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how home decor brands are adapting to millenials’ tastes

Time:2019-03-18 10:41:00Clicks: 146 Font size:T|T

From Asian Paints’ colour palettes to Ikea’s forthcoming collection, brands are tuning into the needs of the generation. Photo courtesy: India Design ID


At the recently concluded India Design ID, an annual luxury design week in New Delhi, ‘Adulting’ — a term used in context of millennials and their inability to perform traditionally adult responsibilities — was the name of one of the four home décor trends of the year. Announced by the paint company Asian Paints, each of these is a package of colours, patterns, material and textures.

The predictions for ‘Adulting’ were a sombre ash-and-ivory colour palette with organic-yet-bright coral and lemonade pops, with repurposed wood as the material of choice, telling in its concern for the environment. The highlighted pattern was typography, a nod to how the millennial generation connects with languages and scripts beyond their aspect as a tool of communication. Last year, the last of the millennials graduated from college and started work. Presumably by now, the generation has settled into some form of pay cheque-generating employment — a 9-5 job, a string of freelancing assignments, a start-up, or what have you.

But this is a largely mobile generation, valuing experience over older notions of stability. In some industries, they have more market value when they’re moving jobs, and possibly cities, every couple of years, sharpening skills and expanding their network along the way. In others, it’s not the title or the corner-cabin they’re after — it’s the initiatives they start, ideas they put into motion, and the changes they lead.

In short, millennials are a self-aware and restless bunch, whose lives have been shaped by global economic downturns, the Internet boom, increased political polemic, and the pin-prick awareness of shifting seasons. And no space reflects their sensibilities better than their home.

A private space for social expression

At the recently concluded India Design ID, an annual luxury design week in New Delhi, ‘Adulting’ — a term used in context of millennials and their inability to perform traditionally adult responsibilities — was the name of one of the four home décor trends of the year. Announced by the paint company Asian Paints, each of these is a package of colours, patterns, material and textures.

The predictions for ‘Adulting’ were a sombre ash-and-ivory colour palette with organic-yet-bright coral and lemonade pops, with repurposed wood as the material of choice, telling in its concern for the environment. The highlighted pattern was typography, a nod to how the millennial generation connects with languages and scripts beyond their aspect as a tool of communication. Last year, the last of the millennials graduated from college and started work. Presumably by now, the generation has settled into some form of pay cheque-generating employment — a 9-5 job, a string of freelancing assignments, a start-up, or what have you.

But this is a largely mobile generation, valuing experience over older notions of stability. In some industries, they have more market value when they’re moving jobs, and possibly cities, every couple of years, sharpening skills and expanding their network along the way. In others, it’s not the title or the corner-cabin they’re after — it’s the initiatives they start, ideas they put into motion, and the changes they lead.

In short, millennials are a self-aware and restless bunch, whose lives have been shaped by global economic downturns, the Internet boom, increased political polemic, and the pin-prick awareness of shifting seasons. And no space reflects their sensibilities better than their home.

A private space for social expression


Likewise, designers in the demographic too are creating home décor that comes from a space of self-expression rather than the perfunctory needs of a market. In fact, they have realised that this niche is their growing market. For instance, the collections at Safomasi, a Delhi-based handprinted textile design and décor studio, result from 33-year-old co-founders Sarah Fotheringham and Maninder Singh’s life of extensive travelling. With words like “wanderlust” or “flâneur” featuring prominently on many a millennial’s social media bio, and with a whole growing crop of travel-and-food bloggers in this generation, being a traveller (as opposed to a tourist) has sealed itself firmly as a millennial activity and/or aspiration. It is this market that Safomasi has — unwittingly at first — tapped into.

“For each collection we’ll pick a destination that we feel will have visual appeal to inspire us, and that our customers will feel a connection to, either through having been there or experienced a similar landscape, or where they might be curious to go,” says Fotheringham. Their latest line, called ‘Indian Ocean’, includes towels, rugs, cushions covers, place mats and beanbags, among other household items. It was inspired by the duo’s travel to Mauritius, “but it could also relate to other island holidays,” she stresses.

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