The 3 'cringe' interiors trends beloved by millennials and hated by Gen Z - Are you guilty of any?

It's bad news for Mrs Hinch fans, we're afraid...

Modern living room with grey geometric wallpaper, grey sofa, assorted coloured geometric cushions.
(Image credit: Simon Whitmore/Future Publishing Ltd)

An increasing number of TikTok users (specifically, Gen Z-aged TikTok users) have been making fun of millennials a lot of late, and now it seems they've taken aim at their 'cringe' interiors trends.

That's right: it seems that some of the nation's favourite living room ideas have gone the same way as the laugh-cry emoji, side-parting hairstyles, skinny jeans, Harry Potter, and *checks notes* lasagne, as Gen Z has kicked them to the metaphorical kerb.

open plan living room with grey storage, crittall doors through to dining room, coffee table, hanging chair in dining room space, grey sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC)

And so, with that thought burning in our minds, we couldn't help but wonder: which living room trends are giving Gen Z the ick?

With Gen Z reportedly making up almost half (47%) of TikTok’s users, and millennials being the age group with the highest number of Facebook users (596.8 million), a group of very techy people have been able to crunch the data to reveal some stark differences between the two platforms’ interior tastes.

Gird your loins, people, because this could get personal...

1. Anything 'luxe' or 'luxury' is a no from Gen-Z

hallway with grey wall, round mirror and mirrored cabinet

(Image credit: Future)

That's right, everyone: an appreciation of the finer, more sparkly things in life is a big no-no for Gen Z. Which is (sorry) bad news for anyone who loves all things looking glass chic.

'Two styles that feature in Facebook's top interior trends are "luxe outdoor lighting" and "minimaluxe". When I think of "luxe" interiors, items such as sparkly decor, crushed velvet and mirrored furniture come to mind, all of which couldn’t be further away from any of TikTok’s top trends,' says Deirdre Mc Gettrick, home expert, co-founder, and CEO of home furnishing platform,

Ideal Home's junior writer (and our local Gen Z in residence), Jullia Joson, adds: 'Sparkles, mirrored items, and crushed velvet is everything my Mum loves but I myself just can’t get behind, which I think already speaks volumes in itself about the Millennial vs Gen Z interiors debate.' 

Modern grey living room with L shaped grey crushed velvet sofa and minimal glass coffee table on cream rug.

(Image credit: Blackmore Photography Ltd/Future Publishing Ltd)

While crushed velvet and mirrored table legs aren't her vibe, Jullia isn't entirely opposed to the luxe look.

'I feel like there are other ways to embed that "luxury" look that doesn’t have to be in your face – cue quiet luxury,' she says. 

'These items focus more on craftsmanship and timelessness, which is something I’m 100% on board with.'

She isn't alone: "artisanal wares" have over 695.7 million views on TikTok alone – followed closely by "flawsome designs".

In short, the current trend is to eschew all things perfect and polished, and instead embrace all things rustic and handmade by indie designers.

2. Gen-Z isn't here for grey interiors

Living room with white walls, grey sofa and ottoman and large window.

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If there's one thing we've learned from our beloved Mrs Hinch (other than how to keep rescue chickens, that is), it's this: a grey living room never goes out of style.

Except... well, except Gen Z has taken aim at the grey interiors trend, too. They're more into green as an accent colour, and warm neutrals generally.

'Grey is an easy colour to work with, so I can understand why it is popular amongst millennials, being a low-maintenance option,' says Deirdre. 'However, following the pandemic, it seems people wanted to bring the outside in and thus, green became a popular choice for interiors.'

She continues: 'Colour can be daunting, and for some, painting a whole wall or room with any colour other than a monotone or neutral is out of the question. I’d suggest incorporating some colour into your rooms with soft furnishings such as cushions or throws, or even wall art. 

'These subtle additions can still completely transform your space and have it feeling more like your home than a show home.'

green living room with pink couch and cushions

(Image credit: Colin Poole/ Future Publishing Ltd)

Before you rush to check out our amazing list of green living room ideas, though, Ideal Home's editor, Heather Young, says you absolutely don't have to paint over your grey walls if you don't want to.

'I keep being told that grey is over and it's all about warm neutrals, but I remain sceptical,' she says. 

'Grey is such a versatile colour and covers such a wide spectrum that I think we shouldn't be so quick to discount its merits. Plus there are shades of grey that could definitely be classified as 'warm neutrals' so it seems like it's just how you spin it!'

3. Millennials have too many plastic decor items

ight blue home office, fifties wooden desk, shelving unit and white plastic chair, white wire light shade, retro circle print pug, sunburst wall clock, framed print on wall, wooden vases.

(Image credit: TiMedia archive/Future Publishing Ltd)

That beloved plastic desk chair of yours? Apparently it's seriously 'cringe', according to Gen Z.

'Whilst ‘sustainable materials’ and ‘raw, natural materials’ do appear in Facebook’s top 10, the numbers are far lower than those of  TikTok users,' says Deirdre, noting that many millennials are 'set in their ways' (ouch).

She continues: 'Plastic decor has always been around, but as we move into a more environmentally friendly way of thinking, sustainability should always be something we are conscious of. 

'Plastic items are usually the most affordable, so it is understandable – especially in today's climate - as to why they are being favoured. But what people don't realise is that you can get decor items made from raw, natural materials at great prices too. Places like second-hand or antique stores can be a treasure trove for good quality marble, stone or real wood pieces that will add both charm and character to your home.'

green kitchen with wooden table

(Image credit: Lizzie Orme/Future Publishing Ltd)

'Whether you opt to buy decor items made from natural materials second hand or invest in brand new, they are more likely to stand the test of time and age better than most plastic options,' finishes Deirdre.

If you already own plastic decor, however, there's absolutely no reason why you should chuck it – especially as doing so is probably less eco-friendly than styling it up in your home.

'I’d say the vibe I’m going for in my own flat is very ‘organic modern’ which is a blend of mid-century, minimalism, and boho flair altogether,' says Jullia, 'so natural, raw materials for furniture is the way forward for me. 

'However, I don’t mind plastic decor! If you can accessorise it according to what makes you happy in your home, who’s to say what materials and textures you should strictly stick to?'

Grey panelled living room, large oversized wood clock, beige sofa, matching cushions, cream white armchair, wooden console table, rustic wood coffee table and wardrobe.

(Image credit: Joanna Henderson/Future Publishing Ltd)

If you, like this writer, have been left feeling a little sad about your plastic picture frames, don't despair: as ever, when it comes to interiors, it's all down to personal taste.

'While some of these might feel a little dated for me, there’s almost an endearing aspect to these "millennial interiors" that feels very familiar to me, having been surrounded by them growing up,' says Jullia kindly. 

"Although it might not always be to my taste, they’ll nine times out of ten bring to mind a fond memory of my childhood!"

Hear that, everyone? We're retro. We're vintage, even – some might even say we're timeless. And, as my mum (a card-carrying Gen Xer) always says, 'If you’re trying to be cool, you’re not living your life and being true to yourself. 

'Stop caring what a bunch of teenagers and 20-somethings think of you. Because that really isn't cool.'

How do Gen Z decorate their homes?

Gen Z prefer to decorate their homes in warm neutrals, using artisanal wares crafted from natural materials to create a truly organic vibe. Sustainability is incredibly important to them – which is why they eschew the plastic decor beloved by millennials – and their accent colour of choice tends to be green  (or a dopamine-boosting primary colour) rather than grey. Wall lights are a very big deal, too. 

Kayleigh Dray
Acting Content Editor

Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.