Admittedly, I was drawn to Gen Z decor from the off. I have been seeing it grow on social media for years, and I did covet the mushroom lamps, the wavy edges, the checkerboard prints. But as with any trend, I didn't invest because I assumed that it would be more than likely this love for quirky colorful decor would pass. Plus, when something markets itself so much on being exclusively for those born after the late 90s you do question whether it's the right look for you.
But as with anything Gen Z, they have very quickly skipped the slightly cringe phase and have gone straight to actually very stylish. The Gen Z decor has adapted from pastels and gimmicky light shapes into a style that warrants some attention and I think I am ready to embrace it ever so slightly in my own home.
But how to make Gen Z decor look chic and timeless? Well, it helps that it's very much on the way to becoming both those things, but I think there are still ways to approach this interior design trend that feels decidedly... grown up. So here's what I'm taking from the style and how I am making it work with my own space.
What is Gen Z decor?
Gen Z decor varies, and it started very differently than where it is now. Originally, it was very much about playful decor, gimmicky shapes, pastel colors, and bold pattern. But it's started to grow up, and now it's far more nuanced and chic. It seems more about embracing dopamine decor and just creating spaces that feel joyful and characterful.
Also, it's worth noting that a lot of Gen Z decor trends are inspired by actually very cool and iconic designs - the Cesca Chair comes to mind, and Eero Saarinen pieces. It's a style I find I am increasingly wanting to bring into my own home.
How to decorate with Gen z decor in a chic and timeless way
I should preface with the fact that I am both a colorphobe and a trendphobe, I decorate mostly in neutrals and I very rarely invest in trend-led pieces - two things that Gen Z decor centers itself around. So I have asked some of my favorite interior designers to also help out here with some inspiration.
1. Mixing in unique vintage pieces
This is by far the simplest way to embrace Gen Z style, and it's something I have been doing for a while now. Gen Z decor has no one style, it's an amalgamation of lots of different styles and eras, so what you get is rooms that are full of depth character, and intrigue. I have always thought rooms that stick to just one clear style, no matter what that is, can look a bit flat and almost too considered.
'Bar carts, neon signs, and vintage full-length mirrors are just some of the trends we’re seeing in Gen Z interior design. These trendy elements offer a perfect blend of retro charm and modern style, allowing you to create a space that is both unique and visually captivating, even if you’re not in your 20s!' explains designer Kati Curtis.
'A big Gen Z trend is incorporating a vintage full-length mirror into your interiors. Not only does decorating with mirrors serve a functional purpose, but they also add a touch of nostalgia and glamour. Look for unique and ornate frames from the Paris flea markets or a vintage store that reflect your personal style and place the mirror in a prominent spot to make a bold statement and add light and depth.'
'Remember, the key to tastefully incorporating these trends is to curate a space that’s collected and unique. Embrace your individuality, experiment with different combinations, and have fun expressing your style while adding a touch of Gen Z flair in a way that’s tastefully refined.'
2. Going for a subtle take on maximalism
Again Gen Z decor used to be all about maximalist style, but it's definitely toned it down as the trend has continued to grow in popularity. So the way I am bringing a touch of Gen Z into my home is to pick out a few key pieces that blend my minimalist style with something bolder and braver.
Kati mentioned mirrors, and I do think they are the best way to adapt your interiors to a trend because they are big enough so that they make an impact and a decided change, but unlike paint or wallpaper, you can switch them out quite easily. I am ticking two Gen Z trends off with one buy with the Anthropologie Candace Mirror - oversized and wavy.
3. Decorating with more pattern that suits my home
I am keen to bring more Gen Z-inspired pattern into my home but I still want it to work with my current style and last too. I don't want my rooms to look dated in a few months because I invested in a large floral-shaped lilac rug. I have found the pattern I am seeing that definitely inspired by Gen Z is checkerboard.
And luckily that's a pattern that works with both bold shades and my preferred neutral color scheme. CB2 has been my source for any checkerboard needs, they have a collection of throws and pillows that tick the Gen Z box but also feel sophisticated and neutral enough that they won't date in seconds.
4. Pick more casual furniture pieces
A key piece of furniture that tempted me to Gen Z decor was the couches. Relaxed, low-slung, easily movable, the sofa trends loved by Gen Z seem to be a grown-up upgrade from a blow-up couch or a bean bag.
The iconic Ligne Roset Togo Sofa was the original that sparked this very casual sofa shape decades ago, and as with any much-loved design, the Togo has been replicated over and over so it's now become a very accessible piece of furniture, so mainstream it has become, Urban Outfitters even produces its own version.
So (and this is true of a lot of Gen Z trends) it may not be a new trend, but rather a revival of a retro look. But I do like the feel of this more relaxed, casual seating and I think it's very versatile too, it's a look that works with so many styles.
5. Straying from an all neutral scheme
'I'm a huge fan of bold color and a checkerboard pattern, though maybe not together. In order to follow the trends, but keep your space sophisticated, choose one element for impact (for example, bold floors OR bold colored walls) and pair it with tasteful neutrals and high-quality furniture and antiques, to keep your home from looking like your first apartment out of college.' suggests designer Bethany Adams.
The whole dorm room vibe is exactly what I want to avoid, and Bethany sums up the approach I am taking perfectly. I am never going to bring really bold shades into my home, it's not my style, however, I am keen to introduce some color amongst all my white walls. Pinks, blues, and greens in their more muted forms work really well with the warm neutrals going on elsewhere in my space, so I can easily introduce these with soft furnishings and I am dabbling with the idea of a muted pink paint in my bedroom too.
'When it comes to generational trends, it can be hard to say what's specifically on-trend across the board and what is more of an age-group specific phenomenon. I know plenty of people a couple generations older than I am who love the maximalist motifs often associated with Gen Z right now, and I know plenty of younger design pros who embrace more traditional trends like coastal grandmother and dark academia.' explains designer Kathy Kuo.
'Long story short, good design is about creating spaces you love and that serve your needs in your daily life - there's as much a place in the design landscape for playful pattern mixing as there is for classic antique furniture.'
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I am the Head of Interiors at Homes & Gardens. I started off in the world of journalism in fashion and luxury travel and then landed my first interiors role at Real Homes and have been in the world of interior design ever since. Prior to my role at H&G I was the digital editor at Livingetc, from which I took a sabbatical to travel in my self-converted van (not as glamorous as decorating a home, but very satisfying). A year later, and with lots of technical DIY lessons learnt I am back to writing and editing, sometimes even from the comfort of my home on wheels.
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