Congratulations: you’ve bought a home in your 20s. Much, like 20-something homebuyers before you, you have a vision for how you want to make the space your own. But today’s decorating style is not the same as your grandparents’ or even your parents’; instead, millennials have a look and feel all of their own, and that’s changing the home-décor game.
Smart Color Choices Equal Better Investments
Remember the olive green cabinets of the 70s or the pastel kitchen appliances of the 1950s? Millennials refuse to make the mistake of investing in ephemeral styles when it comes to their home décor updates. Instead, they’re choosing more neutral updates, especially when they pour money into big projects, like complete kitchen renovations.
For many millennial homeowners, the place they buy is not their forever home; instead, it’s just a starter property from which they’ll move into a larger family dwelling. A neutral renovation now means more of a return on investment when it’s time to move out and sell, especially in big-ticket rooms like the kitchen.
Furniture Must Be (Multi)functional
Millennials have grown up with technology at their fingertips, and they’re used to phones serving multiple purposes: camera, music player, video game console, etc. It’s no surprise, then, that they expect a similar level of utility from their furniture.
As such, their generation has increased demand for pieces that serve multiple purposes. For example, a bed frame can’t simply hold a mattress. It might also have built-in storage drawers beneath it. A kitchen bench can also house storage baskets, and ottomans better open up to house blankets, remote controls, and magazines that might otherwise clutter the living room.
In a similar vein, millennials make use of every corner of a space, no matter how small. A wall-mounted collapsible desk, for instance, turns into an instant work surface, but tucks away the rest of the time to save valuable square feet of floor space. You’ll also find millennials’ homes have floating and rollaway shelves — even tucked into spaces as thin as the one between the fridge and the countertop — proving that no space goes under-utilized.
DIY is the Way to Go
Major kitchen and bathroom renovations probably require the work of a professional. But millennials love to make quick, easy updates on their own. Not only can a weekend DIY project make a space look completely different, but it can also save lots of money on labor.
The millennial kitchen upgrade is an example of how the generation can make a huge difference by DIY-ing. Something as easy as upgrading the kitchen knobs can completely transform a kitchen with good bones from out-of-date to modern and fresh. This is especially true if a sleek metallic finish, like stainless steel or long-lasting brass, is chosen.
Personalized Touches Make the Space
Sure, they stick to neutral color palettes in most cases, but builder-grade accents won’t cut it with millennials. Instead, they add color and character with personal, unique additions.
Millennial buyers have spiked demand for colorful small kitchen appliances that they can leave on their countertops for a splash of character. On top that, LED lights that put on a rainbow show from your showerhead — yes, your showerhead — are coming into fashion with this generation, too.
You’ll also find accent pieces in the form of special, eye-catching pieces of art. Some will be ready and willing to splurge on a single canvas or sculpture, while others will seek out budget items that still bring color and character to a space.
Clean Lines Reign Supreme
Above all of this is the millennial allegiance to a modern design scheme. This spans from the actual layout of the home — open floor plans, please — to the way the home is decorated. Millenials seem to prefer floors with larger tiles so there are fewer grout lines. They still like crown molding, but don’t want a chair rail or wainscoting. Their taste for stainless steel appliances and sleek stone countertops also represent a more modern touch.
Sustainable Materials Affect Design, Too
Another clean aspect of millennial design are the materials they use to put their homes together. Millennials have proven themselves to be thoughtful and aware of the fact that Mother Nature’s resources aren’t limitless. Instead, a material’s sustainability can be the make-or-break factor when it comes to using it in home design. Bamboo, cork, organic cotton and reclaimed wood top the list of the most eco-friendly design materials they can use.
A sustainable home is also one that requires less energy to function. That’s why millennials also seem to go for Energy Star appliances, improved thermostat technology and other devices that make their homes run smarter and cheaper.
Whether you’re a millennial yourself or someone looking for inspiration from the youngest generation of homeowners, the above are only six examples of ways 20-somethings are changing the game. Their thoughtful choice of materials, technology and personalized accents shows they’re decorators to watch — and to emulate yourself. So, put on your DIY gloves or swap out wood floors for bamboo ones and feel good about the design choices you make now and in the years to come, just like a millennial will.