‘Millennial gray’ is popular for home decor for this psychological reason

Millennials’ taste in home design has become the punchline of Gen Z jokes, as the younger generation mocks the drab, gray decor of their predecessors.

But, as it turns out, there’s a psychological reason behind millennials’ fondness for gray — their penchant for “millennial gray,” as it’s called, can be traced back to the home decor of their childhood, experts say.

“There was an over-saturation of yellow ‘builder beige’ in the ’90s when most millennials grew up,” Los Angeles interior designer Loren Kreiss, the CEO and creative director of the luxe furniture company Kreiss, told HuffPost.

As a result, millennials have, in a sense, become “allergic to warm colors,” he added.

“Millennial gray,” as the trend is called, refers to the neutral hue that drapes every corner of millennials’ home design. hd3dsh – stock.adobe.com

“The shades of gray trend really accommodate our desire to move away from the overstimulating chaos of our childhoods and towards a more serene environment,” Ontario-based interior designer Marissa Warner, the owner of The Home Narrative, told the outlet.

And, coincidentally, gray is a calming color to a minimalist generation that prioritizes “mindfulness” and craves a “calm and stable environment,” noted Jennifer Chappell Marsh, a marriage and family therapist located in San Diego.

“It’s like having one less thing to worry about in a world of uncertainties,” she told HuffPost, adding that a visually “uncluttered house” decorated in “palatable, neutral tones can provide a sense of stability and control.”

“Keeping things simple can really help reduce stress and create a sense of order.”

Experts say that millennials’ penchant for gray decor can be traced back to their ’90s childhoods, when their homes were more vibrant and maximalist. UnitedPhotoStudio – stock.adobe.com
While gray is a great neutral, some designers say it can serve as a canvas for other pops of color. Iriana Shiyan – stock.adobe.com

Not to mention, gray is gender neutral, which aligns “with more inclusive and non-binary values that many millennial parents and couples support,” she added.

Despite the backlash against “millennial gray” — and it’s sister trend “sad beige” — realtors don’t expect the bland color palette to dwindle in the near future.

“We are seeing lots of gray and white interiors within new construction and within flips, and millennials still seem to be placing strong offers on those types of homes,” said Gracie Loebs, a realtor in Virginia.

Although, Kreiss would argue that a “grandma-core” aesthetic is on the horizon, which he believes “might even be worse.”

“Think your grandmother in the English countryside, but hipster: stripes, checkers, and other cheekily ironic and contrived design choices,” he explained. “Everyone wants their house to look like it’s old now.”

Gen Z has mocked millennials’ gray design online. Who is Danny – stock.adobe.com

For those who can’t shake their aptitude for millennial gray but want to add some color to their decor, Warner recommended artwork or one-off pieces of furniture that can “add character and color,” as well as “personal style.”

“Furniture and artwork ― pieces that are unique finds, with a story ― are a great way to warm up a space,” she noted.

“My best advice is to treat your millennial gray as a canvas worth adding to.”