In the mid-2010s, as Pinterest boards and online homeware shopping took center stage, millennials carved out their distinct design aesthetic. Think string lights, quirky flower pots, and that soft, millennial pink vibe you’ve likely seen in countless Airbnb listings. But that was then, and this is now. Enter Gen Z, the newest wave of renters and homeowners, bringing a fresh wave of inspiration to their first abodes. Pastel wall art, squiggly mirrors, LED lights, and mushroom-themed decor are the defining elements of this new aesthetic.
Véronique Hyland, the trendspotter who coined the term “millennial pink,” credits social media, particularly TikTok, for accelerating the evolution of interior design trends. “The life cycle of a trend is definitely much shorter now due to TikTok – practically mayfly-length,” says Hyland.
Let’s take a closer look at the must-have pieces for the Gen Z aesthetic:
The iconic Ultrafragola mirror by Italian architect Ettore Sottsass, dating back to 1970, has found a resurgence in the 2020s. Seen in the homes (and selfies) of influencers like Bella Hadid and Frank Ocean, this mirror has become a quintessential piece. While vintage versions can cost a fortune, affordable dupes and recreations can be found on Etsy, Amazon, and Anthropologie.
A cousin to the squiggle mirror, Areaware’s stacking planters boast a similar rippling shape. Gen Z content creator Reeves Connelly notes their popularity on TikTok, drawing parallels to the ubiquitous mason jars of millennial beverage culture.
Move over, pineapples! Mushrooms are the new obsession, adorning lampshades, candles, and rugs. Whether it’s a nod to legalized psychedelics or a fascination with cottagecore, mushroom-themed decor is everywhere, with over 9,000 results on Target alone.
Goodbye mustache prints, hello cowboy boots and cactus designs. Western-inspired elements, including cow print, have infiltrated Gen Z homes, signaling a shift from the earlier moustache trend.
Hailed by Architectural Digest as a trend that’s “here to stay,” the checkerboard pattern has made its way into bedding, bath towels, and floor tiles. However, TikTok creators warn of its potential overuse, comparing it to the fate of the once-popular chevron pattern.
While canary yellow has been dubbed a unifying color for Gen Z, pastels steal the spotlight in home decor. From wall paint to furniture, Gen Z is enamored with the whimsical charm of pastel colors, a trend mirrored in the fashion world.
LED Light Strips
Say goodbye to millennial fairy lights; LED strips now line the borders of bedroom ceilings across the US. With videos featuring #ledlights garnering over 11 billion views on TikTok, these strips create an ethereal glow, showcasing another evolution in lighting aesthetics.
As Gen Z reshapes the canvas of interior design, their homes are becoming vibrant expressions of individuality. From squiggle mirrors to mushroom motifs, the aesthetic narrative is evolving at TikTok speed. As we bid farewell to checkerboards and embrace the glow of LED light strips, one thing is certain – Gen Z’s design language is rewriting the rules with a colorful, eclectic flair.