I initially wrote a post similar to this some time ago. You can check it out here. The thing is, I wanted to create something a little more in depth. More examples. More explanations. More everything. A guide to grandmillennial home decor, if you will. So, here we are. Are you interested in this decor style, but don’t know where to start? Keep reading for a complete breakdown to help you get the look.
I remember decorating my first apartment. I didn’t gravitate toward furniture sets from big box stores or the ubiquitous farmhouse look. No. I described the look I was going for as ”grandma chic.” I wanted my style to be rooted in tradition, but without being stuffy. At the time, I kept referring to myself as ”grandma chic.” I got some pretty odd stares when I went shopping and tried to explain what I was looking for. Fast forward the better part of a decade, and the style I called grandma chic has blown up into a full-on design movement referred to as grandmillennial.
An Introduction to Grandmillennial Style
The term ”grandmillennial” was first introduced by Emma Bazilian in a 2019 House Beautiful article titled ”The Rise of ’Grandmillennial’ Style.” In the article, Emma writes “Ranging in age from mid-20s to late-30s, grandmillennials have an affinity for design trends considered by mainstream culture to be ‘stuffy’ or ‘outdated’—Laura Ashley prints, ruffles, embroidered linens.”
At its core, grandmillennial style is classic, with a few modern updates. As a perfect example, I recently went through old photos my grandmother’s home. I was easily able to spot elements we both used—gold sconces and skirted tables, to name a few.
By nature, this design style is a mash-up of different design styles and periods. A tight color palette and bright textiles help keep the look cohesive and more chic than stuffy.
One benefit of grandmillennial home decor is that while this trend is on the rise, it allows for a large amount of personalization. I have yet to see two grandmillennial style rooms that look the same. This is in part thanks to a strong focus on incorporating vintage and antique items versus buying everything new.
Elements of Grandmillennial Decor
It can be tough to visualize grandmillennial style with a vague, broad description. Let’s look at some of the design elements frequently used in this design style. I’ll discuss each element and give examples later. But, to get us started, here is an overview:
- Pleated lampshades
- Skirted tables
- Natural materials- wicker, bamboo, etc.
- Pattern mixing
- Ginger jars
- Wall brackets
- Decorating with plates
- Statement mirrors
- Brown wood furniture
Rooms tend to combine multiple of the above elements in a single design. Do you love the grandmillennial decor style, but don’t know where to get started? Try adding just one element from the list and see how it goes.
I love a pleated lampshade. It’s a simple way to dress up a lamp and add a layer of texture to a room. Bonus points if the lampshade has a pattern.
A skirted table is great for adding pattern or a punch of color to a room. A beautiful example is in the below vignette, by Ashley Whittaker.
Incorporating natural materials, like bamboo and wicker, is a great way to add casual warmth to a space.
In this living room, by Sara Bartholomew, there are six different patterns in the pillows. Talk about pattern mixing! the key to keeping to keeping it cohesive is the tight color palette of blue, green, and yellow. To pull this off easily, start with a main, patterned fabric. In this case, the floral. Use colors in that fabric to create your color scheme and choose additional patterns.
Frequently appearing in a blue and white colorway, ginger jars help add visual interest to a space, without drawing attention from the overall design.
Chintz isn’t just for your grandmother. When mixed with more modern or casual elements, it reads more fresh than stuffy.
Wall brackets are used to display art or collections. In the example below, they add emphasis to the cabbage plates.
According to Wikipedia, chinoiserie is “is the European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and other East Asian artistic traditions, especially in the decorative arts, garden design, architecture, literature, theatre, and music.” It frequently makes appearances in grandmillennial home decor in the form of case goods, wallpaper, and pottery.
Plates can be used to help add color and pattern to a space, without detracting from other artwork. In fact, when hung with other artwork, they help accentuate the piece to create a more interesting composition and layered space.
Imagine the below vignette with just a small mirror. It would look a little boring right? The statement mirror adds the extra oomph that brings this entryway from great to fabulous.
Brown Wood Furniture
Brown (not painted!) wood furniture adds needed warmth to a room. A wonderful example is this dining room by James T. Farmer.
If pattern mixing is a hallmark of this design style, wallpaper is one of its top tools. Wallpaper adds color, texture, and pattern to a room to create a more layered look.
Get the Look
Grandmillennial home decor is all about mixing traditional elements with more modern pieces to create a look that is uniquely you. Still not sure where to start? Below are some of my picks to help get the look.
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