, generation, race/ethnicity, income, priced expected to pay for the home, household composition, and first-time vs. repeat buyer. For a complete description of the survey design and sampling methodology, please consult the full study.

  3. Wes builder says:

    It would be interesting to see a side by side rendering of an example of the ideal kitchen for different generations to more fully see this.
    It would also then be interesting to show a sample group of each generation and to see how actually see these vs reading features off a sheet of paper (or screen) would or would not effect there wish list.
    My hunch is it would morph into something in between as form and function would be more obvious with something to look at.

  4. RobertG says:

    As @Sam Bowles points out, this is fairly useless information without additional context. It simply sounds as though younger buyers want more gadgets (more consumer goods) whereas Boomers may realize they don’t want/desire such frivolous features after a lifetime of consumerism.

  5. What also may be of interest in the statistics presented, Boomers have not been exposed to these features researched nor have they seen or known about them other than a memory point here and there. Once exposed to these products, the Boomers will increase their wants as is noticed in the Millenial and Gen Xers!
    It’s all about marketing!
    Integrate these products in the model homes that Boomers are seeking. You’ll see an increase in the wants and needs of the Boomers, and builders will be able to increase their profit margins and cash flow.
    You may first use these products as Boomer upgrades whereby it’s a better value for the Millenials and GenXers to have these products as standard features. And, they’ll rave about their inclusive home purchases to their friends which in turn will create more referrals for the builders!
    ONwards and UPwards with NAHB Research and the National Sales and Marketing Council, and Cheers!
    ONwards and UPwards with Health, NAHB Reserach, and Cheers!

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