Gen Z and Millennial Design Are More Alike Than You Think, According to TikTok

published Nov 2, 2023
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Head on view of a small kitchen with colorful cabinetry, orange and white checkered wallpaper, and a green and  white checkered backsplash.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

Over the past few years, Gen Z has overthrown millennials as the arbiters of what design trends young people consider cool. “Millennial gray” and “millennial pink” are out, and Gen Z staples like wavy checkerboard prints and mushroom lamps dominate the zeitgeist. But when it comes to trends, one TikToker recently posited that the two generations are much more alike than they think.

Content creator Reeves Connelly (@reevcon) starts his viral video by explaining that he was inspired by TikToker Sierra Campbell’s recent observation that the checkered pattern is “basically Gen Z’s version of the chevron pattern.”

In his video, Connelly goes on to name a series of Gen Z and millennial design trends that are actually pretty similar when you think about it.

“I feel like mushroom-themed decor is Gen Z’s version of the millennial pineapple,” Connelly says, launching into a list of other examples. For instance, he compares Gen Z’s clamshell decor to millennials’ sea urchin-esque decor, Gen Z’s colorful Assouline coffee table books to millennials’ Tom Ford coffee table book, Gen Z’s squiggle mirrors to millennials’ geometric hanging mirrors.

While Connelly admits that his next example is “maybe a bit more of a stretch,” he also argues that “Gen Z’s obsession with cowboy-themed decor is giving off the same vibe as the millennial mustache and top hat trend.”

He wraps up his video with a few more examples: Gen Z cow print versus millennial zebra print, Gen Z neon strip lights versus millennial fairy lights, and Gen Z stacked ring cups versus millennial mason jars.

Since Connelly shared his TikTok on October 27, it has received over 1 million likes and 5.3 million views. Naturally, TikTok users from both generations had plenty to say about his comparisons.

“And the millennial owl has been replaced by the Gen Z frog,” one commenter wrote.

“I know I’m a ‘96 zillennial because of how perfectly divided I am with these trends,” another person wrote.

A third TikToker offered a generous read of changing design trends, writing, “Ultimately everyone finds a new generational font, it’s a delightful surprise every time there’s a new iteration.”