While design trends are impacted by everything from region of the country to personal tastes, certain design trends are more prevalent among certain generations.
Generations X and Y, for example, seem to have a number of design preference commonalities, from a love of color and texture to a desire for clean, simple and modern designs. Some of these come from necessity, as this generation tends to have less disposable income than older, more established homeowners, so budget often dictates (or at least plays a key role in) design choices.
But other factors – including a technological bent, a passion for the environment and a desire to maximize time and minimize fuss – also color these generations’ design choices.
This month, Kitchen & Bath Design News polled several hundred design professionals from all across the U.S. and Canada to get a sense of what they saw as the hottest design trends among younger (Gen X and Gen Y) homeowners.
Clean & Modern
From a design standpoint, clean and modern seem to be hot buttons for the younger generation, with Gen X and Y homeowners favoring streamlined looks that offer a bright and modern sensibility.
According to Sabrina DaLomb of the RI-based Supply New England: “The younger generations are definitely more attracted to clean lines and a contemporary aesthetic, even in the traditional stronghold in New England!”
“Design trends are much more modern, with cleaner lines and less fuss,” concurs Art Warren, CMKBD, with Gravelle Woodworking Ltd., in Ontario, Canada.
Donald Giranda of Craft Haven agrees that younger homeowners want “sleek, clean lines,” but also notes their interest in “bright colors.”
Katheryn W. Cowles, CKD, CBD, of the FL-based K.W. Cowles Design Center, also sees color mattering a great deal to Gen X and Y, and says that both color and texture are important design elements for these consumers, as they provide the more modern sensibility many of them desire.
“They [Gen X, Gen Y] want a contemporary to transitional kitchen with good storage, full-extension drawers and a workable design. Clean and concise is the word of the day,” emphasizes Lynn Hegstrom, of the CO-based Bollinger Design Group.
But it’s not just about the look; it’s also about value, according to Jeremy Corthals of the MI-based Capital Granite. He states, “Most of the Gen Xers that I work with are looking for clean, functional products that offer the best value.”
But value doesn’t necessarily mean inexpensive. Rachel Barone of PDP Countertops in GA sees even budget-conscious consumers investing in high-end countertops, and she notes, “Everyone is looking to select finishes and tones that have lengthy decorating ‘staying power.’ We have placed $6,000 granite in $50,000 condos.”
As far as colors are concerned, she says, “Every tone of gray is popular in painted cabinetry, while the hot colors in granite and marble are Carrara, Calcutta, Alaskan White, Ivory White, Namibian Green and new exotics.” She suggests that the younger age groups may have grown up with the older, more traditional colors of granite, which may be driving their interest toward things that are different and exotic.
Christopher Anderson of the NJ-based Segal & Morel sees black painted cabinets trending right now, while Chad Evans of Innovative Remodeling Company in WI sees industrial-style appliances and backsplashes gaining ground with younger homeowners.
In the bathroom, the love of all things modern is showing up in these generations’ desire for “anything square – faucets, shower plates, showerheads, etc.,” according to Tommy Jones, Classic Decorative Hardware in FL. He adds, “Gen X and Y desire simple luxury and a spa-like feel.”
While fashion matters, by and large, Generations X and Y seem to be focusing on functionality, seeking out products that are easy to use, easy to clean and easy to live with. Products that save time are also essential, as many younger consumers are either juggling both young children and busy professional careers, or working long hours as they pay their dues to try to climb the corporate ladder.