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4 Interior Design Trends of the Millennial Generation


Interior design trends are no longer only for homeowners settling down in a residence they commit to for life. Today home design branches out across varying levels of income, spaces, style, age, gender, and more, particularly when it comes to the millennial generation. Oh and in case you’re wondering what exactly is “millennial” age, this term usually refers to anyone born between 1981 and 1996.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Décor Aid. I have been compensated for writing it but rest assured I have had final say on all written content.

Home Design and Millennials

Young people take good interior design seriously, but their home-related needs differ a lot from their predecessors. A few of these differences are:

  • The millennial generation typically doesn’t make as much money
  • They move more frequently than their parents
  • Differences in values
  • Generally live in smaller spaces than the past generation

This list of differences means shifts to interior design trends to meet the changing needs of the millennial generation. Here are just a few of the design trends that resulted from the changing demands of this young group.

1. Exposure

In the past, younger generations weren’t exposed to as much innovative design as millennials are today. For the millennial generation as a whole, a well-crafted space with good aesthetics have become a valuable part of any home, no matter its size.

Furthermore, social media has made it easier to see trending styles and sources for furniture inspiration. Just look at online influencers who post about their latest home redesign. And then there are bloggers who share their DIY creations. Celebrity designers often launch home décor lines too. All of this makes exposure to interior design mainstream for many young people, as well as for people with a few more years on them.

As for what home design trends millennials gravitate toward, they seem to take a cue from mid-century modern and focus on pieces that are more functional but don’t sacrifice aesthetics. Instead, they develop a market full of clean, minimal styled pieces instead of ones that are overly bulky or ornate. Minimalism in design lends itself to the re-purposing of furniture, easy moving, and more free space within a small home or apartment.

2. Eco-Friendly Interior Design Trends

The millennial generation has also shifted toward sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. in their living spaces. That’s because of increasing worries that weren’t as apparent in their parents’ youth.

With so much waste in industries like fashion, food, and more, many furniture and decor suppliers have taken a greener approach, much to the delight of many consumers. As millennials frequently emphasize the importance of upcycling and buying second-hand materials to avoid waste, many businesses make it their goal to operate under green standards. Some examples are:

  • The use of recyclable materials
  • 3D printing
  • Production methods that minimize environmental damage
  • Waste reduction efforts

Some companies also offer products that actively improve the home’s environment, such as curtains that purify the surrounding air. This IKEA invention is helps purify the air within the living space. While many people don’t realize it, indoor pollutants are a reality. The odor from our cat litter box is an example.

The younger generations have also taken this approach to what they buy. For example, the millennial generation typically streamlines furniture and storage. And they generally focus on the functionality of the pieces they invest in, instead of a tired “more-is-more” approach that older generations used for interior design.

The result is less wasteful buying and less subsequent tossing of unnecessary pieces. It is a more effective approach for eco-friendly enthusiasts. Furniture companies are stepping up to meet the changing demands of customers, at least if they want to continue to be successful.

Interior design trends must suit small spaces like this one. Original photo from Décor Aid design project

3. Smaller Spaces

The millennial generation lives in smaller spaces than those before them. Instead of houses, many live in apartments, studios, and condos. These small areas have a lower commitment, but they also have less space or less freedom with interior design. Therefore, furniture manufacturers have had to accommodate these changing spaces or risk going out of business.

For example, sofas and love seats are more compact than ever. And many millennials would never even dream of owning a sectional in their limited space. And there’s also limited room for storage space, so the home design industry has begun producing more items for storage purposes. In general, interior design pieces that are multi-functional and still compact are popular for accommodating the shrinking sizes of living spaces.

Downsizing is a big part of many millennials’ lifestyles. Rising rents don’t make it any easier for people to invest in big spaces to hold larger pieces. So many in the millennial generation take the less-is-more approach and adopt a minimalist feel in their space. Not only does this style of home design appear clean, but it’s also cheaper. The days of maximalism no longer make sense for working millennials or those who are in college and on a budget. In response, their interior design styles include only the essentials.

Self-expression in interior design is important to the millennial generation
Original photo from Décor Aid design project

4. Interior Design Trends: Self-Expression

Lastly, the millennial generation generally does not conform to traditional styles of interior design. Instead, the younger generation is open to trying new styles and also combining ones that have been around for ages. There is currently a trend toward eclectic furniture and using interior design as a way to express themselves.

A few of the ways that millennials today are branching out from their predecessors’ design expectations are by using:

  • Brighter colors,
  • Unconventional furniture silhouettes,
  • Striking patterns, and
  • Layered textures

The listed millennial preferences for interior design trends differ from when their parents were young. Living rooms back then were seen as a space that ought to appeal to anyone invited there. But today this young group takes more chances and supports designs that they themselves like, first and foremost.

What are some other millennial trends that you see in the home or elsewhere? Are you a minimalist?

20 thoughts on “4 Interior Design Trends of the Millennial Generation”

  1. Love minimalism, but also love a classic old European look as well. Something about feeing like you’re in London in the early 1900’s is so romantic to me. Maybe I’ve read too many books haha

  2. I think minimalism is a beautiful midset as it helps you focus on more important things rather than small details that no one even notices, and i think it gives a sense of freedom and flexibility, less rigidity.

  3. Really interesting read Christy. Thank you! I’m a Millennial (83) and I like a lot of different styles. I usually style my home to suit the architecture of the house. I.e if I lived in a modern condo I would lean towards mid-century or minimalist. But currently I live in a rustic Prairie style house in the woods so I’ve chosen more rustic pieces. I agree though that it’s all about self-expression. As long as the style reflects ‘you’ that’s all that matters.

    1. Hi! I’m glad this post piqued your interest. Totally agree that it’s about self-expression when it comes to style, whether that’s for your home or what you wear. Be confortable and, in turn, confident! Rock it :D

  4. I am always confused. Am I or am I not a millennial? I have been questioning that and get different answers. I was born in 1978. The last generation website I looked on said millennials were from 77-95 but I have also seen the years you have here. I do share many of the qualities of the millennial. It feels like the generation between 76-96 is kind of the unknown generation.

    1. I think that given your birth year you’re Generation X :) After that is the millennial generation and then post-millennials. But really they’re just names and the most important thing is to find what’s right for you, irregardless of birth year. I appreciate your comment!

  5. I’m a “xennial,” hehe, but I have subscribed to many of these millennial sentiments. :) I love the eco-styles, and the focus on smaller living areas, and things like that. And I’m wishing you a happy Friday!

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