HGTV helps inspire millennial home design
Monday, April 03, 2017
Today's first-time homebuyers are looking for more than just a roof over their heads. When it comes to design, they want luxury at a fraction of the price.
The list of wants from today's buyers can be overwhelming for real estate agents, who are challenged to match lofty expectations with their clients' often not-so-lofty budget. Although some homebuyers are open to renovation, their design goals remain the similar across the board.
But where are millennials getting the idea that they should have all they want and more in their first home? The simple answer is from the media, and no media outlet influences the home design market quite like HGTV.
Millennials around the age of 33 are today's average first-time homebuyer, and these millennials are watching a lot of HGTV. In 2016, the network amassed 4.5 million weekly viewers age 21-34. The large millennial viewership of HGTV programming is no coincidence — women and millennial viewers are the network's target audience.
The top shows on the network are home renovation shows like "Property Brothers," "Flip or Flop" and "Fixer Upper." In these shows, viewers watch as designers and remodelers take on big DIY design projects to redesign a house for a client or to flip or sell a home for a profit.
Although the designs featured on the shows differ, there are overarching design trends that extend across all shows. Here are some of the design trends that millennials are being shown over and over again in their favorite HGTV shows and look for before purchasing home.
Open floor plans
"Open floor plan" is one of the most commonly repeated phrases among designers and clients on all HGTV shows. Whether it is listed as a desire by a couple featured on "House Hunters" or requested by a client on a home renovation show like "Property Brothers," open floor plans are the desired home layout for today's buyer.
The walls that used to divide dining rooms from kitchens are no longer in vogue. Instead, they are being torn down in favor of a spacious kitchen that opens up into the living room and dining room, creating one large "great room."
These large great rooms can be easily repurposed as playrooms or offices. Because millennials are opting for small homes and are working from home more than ever, having a room at home that can function as an office during the day and playroom makes the most of the space.
Viewers of the HGTV show "Fixer Upper" have seen the show's renovation stars Chip and Joanna Gaines pulling up the carpeting in older homes in hopes of discovering hardwood flooring beneath. But what has recently made hardwood flooring more appealing than carpeting?
Hardwood flooring gives a home a more modern look, whereas carpets remind millennials of their parents' difficult-to-clean floors. Because 35 percent of millennials own pets, less maintenance and easy cleaning are appealing factors.
Additionally, hardwoods are more environmentally friendly, an aspect of home design that is more important to millennial homebuyers than previous generations. Although hardwoods can raise the price tag on a home and are expensive to install, hardwood flooring appeals to millennials who are fans of either farmhouse style — a style commonly seen on "Fixer Upper" — or modern style.
Millennials care a lot about the look of their kitchens because they like to cook at home. Consumer research firm Maru/Matchbox found that 64 percent of millennials consider themselves experts in the kitchen, and because they plan on spending a great deal of time in the kitchen, they want the design to be functional and appealing.
For millennials, this means a contemporary-style kitchen featuring white cabinets, white countertops and backsplashes, an island and stainless-steel appliances. Instead of the warm-colored walls that were popular with baby boomers, millennials prefer gray walls. Gray and white color schemes are frequently used colors in kitchen renovation projects on HGTV shows, and the knocking down of walls to create a more open layout is common.
Closed-in galley kitchens are torn down and transformed into open-layout kitchens including an island for more room for food preparation. Quartz or granite countertops remain popular and help add a contemporary feel.
Although many millennials are looking for turnkey homes in need of little to no renovation, HGTV renovation shows have inspired some to buy homes in need of renovation in hopes that they can do it themselves. When they do buy homes in need of a little TLC, they are spending big; in fact, millennials are predicted to lead home renovation spending in 2017.
In reality, home renovations are not as easy or inexpensive as they often appear to be on TV. According to home remodeling and design website Houzz.com, millennials are ambitious in their design goals and are dipping into their savings accounts to pay for home renovations.
Despite the negative rap millennials receive for being lazy, they are striving to achieve American dream of owning a home they can be proud of, and, HGTV makes that dream seem attainable.
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