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Photography by CODY GUILFOYLE

As you get older, your home design preferences shift from modern to rustic. According to new data, anyway.

The people at Modsy, a design tool that allows you to visualize your interiors via 3D imagery, analyzed user data from their Style Quiz by age groups. In doing so, they discovered that users tend to shift their preferences from an industrial, modern look to more classic, refined, and even rustic aesthetics as they get older.

The two younger generations seem to share similar tastes, for the most part: Gen Z and millennials favored “Mod Visionary” (described by Modsy as a modern, minimal, mid-century style), followed closely by “Elegant Connoisseur” (a mix of vintage styles with modern accessories).

However, interestingly enough, while a modern and industrial style comes next for millennials, the look coming in third place for the youngest generation is “Rustic Warmth,” which more closely parallels the choices of baby boomers: those aged 55-64 chose “Refined Rustic” and “Rustic Warmth” first and second, respectively—thereby suggesting a cyclical pattern in terms of decor preferences.

According to Alessandra Wood, who serves as Modsy’s director of style and holds a PhD in design history, this resurgence in popularity of classic style for Gen Z is due to the generation’s penchant for displaying sentimental items in their spaces.

“Perhaps this reflects the generation’s love for Friday nights cuddled up with a glass of wine, the dog, and binging on TV,” she says. “Overstuffed furniture, layered textures, and vintage collections might read as slightly formal, but Gen Z exhibits them to show where the dweller has been and what they love.”

By contrast, millennials are still obsessed with a sleeker mid-century modern style. “10 years after the start of Mad Men, their grandparents’ mid-century style is still going,” says Wood. “However millennials have put their own spin on the style, mixing it with minimalist forms, eclectic pairings, or industrial overtones.”

As to why each generation seems to gravitate towards certain aesthetics, Wood believes geography is partially to blame. Being as people often choose their homes and the accompanying design according to the constraints of their living environments, where they live generally has some impact on their decor scheme whether they realize it or not.

“Younger generations living in cities are likely living in smaller apartments, so a minimalist aesthetic is more appropriate—perhaps even necessary—for the size of their spaces. Urban areas are also the prime location for the industrial aesthetic, with tons of converted lofts and newer buildings mimicking the loft feel,” explains Wood. “Older generations are more likely to live in the suburbs in larger homes. Stylistically these houses have a more traditional feel and much more space, creating a perfect backdrop for classic pieces of furniture.”

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