It’s no real surprise that home improvement trends vary from generation to generation. Presumably, someone once loved that popcorn ceiling you scraped off immediately after moving in.
Same goes for the layers and layers (and layers) of floral wallpaper. As for the floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, well, the ’60s gave us many gifts, and nothing in this world is free.
But a new survey from Better Homes and Gardens shows that millennial homeowner trends go beyond paint preferences. According to the study — which looked at 1,600 female homeowners across the US — the 35-and-under set wants more than an on-trend abode.
“Millennials are masters at putting personal expression into execution,” says Jill Waage, Brand Executive Editor for Better Homes and Gardens. “They’re walking into homeownership with smart phones in the palms of their hands. They are passionate about the process of discovering, pinning, saving, sharing — and having friends validate —their ideas and look.”
How does that translate to a floor plan? Here are some of the survey’s most millennial-y findings.
Customize, customize, customize
After coming of age during the rise of social media, the real estate market’s newest generation wants a home that speaks to them personally. “Millennials don’t know life without being able to set, update, or modify their preferences,” says Waage. “From screen savers to photo filters, customization has always been a tap or a swipe away.” Around two-thirds of survey respondents reported that having a customized home was a priority, while 60 percent said that a space that is “a reflection of me” is more important to them than to their parents. What’s more, millennials are willing to pay for it: 44 percent said that they’re happy to pay a premium if it means getting exactly what they envisioned.
Smart features are a must
More than ever, millennials are incorporating “smart” technology to make their homes more energy-efficient, comfortable and secure. Of those surveyed, 68 percent believed that these upgrades were a good investment, while 73 percent reported feeling more safe because of them. Smart appliances were the most popular improvement, but less mainstream options are on the millennial radar, as well: 36 percent of those surveyed said they would like features to track their sleep habits.
Work, meet play
As telecommuting becomes more popular and work hours less traditional, millennials aren’t content to work from the couch. Home offices are a popular improvement project, with 13 percent of respondents reporting that a work space was on the to-do list. But that’s not to say it’s all work and no play —compared to previous generations, millennials are also more interested in improving their recreational areas, particularly outside. On their wish lists: landscape lighting (27 percent), a fire pit (26 percent) and comfy, living room-worthy seating (24 percent). In other words, see you never, plastic lawn chairs.
While millennials might be able to justify paying for personalized pads, this is, nevertheless, a generation that entered the workforce as the economy nose-dived. When the price tag is too high, the Pinterest instincts kick in. “They value homeownership and see it as a good investment, but their budgets are tight and they have to get creative,” says Waage. “The Internet makes it easier to find sources for what they like, watch technique videos, troll for sales, search for deals, and ultimately make a purchase and a plan. Plus, they get to tell all the great stories along the way about where they found the idea, what they plucked from their grandparent’s attic, how they adapted it to their own home and made it work within budget.”