Visual social media networks such as Instagram and Pinterest have become a hub for helping people create their very own interior heaven. Millennials are often looking for ways to stand out and they are using aesthetic to create a home that reflects their personality, tastes and interests.
Millennials have been called the generation of emotional intelligence. Why? because they focus on self-care.
Long before millennials, ancient Greeks saw self-care as a way to make people honest citizens that were more likely to care for others. Audre Lorde wrote that “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”
Self-care is important to millennials, as they often feel as though they cannot reach high expectations that are set by society. Millennials are accepting that failure will happen and they are reaching less for perfection and more for individuality.
‘Self-care’ has reached a five year high on Google searches and millennials spend twice as much on self-care in comparison to baby-boomers according to Dr.Chris Mendenwal. The value of the health and wellness market in the UK increased from around £20 billion in 2013 to over £23 billion in 2018.
Millennials want their homes to be their escape, a sanctuary. Berkus from the show Nate and Jeremiah by Design says “with everything going on in the world, I think all of us want and have always wanted, our home to be our sanctuary”.
As millennials have become interested in self-care, mindfulness and the internet, the popularity of escapism design is increasing. People are now relying on their home environments to boost their moods and well-being.
People want interiors that shut out all of the noise, in order for them to concentrate on themselves.
People want to let in more light into their homes and are moving the clutter away from their windows to gain the benefits that natural sunlight gives us. They’re putting more effort into supporting their natural body clock, being more resourceful through utilising space and nature more.
In a society that is trying to fill a void with consumerism, more and more people are now focusing on self-care and minimalism.
The concept of minimalism is to have freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. The idea comes from people giving too much meaning to things and possessions. We focus on consuming and buy the things that don’t actually make us any happier.
We often do this at the expense of our own health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves.
Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of all of your belongings unless that would make you happy. Minimalism is about only having things if they bring value to your life. You can get rid of all the belonging you think you need, but don’t actually need, and feel better for it. In turn, without all this clutter, you can concentrate on what is important and find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom.
Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself.
Due to an economic dilemma and shifting values, Millennials have a new relationship with things. They are accepting the value of less and by owning less, they feel happier. Shying away from clutter and excess allows them to posses’ things that benefit and add value to their homes and lives.
It’s no secret that we aren’t a generation with large houses and a suburban-style life. Millennials tend to love in urban apartments and that means they have to be size-conscious. Millennials aren’t worried about storage like previous generations were, they’re typically more minimalistic.
However, when needed, they’re adding attractive but functional storage. By using storage efficiently, even the smallest apartments have more than enough storage. Furniture pieces that also offer storage are popular with millennials as the secret storage allows them to hide away their things to create the illusion of spaciousness.
As for the kitchen and bathroom, millennials want their storage built in and hidden. Gone are the days when you display kitchen appliances on the side or your products in the bathroom.
Millennial women have taken to neutral colour pallets. Although millennials tend to avoid committing to one style, minimalism has stuck around. It represents modern interior that has an understated but sophisticated design. A modern mix between simplistic furniture, vintage, the odd expensive feature and their personal style.
Millennials recognise the importance and beauty of art. They’re using art to express their personalities, even down to the positioning of it. There’s no perfect placing for art pieced in millennial eyes; they often prop them up against walls and on top of surfaces or hang them in frames that create an irregular design.
Earlier in the article, we touched on millennials wanting to create a sanctuary to focus on self-care. Each person’s sanctuary will contain different things, but there are some common themes between them. They will often opt for white or at least neutral walls. It’s perfect for minimalism, as it gives them a blank and clean canvas to add things too.
Millennials love natural materials such as wood and stone but they also like to integrate technology, colour and lights. This clean aesthetic allows them to focus more of the things they’re adding to express their style and personality.
If a millennial wants their home to feel intimate and cosy they may use; comfy cushions, natural rugs, chunky-knitted blankets, soft furnishing covers, candles and warm and quirky lighting. Utilising a variety of textiles and textures and combining it with scent and light allows for depth and style.
Millennials are looking for highly efficient appliances to reduce their energy use and they want to use sustainable and natural materials everywhere they can. They’re the most sustainability conscious generation to exist.
Millennials want homes that are smart, with technology that allows them to save energy, money and provide more convenience.
They like sustainable and all natural furnishings. They want construction materials without the chemicals, LED lighting technology and energy-efficient windows.
Being environmentally conscious allows them to lower the costs of their utility bills. In fact, a recent survey indicated that 72% of millennials would be willing to pay £1,134 more for a home that was “smart,” and 42% of those would be willing to pay as much as £2,267 more.
Almost 80% of millennials would rather have a house with tech innovations and smart automation than a kitchen upgrade.
There’s a need for millennials to feel as if we’re caring for something other than ourselves at a time where making major life choices has to come later and later in life. Plants look great and it’s another way for millennials to bring nature indoors. There is a more psychological explanation for why they love plants though.
Millennials are the most educated generation with 40% of them being graduates. However, they’re also facing the hardest time to attain career jobs due to the current climate. House prices make owning a home seem unachievable and having children is being pushed further and further back.
So what do they do? Instead of a house and a family, they have pets and houseplants. Some may argue that this pet and plants lifestyle is a way for them to nurture maternal instincts and stay rooted.
Berkus says “your best shot at creating a home that feels safe, warm and protected” Do your homework and figure out what design style best suits you before pulling out your wallet. We do better when our homes are better. Our homes rise up to greet us and they make a difference in how we feel and move through the world.
At the end of the day, when we come home and we light that candle and close the door, we want to know that we are surrounded by things that add value to our lives and that we really love.
Millennials have changed interior for the better, whilst possessions are good, they must add value to our lives and contribute towards our happiness. The minimalistic Millennial will then, have time to self-care, focus on what’s important, love and develop.