An independent study of model home behavior commissioned by Merillat last year showed that cabinets are the most-shopped feature in a kitchen, but buyers need help knowing what to look for. “People are very brand savvy with appliances, but they don't buy cabinets very often,” says Merillat's communications manager, Jim Potthast. “So they're not sure how to look for certain things.” Using the research findings, Merillat has just put together a Super Model Merchandising Kit for builders. It includes printed graphics builders can use to tag special features, and a brochure giving buyers tips for test-driving the kitchen. Here are some of the study's key findings:

  • Cabinetry finishes were the most liked or disliked feature of the kitchen. Shoppers were drawn to medium-tone finishes.
  • Certain features caught the eye of prospective buyers and beckoned them into the kitchen. Islands elicited the most enthusiasm, with pantries a close second.
  • Shoppers were most likely to investigate cabinetry that was placed near appliances. Corner storage and areas around the microwave were the most shopped.
  • Potthast says the use of attractive tags to flag cabinetry features is easy on the eye while inviting buyers to enter the space. “People are a little timid because they feel like they're in someone else's home—it's so decorated and clean,” he says, adding that buyers are also pressed for time, spending only a minute or two in the kitchen.

    Better make it time well spent.