Kitchens Design Tips for Multi-generational Living

Posted by Ben Thompson on 06.30.17

Multi-generational living has become very common in the last decade. This type of living arrangement can include older parents that don’t want to live alone, disabled relatives who need assistance, and even children who have left the nest that have come back after college. With that in mind, a household may have family members that range in age from under a year to the eighties and nineties. But if you think about it for a moment, do you think your kitchen could handle the needs of everyone in that family?

Even if you currently don’t have a multi-generational household, there are a lot of design elements that you could benefit from now and in the future when your needs may change. Take a look at our list below and see some examples of kitchen remodels where it’s been done.

Kitchen design tips for multi-generational living

  1. Pullout pantries. A pantry with drawers and rotating organizers makes it easy to find things. Organize items so they are easy to find for those who need them. For example: keep snack items and cereal at a lower shelf level so children can help cabinets
  2. Add a pot-filler. Moving a pot full of water from the sink to the stovetop can be a difficult maneuver. Install a pot filler in your backsplash above your stovetop and voila, you’ve cut out one trip to the sink.
  3. Counter height or drawer microwaves. To prevent bending and reaching, install a microwave at counter height or select a drawer style microwave. Both will make removal of hot or heavy dishes much easier.
  4. Lazy Susans in corner cabinets. If you have a corner cabinet, the best way to make it more functional is to add a Lazy Susan. You will be able to fit more inside and find what you need more cabinets
  5. Use drawers instead of doors on lower cabinets. Drawers will allow you to see everything that is inside, where in a cabinet you may have to move things around to find what you are looking for.

    kitchen cabinets A pull out drawer with built-in dish organizer!

  6. Create larger pathways. Wider pathways allow for multiple people to use the kitchen at once and can accommodate someone in a wheelchair. The ADA guidelines for a U shaped kitchen is a minimum of 60” between cabinets, walls and appliances; for a galley kitchen the minimum is 40”.
  7. Under cabinet lighting. Make meal prep easier for everyone by shining a light on the countertop while you are working.


Topics: Kitchens, Thompson Tips, kitchen design, kitchen remodel, multi-generational living, remodeling grand rapids mi,, thompson remodeling grand rapids mi