How to Attract Millennials with Color

The Millennial Generation is an increasingly important target market for the multifamily industry because of its size, buying power and perspective.
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The Millennial Generation is an increasingly important target market for the multifamily industry because of its size, buying power and perspective. The right approach to color can go a long way toward attracting this important demographic.

Born in the 1980s and 1990s, Millennials represent the largest population segment in the United States. These 20- and 30-somethings are just entering their prime earning years.

It’s a diverse and tech-savvy group, and their unique experiences have shaped their attitudes, expectations and outlooks. The demographic is a big one—there are about 80 million individuals within it—but Millennials have many things in common. They tend to be optimistic about the present and the future, and, in many ways, they have a different approach and outlook to life than do their parents and grandparents.

Millennials are hyper-connected, yet place a premium on customization and self-expression. Color is a good way to appeal to those desires, by evoking a unique look and feel that attracts the Millennial demographic. In today’s competitive marketplace and a world saturated by choices, color can be used as an effective way to differentiate multifamily housing. And the Millennial zeitgeist has been an important driver of color trends in recent years.

Businesses across many economic sectors are making a concerted effort to reach them. That includes the multifamily housing industry, which has begun to design communities with Millennials, who crave convenience and flexibility, in mind.

Indeed, members of this generation are interested in more than just a roof over their heads. The space they inhabit is an important part of their life experience. They live in the moment and seek to create meaning in all aspects of their lives. Millennials want their communities to be hip and upscale, but they’re socially and environmentally conscious, too, and expect the design of their housing to reflect those values. They crave places that fit in with their lifestyle and meet their individual needs, spirit and style.

Millennials react differently to color than previous generations. That allows multifamily communities to cater to Millennials by choosing color palettes that resonate with them.

The way Millennials see the world is reflective of their color preferences. Colors with mindful and optimistic vibes are popular with them. Millennials have a connection to their community and the environment, and seek organic shades that bring the outside in. Botanical and foundational colors feel authentic and encourage a sense of retreat even as Millennials go about their busy lives. While they find comfort in natural tones, the fact Millennials have known nothing but a connected world can’t be overlooked. More saturated, tech-driven hues appeal to and inspire them so long as the colors remain authentic and honest.

As with other generations, Millennials have been strongly influenced by their experiences. They lived through the Great Recession and saw its effects on their families and friends. As economic conditions have improved, they feel strong senses of momentum and optimism. Bold, energetic colors reflect those feelings and, at the same time, can play to Millennials’ desire for individualism and originality.

They aren’t afraid of creativity, and, in fact, embrace it. They’re interested in how colors can play off one another and be used to create certain feelings or moods. At the same time, Millennials are highly educated consumers and want to know they’re making the best decision. Technology that allows them to experiment with color and see the way it transforms spaces appeals to them, but also gives them confidence in making decisions.

Anne Diedrich is an interior designer focused on the multifamily segment. Anne has been with the Sherwin-Williams Company Color Marketing & Design Department for seven years.