Is it time to futureproof your kitchen?


Transgenerational design is the new buzzword in interiors and furniture design. Here, Troy Tappenden, Managing Director of kitchen makeover specialist Dream Doors gives the lowdown on what this means and how to embrace the trend.

The term, coined by James J.Pirkl, claims that as the world’s population grows rapidly older, it’s important to create new products that are easily used by people throughout their lifetimes – whatever their ability.

As kitchen make over specialists who have performed kitchen makeovers for over 40,000 customers, with a customer profile of 90% in the over 50 years category, Dream Doors have amassed qualitative insight into the habits and lifestyle of this growth market.

Troy says: “Ageing today has very different implications from 50, even 20 years ago, and design in and around the home – especially the kitchen – is beginning to embrace this. At Dream Doors we have an older customer base and what we’ve learnt is the breadth of lifestyles in action as our clients begin to age. Many of them have told us they want to futureproof their kitchens so that it works with them as they age. By embracing transgenerational design guidance and investing in making small, but basic changes to their kitchen layout, it means that they can enjoy the ageing process and be assured that there won’t be big changes needed later on in life.”

How to futureproof your kitchen – questions to ask yourself:

  • Fast forward 5-10 years and picture your life. Now ask yourself some honest questions. What will your social life be like? Will you be retired or approaching retirement, or perhaps you’ll be working part time. Maybe you’re planning to travel more or perhaps you’ll entertain more often. How do you think your health will be? Do you think you’ll spend more or less time cooking in the kitchen? Are there any niggling issues now that might impact you in some way? Answering these questions honestly are the first steps in futureproofing your kitchen
  • Now ask yourself how practical your kitchen is for someone less agile than you. Is there ample storage? Does the layout work well? How can you streamline the clutter? Is there enough storage space if you need to bulk buy? Can the lower level cupboards easily hold your heavier items? How easy are the doors to open? Does the lighting work?
  • Or maybe you’ll have more time for entertaining which means you might need a bigger table or more space for guests
  • With a busier life style and as you progress towards older age you might choose to bulk buy so kitchen space will need to be more organised
  • If at any point you become less steady on your feet you’ll want to consider cabinets with pull out drawers, and storing heavier items lower down

Top tips for futureproofing your kitchen:

  • Consider curved doors and rounded cornices to avoid catching clothes or limbs. Dream Doors can offer a range of complementary accessories so your kitchen is accessible in the future
  • Opt for taps with easy to turn handles – think lever style rather than traditional style
  • Think carefully about lighting – opt for LED lighting in places where you might prepare food or need more concentrated task lighting; for example in units, under units and in plinths. Dream Doors can advise, supply and fit a range of lighting solutions including drawer, drop and over cabinet lighting
  • Select easy to clean surfaces and splashbacks to minimise cleaning time
  • Make sure your kitchen storage works for you and ensure lower level cupboards are easily accessible and can hold heavier items. Consider innovative storage solutions such as carousels and corner optimisers that pull out smoothly and easily and can store more items at lower levels
  • Think about pull out drawers as these are easier to access if your limbs weaken
  • Choose wide handles which are easy to grab from any angle. Dreams Doors has a bespoke handle brochure featuring over 200 styles of handles including wide handles and larger knob styles
  • If you think you might sell your home or rent it out at some point think carefully about the colour of doors. Make it more marketable by opting for white or cream – something understated and stylish, with sleek fixtures and fittings such as the Dream Doors York range in Satin White

10 million people in the UK are over 65 years old. The latest projections are for 5 ½ million more elderly people in 20 years and the number will have doubled to around 19 million by 2050. This is almost one in every three people2. Furthermore, researchers from Imperial College London recently released predictions that by 2030 men will be living 2.4 years longer than official estimates from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggest. And women gain an extra year3.


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