“How beautiful is youth! How bright it gleams, with its illusions, aspirations, dreams!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807-March 24, 1882), American educator and poet. “Morituri Salutamus” (1874)
Who knew that covering the interior-design industry would become a study in age groups and new age terminology? In past columns I’ve talked about zoomers (boomers who refuse to give in to aging), and, at the recent furniture market in Las Vegas, Gen Y was the new buzz word.
Defined as those born between the late 1970s and mid-1990s, apparently they are setting standards for the home-furnishings industry.
Well, you can’t take that literally — all of us do that — set the standard, that is, regardless of age. Each age group has specific needs for its comfort and style and the furniture industry will always oblige. Remember the lava lamp and the bean bag chair? Somebody thought they were comfortable and cool.
So let’s learn a little more about Gen Y and see what the industry is doing to satisfy its cravings.
Members of Generation Y are sometimes referred to as millennials or echo boomers and they are the generation following Generation X, especially people born in Western culture. The generation is also alternatively defined as the children of the baby boomer generation.
This group prefers innovation and flexibility; it thinks nothing about picking up and moving house and home, switching jobs, moving to a new city or changing careers on the spin of a dime.
So it makes sense that if they are furnishing a space, whether it’s a dorm room, apartment or the room back in their parents’ home, they want the latest and the hippest. And if they’re known to move around or change their lifestyles, the furniture needs to be as mobile as they are.
One company stepping up the plate with innovative design is MAC at Home (www.mac-athome.com). MAC’s vice president Mike Brechtel says, “Gen Y shoppers pride themselves on keeping up with the latest trends. Whether it’s the newest technology or a current fashion craze, Gen Y has often moved on to the next trend before it even hits the baby boomer radar.
“They are not going to buy something just because it has a name brand their parents value. They are attracted to the same sleek styling, bright colors and innovative designs that distinguish their cell phones, laptops and PDAs,” he continued.
Okay, with that background, MAC set out to satisfy. It picked colors such as Lime Flavored Green, Cool Black, Hot Pepper Red, Tangerine and Mocha Brown to appear to its creativity and sense of fun and affordability. Most furnishings in the line move easily and feature adjustable seating positions, and fashionable fabrics in microfiber, leather, corduroy, chenille and cotton.
The furnishings are so flexible that when the Gen Ys age a little, they can use the same pieces in a guest room or kid’s room.
If you are a Gen Y, a boomer or zoomer with one, or a Gen X with a Gen Y sibling and you need to furnish a room, you will be armed with a little insight into what a Gen Y may desire and why.
Carolyn Muse Grant is a founder and past president of the Architectural & Decorative Arts Society, as well as an interior design consultant/stylist specializing in home staging. Her Inside Spaces column appears weekly in the Home section of the Review-Journal. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.