Golden pineapples, huge and exotic tapestries, and walls covered in miles of fairy lights. These are just some of the increasingly recurring decoration choices present in many millennials’ homes. These reappearing interior design themes may seem to err on the side of kooky for some, but there may well be a deeper reason for these style choices.
‘Millennial’ and ‘Generation Y’ are just some of the many labels attributed to the generation that grew up in the turn of the century. Another label that has surfaced in the past few years, first dubbed by Halifax, has been ‘Generation Rent’. With property prices constantly on the increase, whilst wages remain comparatively stagnant, the last option they are left with is renting. According to recent surveys, the average cost of a starter home in the UK is £221,000. Meanwhile, the average salary even for a 30 to 34-year-old is £28,900, whereas the average salary needed for a mortgage on a starter home is estimated at £38,917. So it is understandable that today, very few 20- and 30-something year-olds can afford to buy their home, resorting instead to renting. With renting comes many restrictions in decorating options. Most contracts forbid any permanent changes to be made, and often practicalities of already-furnished homes mean the tenant has very little input in their home’s style.
Therefore, the logical solution to making a home feel like home despite it not being your own is to decorate it as uniquely as possible. Cue the seemingly wacky decorations that have been dominating many platforms – from the homeware sections of stores with younger target demographics, to the Pinterest boards of said demographics. Unusual, bright and colourful – but also cheap – decorations are key to the millennial’s home. Such decorations are becoming more creative than in any previous generation, as the use of social media sites allows for the exchange of ideas and images that permit not just an individual, but an entire community, to have input in one’s room style choices.
Often coming hand in hand with these considerations is the influence of millennials’ search for a sense of identity in a society where very few decisions are fully left up to them. Social media allows for the documentation of every facet of our lives, and for those to then be put under greater scrutiny than any prior generation ever faced, and simultaneously for us to be exposed to the personal lives of strangers. From this stems a need for a strong sense of identity, which can be expressed through colours and designs in one’s home.
So, whilst some may simply see wacky tastes in decorations, perhaps it should be viewed as a way for Generation Rent to regain a sense of control over their lives’ direction.