Although cabinetry will always be most necessary in kitchens, builders are seeing increased demand for cabinetry installed throughout homes. Offering “other-room” cabinetry as an upgrade provides storage and increased value for homeowners, while giving builders a competitive advantage and dealers an opportunity to increase cabinet sales.
One of the biggest drivers of other-room cabinetry is a growing need for additional storage. “The importance of storage has heightened compared to three or four years ago,” says Jean Butler, vice president of marketing for Yorktowne.“Boomers have lots of things they've collected over the years, and they want to organize it.”
Outside of the kitchen and bath, the most popular room in the home for built-in cabinetry is the home office. “The number of people who telecommute is affecting the upsurge in home offices. Home offices are becoming a standard offering from builders,” says Connie Edwards, director of design for Timberlake Cabinets.
Other popular rooms include laundries, butler's pantries, hobby rooms, and mud-rooms, says Kim Dunn, marketing publications specialist for Wellborn Cabinets. Entertainment/media rooms, home libraries, and window-seat and fireplace-surround configurations also are in demand.
Because many builders send home buyers to the dealer to view cabinets, a well-equipped showroom, including other-room displays, is critical to helping homeowners visualize the products in their own homes. “You sell what you show. If the customer can't find it, it's hard for them to buy it,” points out Sarah Reep, director of design for KraftMaid.
“A lot of our customers use our showroom for their customers to make their selections. If we don't have a showroom that shows everything, we're not going to sell everything,” says Dana Swiger, cabinet division manager for York, Pa.–based lumberyard John H. Myers & Son.
Dealers with larger showrooms should make the most of them by displaying as many other-room configurations as possible. If space is tight, manufacturers and dealers recommend incorporating aspects of other-room cabinetry into kitchen displays.
Norman Hill, kitchen and bath designer for Roper Lumber in Fredericksburg, Va., says that the offices of Roper's on-staff designers have been set up with home office cabinetry they sell, complete with accessories. “It's a way of showing [other-room cabinetry] without dedicating too much of your showroom to it,” he says.
In addition to displays, Edwards recommends assembling an “idea book” of successful installations to show off the designer's capabilities and inspire buyers.
“It certainly helps sell the product when consumers can see ...ideas on how to create an entertainment center or home office, customized for their individual needs,” says Cindy Draper, marketing manager for Canyon Creek Cabinetry.
Cross-merchandising is also a good tactic for maximizing display space. “If you sell fireplaces, why not combine that with a bookcase in a home office or a home entertainment unit?” suggests Paul Radoy, manager of design services for Merillat.
Using your showroom to create a “wow” factor for builders and their customers is key to stoking their imaginations and driving up your other-room cabinetry sales.