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How are ‘Millennials’ designing their homes?

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

“Millennials are swarming into the home marketplace armed with information, ideas and a passionate desire for personalization,” said Jill Waage, editorial director for home content for Better Homes and Gardens. “Home builders, designers and remodelers should know that this generation expects you to work with them as collaborators not just contractors. We have seen an explosion on our social media outlets of Millennials exchanging everything from swatch styles for wallpaper to outdoor decorating designs. This generation wants homes that reflect their individuality and their sheer size will reshape the home market for decades to come.”

U.S. Millennials account for an estimated $1.3 trillion in direct annual spending and in the next 15 years, Millennials will outnumber Baby Boomers 78 million to 56 million, according to a recent report from the Boston Consulting Group.

Better Homes and Gardens released a survey on the attitude and spending trends of “Millennial” generation, asking more than 3,200 prospective home buyers to share their thoughts on home improvement spending, personalization and technology.



Here’s the inside scoop from the survey:

On renovations/projects…Workspaces in the home continue to gain importance. Out of those surveyed, 26% of Millennials said they are building or planning to build a home office, work space or family computing center. However, these spaces aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. A reported 41% felt a combined office-hobby-crafts-art room was ideal.

On future projects...Casual entertaining is very popular. 35% reported wanting to work on outdoor living or entertaining areas. 42% desire adding exterior upgrades like a deck, porch or patio. The respondents also see value in curb appeal. 52% report they will add/replace plantings, shrubs and trees. Furthermore, 40% of millennial respondents want to make their home more energy efficient.

On personalization…Millennials want a home with personalization and seek out creative ways to improve the look and feel of their home. 34% plan to change the function of a room, such as a nursery, office or craft/hobby space. Examples of personalization and home individualization include chalkboards, under stair storage, and adding bins and buckets to maximize shelving. Other personalization trends include choosing industrial and vintage elements in the bathroom, sliding barn doors and considering children as part of décor choices.

On mobile access…Nearly 6 in 10 respondents report using a smartphone or tablet to access home-related information. They are primarily using their mobile device to find decorating ideas or shop for items for their home.

On buying a home…Millennials value home ownership, and like previous generations, 77% believe owning a home is still a good investment. However, many are challenged to qualify for it and 35% said a lack of down payment was the greatest obstacle to making the dream a reality. One-quarter of respondents would be willing to take out a loan to take advantage of the current market.

On buying new vs. fixing up…18% expect their next home to be newly built while 23% said their home will most likely be a house they can fix up. Among those planning a home improvement project in the next 12 months, nearly 35% highly agree that “now is the right time to spend” on home improvements. 45% said they are in the process of planning or doing a major home improvement or decorating project. And, 75% of this group report decorating with furniture and accessories.

The online survey was held October 24 through November 7, 2013 among a random sample of Better Homes and Gardens reader panelists. Additionally, the survey was deployed to a sample of Parents and FamilyFun reader panelists who indicated readership of Better Homes and Gardens. A total of 3,284 completed the survey, of whom 1,374 (48%) were self-reported prospective home buyers and were administered questions related to their next home. Among the remaining non-prospective home buyers, 1,172 (41%) report anticipating a major home improvement in the next 12 months—these respondents were administered questions related to their home improvement projects. The sampling error on the total sample is +/- 2%.