We’re always keeping our eye on ways that Millennials are impacting industries. Their interest in creating, remixing, and customizing fits naturally with interior design, so we were thrilled to check out the Elle Décor Modern Life Concept House last night to see how designers incorporated youthful touches in various rooms in the house.
considered a common scenario when designing one of the bedrooms — she imagined it for a 22- to 24-year-old girl who was moving back in with her parents after finishing college. Now a grown up, she would want a room that would be sophisticated but fun, and her parents would want her room to fit well within their stylish home. Katie’s design incorporated bohemian flair with a tapestry, but she hung it as a canopy that draped over the bed and behind the headboard to give it a more luxurious, sophisticated feel (an upgrade from the tapestries seen so often in college dorm rooms).
Using pieces from The Container Store, she carried the bohemian touches into the modular closet, where the young girl’s personality could be a bit more boldly displayed. A hidden vanity/makeup area in the closet was backed with a pinboard so she could put up fun photos of her friends and nights out without cluttering the room.
One of our favorite touches was the message that the imagined occupant of the room would have painted over her closet, reading “Burn the boats — take the island!” The statement was bold, but it was painted subtly. Katie blended the wall color with a touch of white so it just stood out if you were paying attention. Another mantra was painted on the bathroom wall — a sort of daily affirmation that this young Millennial woman would need as she strives to find a job or succeed at the start of her career. Looking a bit like a “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster, the painted message created by Nicholas Cope of Green Painting read “I will dream BIG.”
Exploring a small sitting room in another part of the house, we talked with Lee Kleinhelter about how design doesn’t have to be expensive. She blended high-end pieces (beautifully shaped lamps) with inexpensive accessories (funky, spikey wall hangings) to create a room with a lot of style.
Lee included furniture pieces from USM, a Swiss company, that also reflected a youthful, modern feel. The furniture — including shelving and storage units — is customizable with interchangeable panels, draws, and doors that can be swapped out in different colors and styles, and added on to as well. As Aileen Oster of USM explained, they’ve worked with young people who have purchased a furniture piece with the plan to add to it as they have more money — because the furniture is modular, they can add panels and doors to close off open shelves or add a section to a credenza to make it bigger.
While much of what we saw in the Elle Décor Modern Life Concept House may have been above the price range of Millennials as they set up their first home — assuming they even have their own space — that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in design. Putting their own stamp on their personal space is important. In fact, sites like Pinterest that let them collect images and curate their own style boards have spiked their interest in home design. And until they can afford the items they’ve added to their pinboards, they use them as design inspiration and find ways to hack, modify, or scope out the same style at a price they can afford.