BY ERIK J. MARTIN, CTW FEATURES
Every generation has its needs, wants, and preferences. And Gen Yers, who are increasingly seeking to establish households and create unique spaces of their own, are no exception. They’re not looking for the same types of domiciles or interior designs that their parents favored, and the home decorating trends they’re involved in are distinctive, home improvement and interior design experts agree.
“Millennials are reaching a point where they are aging out of their starter homes and starting to look for better, longer-term options. This means they are being more thoughtful about decor and built-in features,” he says. “A lot of the changes we see with millennials boil down to their tastes and aesthetics rather than practical differences from previous generations. Like most generations, they are reclaiming styles from a few different past eras.”
Ask Nick Janovsky a real estate advisor with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, and he’ll tell you that millennials are increasingly gravitating toward a contemporary modern vibe and aesthetic that emphasizes neutral colors instead of heavy earth tones.
“Contemporary pallets, such as bases of whites, are very popular and allow flexibility for customizations and furnishings,” Janovsky adds. Deborah Van Eendenburg, a Realtor in Minneapolis, observes that millennials also appreciate and embrace luxurious-looking details. “Details like black and gold accents add color and depth in subtle ways that translate well on walls and social media,” she says.
In addition, Gen Y is prioritizing finishes and home accessories made from natural resources, including stone, wood, marble, and fibers. “There’s a tangibility to those materials that millennials value. A home with texture and feeling contributes to a sense of accomplishment and ease in their spaces,” says Van Eendenburg. Bizzley echoes those thoughts.
“This cohort is finding creative ways to bring nature inside their homes. Being around nature improves their mood and alleviates stress and depression. Plus, it’s all about sustainability and preserving natural resources,” he says. Multifunctional furniture is also hot with this crowd, including wall-hanging desks that can be folded up easily when not in use, sofa beds, and ottomans with storage, Bizzley notes.
“Open floor plans are also preferred, with larger kitchen islands for extra work space,” Janovsky points out.
Indeed, flexible indoor/outdoor spaces are high on the wish list for millennials. “Open spaces became more prioritized because of the pandemic. People no longer want a divided room – they want everything from indoors to outdoors to blend seamlessly,” says Bizzley. “This trend began during the pandemic when everything was shut down and people were stuck inside, missing the feeling of being outdoors. Millennials want to avoid closed-off spaces that bore them and will make them stir crazy. They crave lots of natural light, which can be accomplished by using more mirrors throughout the house to reflect natural light and add depth to their homes.”
Gen Y values smaller details, too, such as worn brass doorknobs and original locking mechanisms paired with minimally intrusive home security technology, like Ring door sensors, Van Eendenburg explains.
Ang cautions that millennials who don’t plan to stay put for long should be careful about endowing their homes with too many details that don’t enjoy universal appeal.
“Amenities whose primary function is aesthetic will be hard to sell to future buyers. Remember that tastes will inevitably change. If you are concerned about resale value down the road, focus on the practical in addition to the beautiful,” recommends Ang.