Picture an old, traditional American home. Lots of moulding, ornate details and curved, intricate furniture. Now throw in modern art, some sleek, modern furniture and a frilly pillow (or three). This is granny chic — and it’s all the rage in the design world.
The trend, also referred to as “grandmillennial” or “grandma chic,” is best described as a juxtaposition between old and new. Design blogger Ashley Hardison said in an email that granny chic spaces are “filled with patterns, texture, light and moments to gather,” with antique furniture, old books, candles and plenty of color.
“I gravitate to grandmillennial style because it’s ‘anti-trend,’” lifestyle blogger Julie McConville said via email. “It’s a classic style that, with very few tweaks, will look current for years to come. It’s like the Jackie O of interiors.”
Though the name sounds, for lack of a better word, rather grand, the style isn’t difficult to replicate. We spoke to several interior designers and decor bloggers about ways you can bring a little bit of granny chic into your home.
Meet the Expert
- Ashley Hardison is a designer, blogger, and owner of FIG Design Company filled with inspiring vintage interiors and exteriors.
- Julie McConville is a lifestyle blogger in London and owner of Fox & Park specializing in vintage home goods.
- Jennifer Harrup is an interior designer and founder of Jennifer Laura Living, a blog with a focus on DIY grandmillenial decor.
- Katherine Medlin is an interior stylist in Tennessee and the blogger behind Pender & Peony specializing in vintage and antique decor.
01 of 08
Always Choose Wallpaper
A colorful, patterned wallpaper is a staple of the granny chic style — much more so than any paint job. It’s an easy way to bring the vibe to your space, especially if you opt for peel-and-stick wallpaper over traditional.
“I feel like grandmillennial isn’t complete without some element of wallpaper,” interior designer Jennifer Harrup said via email. “You can absolutely do a room without wallpaper, but I feel like if you have a wallpaper that is a toile or floral, your room is automatically going to have that grandmillennial feel.”
02 of 08
Pick Your Pattern(s)
Speaking of patterns, wallpaper is only one way to incorporate them into the look, but there are so many opportunities you can (and should!) take advantage of. The simplest way to do this? Fabrics.
Harrup says pillows, curtains and upholstery are essentially blank canvases for florals, toile and other granny-esque patterns. But you don’t have to stop at chintz curtains or plaid pillows — incorporating patterned decor, such as blue and white chinoiserie ceramics, are granny chic central.
03 of 08
There’s one specific pattern you don’t want your grandma chic space to lack: Florals. Flowers and grandmillennial go hand-in-hand, so incorporate them into your wallpaper, fabrics, ceramics or artwork.
“Patterns like chintz, Indian block print, and botanicals work beautifully for fabrics, while Dresden style florals, Rose Medallion, and other Chinoiserie porcelains are perfect for ceramics,” blogger and stylist Katherine Medlin said in an email.
And don’t just stop at patterns: Designers recommend filling antique vases with fresh blooms as well.
“Florals are charming as fabric on a slipcovered chair, a tablecloth [or] pillows of any size,” Hardison said. “Floral art is always delightful, and you can never go wrong with a vase or pitcher filled with fresh flowers. You can use florals all together in the same pattern, or mix and match your floral fabrics.”
04 of 08
Bring the Color
Grandmillennial is all about color, though that’s about as far as the guidelines go. As long as you’re filling the space with color, you can choose bold, saturated hues or keep it more light and airy with soft tones.
“When it comes to color, there is no right or wrong — just make sure color is evident,” Hardison said.
McConville says some common granny chic picks include blues, pinks, greens and white. But again, you can incorporate whatever colors you love most.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Balance Straight Lines and Curves
The granny chic mesh of old and new is perhaps most apparent when choosing furniture. Hardison says you need to take care to pick pieces that have classic elements, such as curved arms or cabriole legs, and pair them with more modern furnishings, such as a straight-backed sofa.
06 of 08
Create a Cozy Interior
For many people, “granny” is synonymous with “cozy.” This is still true for grandmillennial, though you should think of it as, “cozy, but make it stylish.” Hardison says to always have pillows and blankets when designing a granny chic space.
“The thing that is fun with the pillows is that you can have a floral fabric with a double pleat edge mixed with a solid velvet pillow trimmed out in a Samuel & Sons piece, and then maybe a gingham print in a different size which will allow you to accomplish layers, textures, and dimension … everything you need,” she said.
07 of 08
Say Goodbye to Bare Surfaces
On the scale of minimalism to maximalism, granny chic is more aligned with “cluttercore.” Medlin says any shelving, sideboards and tables should be decked out with unique tchotchkes, travel curios and fresh flowers. Other common knickknacks: vintage silver or brass, candles and artwork, both classic and modern.
“Grandmillennials are tired of the blank spaces and minimalism, but we want our decor with history [and] with character,” she said. “It’s even better when the decor has meaning to us and our families, so we are particularly partial to family heirlooms and curios that express our personalities.”
This eye for the unique means the trend can embrace sustainability — instead of mass-produced pieces, those going for a granny chic look often search through second-hand and thrift stores for one-of-a-kind decor to upcycle.
08 of 08
Underneath the patterns and frills, Harrup says the bones of a grandma chic space should include moulding. Like wallpaper, moulding gives you a classic base that you can build on with more modern elements.
“Wall moulding is a big element that you’ll see pretty much in any grandmillenial interior [and] that’s something that is not going to go out of style,” Harrup said. “It’s not going to in five years be like, ‘oh gosh, we’ve got this beautiful wall moulding on our walls we want to rip off.’ … Moulding looked great 100 years ago and it’s going to look great in 100 more years. It’s not going to go out of style.”