The Countertops and Colors Millennials Want in Their Kitchens

A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders highlights the preferred kitchen colors and features among recent and prospective Millennial home buyers (defined as those born after 1980).

A considerable share of Millennials – 31 percent – prefer white kitchen cabinets. However, as far as other cabinet color options, Millennials are essentially split: 18 percent prefer dark brown cabinets, 16 percent prefer medium brown, 14 percent prefer black, and 13 percent prefer gray cabinets (Figure 1).

In general, Millennials share similar cabinet color preferences with older generations. For example, there is less than a 10 percentage point gap between Millennials and Seniors who prefer white kitchen cabinets. However, generational preferences diverge somewhat when it comes to darker colors: 18 percent of Millennials and 19 percent of Gen X’ers prefer dark brown compared to just 9 percent of Boomers and 7 percent of Seniors. Fourteen percent of Millennials prefer black cabinets, compared to 8 percent of Gen X’ers, and only 2 percent each of Boomers and Seniors.

Figure 2 shows kitchen appliance color preferences by generation. Most Millennials – 64 percent – prefer a stainless-steel color for their kitchen appliances while significantly smaller shares prefer black (22 percent) and white (12 percent).

In fact, stainless-steel is the most popular appliance color across all generations, with at least 64 percent expressing a preference for it. When it comes to black, however, Millennials are more likely to choose it (22 percent) than Gen X’ers (16 percent), Boomers (13 percent) and Seniors (12 percent).

The report also includes data on preferred countertop materials. A large share of Millennials – 62 percent – prefer granite/natural stone countertops, significantly more than the shares that prefer quartz/engineered stone (17 percent), laminate (12 percent), and solid surface countertops (7 percent) (Figure 3).

Granite/natural stone countertops are slightly more popular among younger generations: 62 percent of Millennials and 64 percent of Gen X’ers prefer it, compared to 53 percent of Boomers and 55 percent of Seniors. Quartz/Engineered stone countertops, on the other hand, are more preferred with older generations: 28 percent of Seniors and 24 percent of Boomers prefer it, compared to 15 percent of Gen X’ers and 17 percent of Millennials.

For additional information, an August 2019 NAHB study showed the history of Millennials’ preferences for select housing characteristics.  The greatest level of detail—including preferences for hundreds of items broken down by generation, by geography, first-time vs. repeat buyer,  household composition, race, income, and price expected to pay for the home—is available in the 2019 edition of What Home Buyers Really Want.

Post by Carmel Ford, an economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). This post was originally published on NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog.

Featured image: Vintage Oaks Custom Kitchen, photo by Vivid Image Austin

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