The millennial generation, a group born between the early 80s and late 90s, is one that is constantly up for discussion. Also known as Generation Y, this group has been labeled as demanding, impatient, entitled and extremely social, but their opinions, wants and needs are also creating a significant shift in how products are manufactured, branded, marketed and sold. Millennials have also changed the world of interior design as they introduce a new way of living and experiencing life.
In order to fully understand what it means to design for millennials, you have to observe their patterns, desires and what is important to them. You also have to take a look at their background to understand why their way of life and point of view is different from other generations. Here are a few design trends and preferences that appeal to this generation, and how they can be implemented in new interior design projects.
Big vs. Small
The American dream dictates that when you graduate from college you find your dream job, work for a few years, get married, buy a house in the suburbs and start a family. This traditional trajectory is no longer true for millennials. Many of these individuals choose to travel after graduation, they explore different career paths and push off marriage and kids until later on in life. This also means that they’re not lining up to buy large homes. Millennials prefer to be within close proximity to their work and their social circles, which can generally be found in urban areas. This means they are living in smaller properties, apartments, lofts and studios. Living in a smaller home means they prefer minimalistic design, modern color palettes and simple furniture.
Open Floor Plans
Big kitchens are a must, but the millennial generation wants their kitchen to flow into other rooms for easy entertaining. No longer is every room of the home divided by tight hallways, the open floor concept comes to life in millennial residences. An open floor plan is bright, efficient and allows for friends and family to spend more time together cooking, creating, dining and socializing. For this reason, millennials look for furniture with a purpose, more built-in storage, sofas that transition into beds, etc.
Simple & Sleek
While older generations enjoyed rich décor and lots of accessories, millennials prefer minimalistic design, functionality and strive to maintain a clutter-free home. This generation is known for periodically “purging” their home of tchotchkes that are sitting around and collecting dust, as well as redecorating and renovating their properties to keep up with their changing taste. The simple design and lack of accessories is also due in part to the fact that they are living in smaller homes.
A Focus on Nature
Millennials are extremely environmentally aware, which means they are also welcoming more natural materials and features into their homes. Think neutral color palettes, barn doors, rustic tables, reclaimed wood, etc. This generation is also avidly involved in outdoor activities, so their home design focuses on bringing the outdoors in. This can be achieved with large floor-to-ceiling windows, an abundance of plants and greenery throughout the home and using natural wood floors.
Playing with Color
While you will predominantly see neutral colors like beige, grey or white walls in the homes of millennials, you will also see colorful appliances, bright throw pillows and bold décor aesthetically placed around the home for perfect pops of color.
The unique living needs of millennials have definitely opened up a new design category. When it comes to furniture and decor, they are most interested in customizable, creative and functional pieces that are small-space friendly and can evolve over time. For example, a simple ottoman may double up as storage as well as a bold statement piece. Another great addition would be benches with storage instead of traditional chairs as part of the dining room set up. More ways to save space and add storage would be in the bedroom with a unique bed like our beautiful Allison California King storage bed.
The millennial generation currently accounts for over 83 million people in the United States, and their influence on design, trends and products will continue to grow. In a nutshell, millennials are all about smart, low-maintenance, minimalistic, sustainable, flexible and natural design. They prefer stylish, easy living and furniture with a purpose that is multi-functional. If you are looking to tap into these millennial design trends, stop by the nearest Nader’s store to pick out the perfect pieces to complete your new look.