When it comes to decor for the homes of millennials like me, we do like things that are a mix of old and new. So when doing up the home, there does need to be certain elements of nostalgia. I think there’s a reason why things like terrazzo juxtaposed with neon signs are doing so well with the millennials as the thought is that a material like terrazzo is something that a lot of us grew up seeing in our childhood in art deco building in many cities across the country and it is something that we associate with our parents’ times. So now as millennials, we have taken something like a terrazzo and made it fun, cool, fresh, and relevant again.
When thinking about decor, a lot of pieces that have that old-world charm can be reused and updated and would work really well and that’s another reason why mid-century furniture is doing so well. Mid-century furniture came along in the 1950s and is made with a lot of natural materials like cane, in geometric, angular designs. This type of furniture has made a huge comeback and evolved into mid-century-modern furniture, which takes inspiration from mid-century design elements and modernises them into something really interesting.
For people who may be on a bit of a tighter budget, there are a lot of fun decor elements that one can play with. You can try and upcycle items that you picked up from a flea market or junkyard. For example, something like an old door can be repainted and hung up as an artwork on the wall or you can take an old cabinet, strip it down, repaint it and have a really fun DIY project.
For a lot of Gen-Y-ers, there is another direction when it comes to their home decor and that is to be plant parents. This kind of started in the lockdown, when people were confined to their homes and didn’t have access to outdoor spaces — especially people that lived in cities. During this time, many people chose to bring the outdoors inside by bringing in lots of greenery by way of plants. One of the one easiest ways to do up your space is to have lots of plants coupled with a bit of terrazzo, some nostalgic elements and all of the modern amenities that you need. Further, you can add really sleek modern, decorative light fittings to ensure a nice high-low mix. A high-low mix is a combination of higher-end pieces interspersed with inexpensive decorative items, which help the space look very chic and upscale.
While adding art to bare walls is a great idea, it must also resonate with the owner. Similarly, accessorising the space with the right things is also importantshutterstock
Also, I feel that where a lot of people miss the mark is in the way they accessorise their homes. A lot of homes end up feeling very empty and not well styled. For example, there will be a centre table but there are no coffee-table books or candles on it. Accessorising a space is actually very simple — plants are of great use when it comes to accessorising, and of course, there should be some personal items like photo frames, candles at different heights, sculptural pieces, etc.
When it comes to art on the walls, I strongly believe that you should pick pieces that deeply resonate with you, rather than looking at what the yield will be or how expensive or how cheap it is. Art has to speak to you and elicit a reaction from you because it’s something that will be on your wall every single day, which you will have to interact with. I think the worst thing is if you don’t feel anything when you look at a painting. A lot of people buy art just because it looks pretty or because they want to put something on the wall but they don’t actually connect with the artwork and I think that’s probably the biggest mistake people make.
To give an example of the above, there is this artist by the name of Madeeha Attari, who works out of Goa. She lost her father during the lockdown, and she was not able to meet him to say goodbye. She did this series of paintings called ‘Weeping Words’ as an ode to him. The paintings feature her father’s favourite Urdu poetry with long streaks of paint that make it look like the words are crying. While this may seem like a morose theme to a lot of people, I really connected with it because the time we spent during the pandemic was a life- changing experience for everyone. It is the time in our lives that we will all remember. For me, I’m always going to remember it because that’s the time when my daughter was born and my business really turned around. It is always going to have a very specific memory for me and I wanted an artwork that commemorated this time and everything that we’ve been through, these last two years. It’s not necessarily a pretty painting but it holds a very deep meaning for me. Whether it will appreciate in value, I have no idea and that is totally secondary for me.
Neon signs are making a comeback to many of our houses because they are fun and have an element of nostalgiashutterstock
For Pets And Kids
I think that for a lot of millennials having pet-and-kid-friendly decor is very important. So, for example, the way that I have made my home pet-and-kid-friendly is by using non-toxic plants (of which, I have over 100), especially as accessible heights, so pets and kids will not have any issue if they come into contact with them. For plants that could be slightly more toxic, I ensure that these are places in extremely tall, waist-high planters, which will automatically inhibit contact with kids and pets.
The other tip for pet-friendly decor is to be very mindful of the kind of upholstery you choose for your furniture. One of the things I swear by for my furniture is nanotech coating, which is just an invisible spray that offers protection for your furniture from water, dirt, and stains. This helps make the space very maintainable and ensures that your space always looks fresh and always looks good.
Just Have Fun
Finally, the most important decor tip for millennials is to just have fun with it, let it be yours and let it speak about your personality. It doesn’t have to look like some fancy hotel room; I think that some of the best homes really exude an individual owner’s personality, which really needs to shine through. So, don’t bother with everything being totally perfect and totally in place, or everything being symmetrical, every cushion being perfectly matched or every candle being just the right height. None of that really matters. The more lived-in the space is and the more personality it has is way more important and that is what will really connect to people that come into your home and will also make the home feel truly yours.
The author is principal designer at Mumbai-based interior design firm, Essajees Atelier