Published on October 19, 2019

The generational divide has officially hit the real estate market. As baby boomers look forward to downsizing and simplifying their lives, millennials are gearing up to purchase their first starter homes. The only problem? Younger homeowners think baby-boomer houses are too big.

According to Business Insider, millennials aren’t interested in buying the large, five- or six-bedroom McMansion homes their predecessors built 15 or so years ago when ornate crown molding, damask prints, and sleigh beds were all the rage.

“Tastes—and access to credit—have shifted dramatically since the early 2000s,” reports Candace Taylor of the Wall Street Journal. “These days, buyers of all ages eschew the large, ornate houses built in those years in favor of smaller, more modern-looking alternatives and prefer walkable areas to living miles from retail.”

So what types of features are on the millennial’s must-have list? Clean lines, open-concept floor plans, streamlined appliances, and efficient storage are the big winners. In the wake of minimalism and Scandinavian simplicity, younger generations have adopted a less-is-more approach to real estate, and while they certainly aren’t averse to gut renovations, they’ll avoid outdated interiors, plumbing, and electrical problems if they can.

Whether you’re preparing to sell your home or are simply curious about the ever-changing wants and needs of millennials, here are three big real estate faux pas that turn them off and what to replace them with.  

Ditch: Chocolate-Brown Walls

Embrace: An All-White Palette

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photo courtesy of emily henderson

We’re pretty sure brown will come back swinging one of these days, but for now, millennials are craving a neutral backdrop that doesn’t veer too far from warm grays and whites. Though, that’s not to say they won’t experiment with color through bold accessories, including abstract artwork, shag rugs, and sculptural ceramics.

Ditch: Tuscan-Style Bathrooms

Embrace: Modern Tile in the Walk-In Shower

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Design by Andrea West. PHOTO BY LINDSAY SALAZAR

Baby boomers wanted to feel like they were waking up in an Italian villa every day, and who can blame them? While millennials are all for basking under the Tuscan sun, they don’t necessarily want to channel the Italian countryside in their bathrooms. Instead, they’re swapping out dated bronze finishes, elaborate tapestries, and limestone floors for geometric shower tiles and colorful sinks.

Ditch: Shabby-Chic Kitchens

Embrace: Streamlined Cabinetry

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photo courtesy of fraher and findlay architects

Taking a page from the Scandinavian playbook, younger homeowners are ditching the kitschy farmhouse aesthetic that ruled the early 2000s for Nordic-inspired designs that are both soothing to look at and easy to navigate. Often opting for no hardware at all, ultra-sleek cabinetry is the hottest kitchen trend to watch out for this year.

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