Designing With Millennials In Mind


Fact: I didn’t know I was a millennial. 

The way the term had been thrown around all willy nilly, I’d just assumed millennials were the generation after me — you know the generation that never had to experience the mad dash from the tv to the bathroom and back again before the commercial ends or the generation that has no idea what a landline phone is. Surprise…they’re not millennials… I am. 

After experiencing the design trends geared towards millennials at High Point Market this season, it totes makes sense that this is my generation — these are definitely my people…at least when it comes to interior design and styling. 

My second day at High Point Market kicked off the Design Bloggers Tour and our first stop was Universal Furniture where I learned all the things I thought I knew about millennials but didn’t actually know. Throughout the showroom, there were a number of fun facts as it relates to my generation, which has definitely impacted a lot of the industry’s design decisions. And as my days at Market continued, I noticed that more and more showrooms were embracing these millennial design trends. 

Millennial Design Trend #1: Storage Solutions

Fact: millennials are the largest buying group in generations, with a collection spending power of $1.4 trillion (source: Buxton Analytics via Universal Furniture). 

Translation: we shop… a lot! 

The problem with spending so much is then finding places to put all the things we buy — talk about a first world problem! Whether it’s our growing wardrobes or collection of tech devices, storage is a necessary part of millennial living — everything needs a home (no pun intended) or the entire space can start to feel like it’s in shambles. 

At Universal Furniture we saw storage beds & multi-compartment chests. 

At Four Hands with saw storage accent tables & compact entryway units. 

At Dorel Home we saw storage cocktail ottomans and sleeper sofas.

As millennials we can finally find places for our “vintage” magazine collections that we refuse to part with, right along side are ever growing collection of throw pillows and blankets. 

Millennial Design Trend #2: Small Scale Furniture

Universal Furniture’s new collection, Spaces, totally speaks my love language. From the door that read, “Small Spaces Trending Now” I knew that this was going to be my happy place… and it was. Throughout the showroom, vignettes were labeled by square footage, providing insight and inspiration on how to space plan and style a 9’ x 9’ room versus an 11’ x 8’ — very IKEA-esque. 

As someone who has always lived in “small spaces” this was refreshing to see, because often times design is seen within the context of large homes, especially when it comes to actually sectioning off the different vignettes in a showroom that’s thousands of square footage. 

But it wasn’t simply that the small space vignettes were created — anyone can put up some walls and create a small space. The new collections I spotted at Market were intentional about creating smaller scale furnishings for a generation that lives in a much smaller footprint than our parents & grandparents. Be it by choice or by circumstance, we don’t have the luxury of a whole lot of square footage, so knowing that pieces are now being constructed by brands with us in mind is an exciting new direction in the home industry. 

Millennial Design Trend #3: Neutrals & Natural Materials

If I had my own furniture collection — totally claiming that as a possibility! — it would be lots of neutrals and lots of natural materials. I really am a millennial! White and rattan. Blush and leather. Navy and chrome. 

Hues that could easily serve as the foundation for any palette paired with bold metals and raw materials was an evident trend throughout every showroom, and all done in ways that were unique and thoughtful. 

At Sonder Living we saw metals and wood used to create modern, yet classic vignettes.

At Made Goods we saw hide and rattan reinvented, used in ways outside of the usual.

At Coleccion Alenxandra we were shown how there are no limits to the ways in which leather could be applied — from a mobile bar to a writing desk! 

Being able to layer in these different textures and materials, makes creating a home that’s inviting and cozy effortless for a generation that’s starting families, buying homes, and just trying to get our lives together best we can. 

The buying power of the millennial generation is undeniable.

As both a consumer and designer of this generation, it really is dope to see brands start to incorporate this information in their design decisions. This is a business, so naturally it makes sense for brands to take notice and leverage these insights; but from the packaging to the presentation, I’m excited to see how these trends continue to manifest in the real world. 

Albie Knows