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What Do Young Europeans’ Ideal Homes Include?

The pandemic made young Europeans even more interested in improving their homes. These four stats show exactly what they want their homes to look like… 


We’ve been tracking Gen Z and Millennials’ homebody tendencies for a while now, but the last year and a half forced these generations to spend even more time in their spaces. While you may think this would be enough to make 13-39-year-olds sick of their same four walls, our recent WE Shopping for the Home behavioral report tells a different story. Sure, more than three in five agree with the statement, “I can’t wait for COVID-19 to completely pass so I can spend a lot less time at home. But the majority (59%) still consider themselves homebodies—and even more are spending time and money making their homes into their ideal digs. In fact, 95% of young Europeans report spending money on their homes last year, and 91% plan to buy something for their home in the next year. What’s more, more than three quarters say they want to put more effort into decorating their homes, even though lifting COVID restrictions means they’re finally able to spend less time inside.

With so much focus being put on their living spaces, it begs the question: what exactly are they looking for in a home? Here are four stats that show what their ideal spaces include:

Nearly half of young Europeans define their decorating aesthetic as modern.

With the rise of such home trends as goth clutter and maximalism, we’ve seen evidence that minimalist aesthetics are on their way out. In fact, Forbes listed minimalism as one of the home trends on the way out this year as the pandemic upped the necessity of a more lived-in look. “The sheer amount of time and the number of activities we have all been engaging in at home in 2020 makes it very difficult to adhere to an austere or sparsely filled home,” says designer Justina Blakeney. Our data doesn’t dispute this—just 16% of young Europeans describe their decorating aesthetic as minimalist. But their top style—modern—does suggest that keeping it sleek and contemporary is still a high priority for Gen Z and Millennials, 47% of whom say they want to own less stuff. According to Elle Decor, the modern look is a “distinct style focused on simple form and function,” which includes “earthy palettes, natural materials like wood, leather, and stone, and streamlined silhouettes.” Indeed, 66% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe ​​say they prefer white or neutral paint colors for their spaces to bold colors, and 63% agree that everything in their home should have a functional purpose. 

The majority describe their ideal home as welcoming.

The pandemic turned young consumers’ homes into their own personal shelters from the storm, and four of the top five ways young Europeans describe their ideal home suggest a sense of retreat and sanctuary, including “a place to relax” and “my refuge.” In fact, our No Place Like Home trend report from last year found that 72% of young people in the U.S. considered their home essential to their mental health during the pandemic. And while our recent behavioral report shows that there’s no shortage of motivation among young Europeans to keep making their homes even nicer, we also found that this may not be purely for their own enjoyment: 58% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe describe their ideal home is “welcoming,” making it the top way they describe their spaces. We should note that nearly the same amount of respondents described their ideal home as “a place to relax.” But with “welcoming” edging into the lead, it’s clear that many young Europeans are looking to bring the outside world in, rather than just using their homes to shut the outside world out. 

The top decorating element they’re interested in is plants.

Millennials’ love affair with plants has been budding for a while now, with Millennials accounting for $13 million of the $48 billion spent annually on lawn and garden products, according to a report from the 2019 National Gardening Association. Since then, city-dwelling and “nature-starved” Millennials have grown even more fond of their leafy friends, and an entire industry has popped up to support them: Startups like Horti, a plant subscription service, have tapped into the Instagrammability of plants, nurseries have created waiting lists for their most sought after species, and plant coaches and “plantrepreneurs” have gained massive followings on social for giving plant care tips to their followers. In the midst of the pandemic, plants grew even more popular (pun not intended) as young people looked for new hobbies, and loneliness prompted many to become pet or plant parents. Now, 49% of young European consumers say they would incorporate plants into the design of their ideal home, making it their top decorating element. Part of the popularity of plants could also be due to the pandemic-created need to bring outdoor space in, which is also supported by the fact that…

The majority want their homes to have outdoor space for entertaining. 

Having private outdoor space was never as important as it was during the pandemic, and young consumers won’t forget that anytime soon. In fact, our summer plans report found that 58% of 13-39-year-olds in the U.S. planned to spend as much time as they could outdoors, and a Bacardi survey found that 90% of cocktail drinkers have changed their drinking patterns because of the pandemic, with many of them moving the party to “the nearest green space.” What’s more, 35% of respondents said they’d prefer creating their own “outdoor drinking experiences” to drinking in bars, and a report from Bloomberg found that balconies gained a newfound appreciation during the pandemic. Confirming this, our behavioral report found that 55% of young Europeans are interested in having outdoor space for entertaining as part of their ideal home, an element that would make their spaces even more welcoming—and even more full of plants. 

YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full shopping for the home behavioral report and data here.

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