Hot Trends and Popular Styles for Millennial Home Buyers

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To understand what's hot among millennial home buyer trends today, it's almost easier to look at what is not hot and what buyers don't want. For example, there is a lot about the 1980s that many millennials don't appreciate, such as much of the music (except for maybe U2) and a lot of the homes built during that decade.

In fact, homes built from 1970 to 1999 are often passed over for older or newer homes. Once a home is around 25 years old, all sorts of things can begin to wear out or go wrong. All of which means doing your best Nancy Reagan impersonation and just saying no to:

  • Shag carpeting
  • Avocado-colored appliances
  • Walnut cabinets and baseboards
  • Formica counters
  • Gold-toned trim for lighting and bath fixtures

These home elements from the '80s are known to date a home dramatically. And to renovate (and modernize) a property that has these kinds of defining features is often thought of as especially challenging task.

Popular Styles and Ages of Homes for Millennials

The three hottest trends in home design for millennials today are:

  • Pre-World War II. These homes can be Victorians, such as Italianates or Queen Annes, Arts and Crafts bungalows, Tudors, Colonials, California Missions, and Greek Revivals—almost any type of architecture with Old World style, charm, and character. The exteriors are frame and wood, covered in stucco or brick and stone.
  • Mid-century homes. This is a term for homes built between 1930s and 1960s. While Cape Cod houses fall into this category, the period is better known for its sleek '50s style, modern homes such as those built by Frank Lloyd Wright and Wright-inspired builders such as Streng and Eichler. Many of these mid-century homes have flat or shallow-pitched roofs, geometric shapes and triangular windows, cantilevered construction, and open floor plans.
  • Mediterranean. These homes incorporate Spanish or Italian details, boast stucco exteriors and tile roofs, and are mostly multiple levels. The entrances are grand and generally covered. Homes feature archways throughout and rounded wall corners. Patios sport columns and are filled with rustic terracotta pottery. You'll see lots of wrought iron accents; interior floors are ceramic or Travertine, and dramatic staircases are located most often near the front of the home. Although you will find these homes constructed in the early 1920s, most often you will find this style copied by tract home builders after the year 2000.

Trending Kitchen Designs Millennials Love

Popular kitchen style trends are either original period details—pure and unspoiled—or totally and completely modern. Lots of contrast.

Herringbone floors; peach, pink or blue four-inch bathroom or kitchen tiles; Art Deco light fixtures and antique Wedgewood or O'Keefe and Merritt stoves are among the original features buyers crave. Never the twain shall meet in between, which means no wallpaper, no blue-and-yellow ducks with white neck-ribbon parading on borders, and no boxed ceiling lights.

Essential Items Millennial Buyers Demand in Kitchens

  • Professional six-burner ranges and convection ovens
  • Whisper-quiet commercial exhaust fans and range hoods, ceiling or island mounted
  • Top-of-the-line built-in stainless steel dishwashers and Sub-Zero refrigerators
  • Built-in wine coolers
  • Exotic stone, poured cement, or granite counters
  • Cabinetry with all the storage bells and whistles, including glass door panels; maple, glazed or ebony colors are popular
  • Kitchen islands with an extra sink
  • Apron-front farm kitchen sinks or hammered-copper sinks; any unique product as long as it costs more than $1,000
  • Floor-to-ceiling spice racks
  • Towel warmers and warming trays
  • Built-in microwaves with matching cabinetry fronts
  • Recessed lighting combined with hanging-pendant fixtures

Trend Designs in Bathrooms

In bathrooms, buyers want:

  • Lots of glass and stone
  • Vessel sinks of all shapes and sizes mounted into antique dressers or Asian-inspired vanities
  • Brushed nickel replaces chrome options
  • Double-handle faucets are mounted on the walls and vanities float from the floor
  • Dual-rain showerheads and handheld sprayers for cleaning showers
  • Power-assisted, low-rise toilets and bidets
  • Motion light sensors

Color Trends for Millennial Home Buyers

Earth-tone, soft colors. Lots of blues, greens, browns—bringing the outdoors inside. Sharp contrasts with brilliant hues of red or orange accent walls.

Specialty Room Trends

  • Open floor plans combining family rooms with kitchen and dining areas
  • Media rooms
  • Playrooms for kids
  • Wine cellars
  • Work-out rooms

Floor, Walls, and Windows Trends

Buyers are moving away from carpeting, even in the bedrooms. If carpeting is used at all, it's used sparingly. Walls are either plaster, trowel textured or completely smooth. There is a purist movement to retain original windows from pre-WWII homes, refinishing, re-glazing and replacing counter-weights or sash cords. Otherwise, the windows are dual pane. Here are popular flooring types:

  • Travertine or marble, 18-inches or larger
  • Bamboo
  • Wood and exotic hardwoods such as Brazilian cherry
  • Cork

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