Millennials Didn’t Kill the Guest Room, Boomers Did

Guest room

If you’re a millennial, chances are you remember having a guest room growing up, but don’t have one in your current place and don’t have many friends that do. But are millennials responsible for killing the guest room? No, actually — boomers are.

Okay, and while not every factor behind their disappearance can be blamed on the older generation, one, in particular, can be — and it’s worth discussing.

“The reasons for the guest room’s popularity are the same behind its demise,” writes Andrea Servant Alonso-Misol in an article for Architectural Digest.

“You know the facts: Homeownership has been replaced by rental agreements, flat shares are more common than family units and suburban homes have given way to (very) small city apartments.”

This brings us to the first reason: many millennials and younger generations can’t afford to even break into the property market, let alone buy a home big enough to have a guest room. Some might argue that’s a result of our love for $20 avo brekkies, but it’s also caused by older generations snatching up all the property themselves, using re-mortgaging and negative gearing to keep other generations out.

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Another reason, not a result of boomers but still worth noting, is that the pandemic has shifted our lifestyle. Many of us working from home a few days a week has meant we’ve turned a room that might’ve otherwise been a guest room into a workspace.

“Even post-pandemic, we’re doing lots of things at home: Making art and playing music, exercising, working, cooking from scratch — and we need storage for all the gear that goes with that,” design writer and author Sarah Archer, told AD. “In my experience, that often means space for guests gets sacrificed.”

The pandemic has also played into the current cost of living crisis, which has prompted many to rent out any spare space or to downsize. In fact, research by Finder showed that 13% of Australians — roughly 2.6 million people — had moved back in with their parents due to the rising cost of living. Though, within that group, 36% said they moved back home due to caring requirements.

All this said, these days, many of us, when visiting friends or family, aren’t expecting to stay in a guest room – especially if we don’t even have one ourselves. design advisor and WeIncontro founder Helena Agustí, who shares her bed when guests come over, puts it best.

“We’ve become more flexible with our expectations as guests, and more transparent with what we can offer as hosts,” she says. “My place is so tiny, but it feels like a real home, so when people visit they don’t want to leave! It’s about making them feel cosy.”

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