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Generations and housing

According to generational research, our values are established between ages 16 and 24.  When it comes to our priorities in life, that is when we are shaped the most. This has long been of interest to researchers – including for us at Elfa. What role does the era in which we grew up play for our housing, and what importance does this have for storage in our homes?

Today’s generations are commonly delineated as follows: Gen Z (ages 16-25), Millennials (ages 26-41), Gen X (ages 42-57) and Boomers (ages 58-76).

Interior architecture

We all need a roof over our heads, but how should everything under that roof look? Some trends may lean nomadic, and many people are moving out of cities and trying to become independent of one another, but the home in some form will always be important.

When jobs and offices move in, more sophisticated foods are prepared and people grow their own food more and more, we become increasingly tied to our homes. This also means our homes will serve multiple roles. A room needs to be able to be used for multiple purposes instead of specifically as just a living room, for example, according to Mia Erlandsson, architect, interior design architect, and Elfa Insights member.

New housing needs

When it comes to the needs and requirements we have of our future homes, there are generational differences. Within a few years, many among the younger generations – Gen Z and Millennials – will need bigger homes. By comparison, only a smaller share of Gen X-ers and Boomers will have the same needs. Some among the oldest generation, Boomers, even want smaller homes in the future.

Good storage space

When we talk about the size and space of a residence, it is also important to consider storage in the home – which is also prioritised differently among different generations. But many people request more storage when moving and changing to a new home. Boomers and Gen X-ers are often satisfied with their current storage availability. But many Millennials and Gen Z-ers prioritise more storage than they currently have with a potential move. What most have in common is that their primary requirement for a future home is good storage space.

Multi-generational housing – a variation on collective housing

We are still designing and building homes for nuclear families, even though we have loads of single-person households and other constellations. The housing types of tomorrow may look different. One concept that may make a comeback, if in a slightly updated version, is collective housing. More sharing of things, more common spaces – more sustainability. Another form of housing that may become increasingly trendy is so-called multi-generational housing. This means the entire extended family, including grandparents or grandchildren, live together in one house or close to one another.

Elfa Insights 2022

Elfa Insights is Elfa’s think tank where we investigate trends, needs and challenges related to storage. We do so by conducting consumer surveys and collecting views and insights from leading experts in the fields of architecture, sustainability, fashion, interior design and future predictions. This gives us the opportunity to delve deep into our favourite subject, storage, and inspire others to bring order, structure and harmony to their home and thus create space for important everyday things.

Anders Parment 

Generational researcher, author and social commentator. Works as a teacher and researcher at Stockholm Business School on issues relating to the future and how new generations are shaping it. As well as writing books (he will shortly be publishing one about Generation Z), Anders is a speaker and works with organisations to help them better understand the future.

Mia Erlandsson 

Architect and interior architect at White Arkitekter. Works on everything from major public projects and process management to small detailed interior solutions and design concepts. Chair of the panel of judges for the “Golden Chair” award presented by the Swedish Architects organisation for the best interior architecture in Sweden. 

Charlotte Mattfolk 

Framtidsexpert, entreprenör och strategisk rådgivare. Grundare till AI-plattformen IAMAI som matchar managementkonsulter med uppdrag och ger tillgång till ”Streaming Knowledge”. Författare till framtidsstudien 4 Scenarios for a Future Life.

Christine Dalman

Elfa’s Senior PR Specialist and Storage Expert for the past 30 years. 

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