Have you heard the buzz about grandmillennial style? Let’s review what this movement is all about and see how to incorporate it into our spaces.
It had to happen eventually. Minimal interiors have reigned in the design world for years, challenging the notions of the previous generations’ inclination for the more is more aesthetic. While minimalism still absolutely has a place in our lives, design portfolios, and organizational techniques, it’s time to welcome someone new to the party: grandmillenial style.
In House Beautiful, Emma Bazillian, writer and editor, coined the term “grandmillenial” to refer to the Millennial generation’s reaction to what they see as the cold austerity of their minimalist predecessors. This “granny chic” style may be a reaction to the mid-century revival of the last decade. “Granny chic” is still fresh and modern; it balances vibrant color and shape with dynamic patterns. This could definitely be seen as a maximalist look, but use a light hand with your decor, and you will have a new traditional style that’s all your own.
You won’t find a lot of metal or lucite furnishings in this interior design trend. Grandmillennial celebrates the resurgence of antique shapes and materials, like a rich walnut sideboard or a Rococo revival sofa, but dressed up in a way that makes it completely fresh and not stuffy at all. This nod to the design world of New York in the late 30s is totally refreshing.
Furniture in natural old-school materials like intricate carved wooden tables topped with flowers or a rattan chaise lounge covered in plush ruffled pillows work for this relaxed style.
Go ahead and indulge in comfortable upholstered pieces that may be a welcome change after a decade of sleek modern design. Don’t let things get cluttered or fussy — intentionality is key.
There are no rules to the grandmillenial palette, but the decor trend is marked by a return to pastel shades like pale blues and yellows, tans, and pinks. These delicate hues are then grounded with strong shades like dark sage, mustard, peacock, and black.
Get the look with black lacquered end tables beside sage floral chairs or a peacock and blush ikat fabric-covered sofa against pale pink walls. You might be including florals, patterns, and colors, but it is not a combination your grandmother would have thought of. Try them out together by creating a mock-up with Spoak’s online design tools.
A chintz couch for your living room evokes old-world charm and modern glamor. It might remind you of that cool late-30s couch in the thrift store that you couldn’t get your eyes off of (but better).
Though the same styles that were popular then are coming back, they return in a new palette that balances out any boring or fussy print with bold color and subtlety.
Cover that camelback sofa you recently scored on Facebook Marketplace with black striped ticking fabric rather than keeping the original floral. Save the busy chintz for accent pillows or a cozy reading chair, but make it a bright mustard for contrast rather than a pale yellow to give it that extra pop.
Having multiple patterns going at once in your space is very granny chic — just make sure there’s a balance between solid color, geometry, and shape.
For example, tone down a colorful Asian-inspired bedroom wallpaper with a tan linen upholstered headboard. Top your bed with tan and white linens, letting the ruffles on the white throw pillows be the only other ornament your bedroom needs.
If there is one hallmark of the grandmillennial look, it’s wallpaper — lots and lots of floral wallpaper. You can make it an intense focal point of your room with a print of a complex painted scene or use a tiny, oft-repeated floral pattern in pale hues.
Grandmillennial wallpapers are a quiet nod to Victorian motifs. Go for blue ferns, repeating gold stars, birds nestled amongst blossoms, quaint pastoral scenes, and damask prints. If papering a whole room seems a little much for your tastes, just paper one accent wall.
Most of us think of grandmillennial lighting as fantastic crystal chandeliers, but if that’s not your style, go for a simple, elegant iron fixture.
Don’t throw out all of those sculptural mid-century light fixtures yet, either! The curves and thin lines are accentuated by the heft of upholstered cottage furniture, wood grain, and pastel colors.
An urn-like table lamp with a painted base doesn't feel over the top when paired with an understated black shade or linen drum shade. Try to pair contrasting materials, like a smooth, ceramic lamp, with a Celosia Velvet pleated lampshade.
We’ve already discussed the patterns and colors popular in this design trend, but what about textiles? Feel free to mix your textiles up more than generations of the past.
Say yes to the eclectic chintz sofa but balance it with muted white sheers against that heavily patterned wall. Smooth fabric upholstery is complemented by hand-crocheted doilies and needlepoint pillows.
Play up natural textures by displaying rough earthenware next to blue and white chinoiserie. Plants are always a welcome addition to the straight lines in a room, but try something besides the much-repeated cacti and succulents of recent years.
Grandmillennial is an opportunity to indulge in full, rich greenery like a pair of Boston ferns hanging on each side of the front porch or a vase full of pale roses on the coffee table.
Nothing says granny chic like displaying a much-loved collection at home. If you collect glassware, pottery, figurines, or mismatched china, this design style celebrates your quirky finds. Place them front and center in a china cabinet or bookshelf. It is a great opportunity to give your space some old-fashioned charm and tell a story with your home decor.
Rather than arranging one style of frame with similar prints on a gallery wall, try hanging a collection of antique mirrors in ornate frames or vintage floral prints mixed in with portraiture. A grandmillennial-inspired functional gallery wall is part sentimentality, part practicality.
Spoak’s interior design suite will let you experiment with a gallery wall layout. Remember, this style is much more laid-back than those of recent years; a relaxed asymmetric layout may strike a chord in you. Have fun with the placement!
Not sure you want to dive into this style completely? Luckily, this is an easy one to explore in stages.
The fact that it is inspired by the nostalgic familiarity of relatives' homes means layering design eras on top of each other is baked into the trend. Rather than changing your entire decor by adding all of the elements of the grandmillennial look at once, see if you can tweak your existing furnishings to add some classic style.
Grandmillennial is as much about an attitude of comfort and relishing familiar traditions as it is about bold patterns and textile choices. There is probably a lot of overlap between this look and your current decor.
Photo Credit: (Left) The Glam Pad
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