Photo: FollowTheFlow/Getty Images; Chandelier: Yastrebinsky/Getty Images
Grand Style: How to Blend Grandma’s Cosy Decor With Modern Flair
BY Viia Beaumanis | May 1st, 2023
Pleated lampshades, skirted tables, fringe, trim, chinoiserie, curtains, a rattan coffee table neatly stacked with books, wallpaper: so-called Grandmillennial decor is a welcome reprieve from the more generic minimalist interiors that have trended for so long. Inspired by the warmth one might feel in a particularly elegant grandmother’s home, its cosy-chic quality is as much about aesthetics as entertaining. A longing for charming dinner parties, candlelight, fresh flowers and beautiful tablescapes that shifts the focus from our devices, social media and work to more convivial social interaction — and its old-school trappings, vintage crystal and china, monogrammed linens, a vase of fresh peonies.
Truly, Grandma Style, in its myriad iterations, has been a strong trend for a while now. The kitschy cabbage-rose Victoriana of Granny Chic was followed by Coastal Grandma, an airier beach-centric look of neutral colours, pale wood, and natural textiles that’s basically Diane Keaton’s house in Something’s Gotta Give. And now, Grandmillennial, which updates the colour and pattern of the former for less fustiness and blends it with the sophistication of the latter, winds up somewhere between Palm Springs Pulitzer and Upper East Side Manhattan.
Neoclassical and slightly preppy, a melange of polished wood, bright colours and striking patterns, Grandmillennial decor is beautifully layered, but well edited to avoid clutter. A style known for displayed collections of china and ceramics to glassware and gallery walls, inherited or cherry-picked from antique stores and flea markets, it’s traditional with a clean, modern twist. The juxtaposition of a modern framed mirror on a classic print wallpaper, abstract art mixed with antique furniture, it’s the mix of old and new that makes it feel contemporary yet timeless.
10 Ways to Get the Look
Fresh and classic, a blue and white palette is very Grandmillenial. Go with a pair of these or take inspo for wallpaper and fabrics.
2. Prints & Textiles
For floral, birds, chinoiserie or toile, avoid overly precious patterns. Clear, bold block prints are a great counterpoint in a mix. That said, for carpets and curtains to slipcovers, upholstery and wallpaper, a judicious approach is key. You want a vibrant medley but go too far and it can be more Granny than Grandmillennial.
3. Ornate Chandeliers
A showpiece pendant throws a warm, glamorous glow over a room. Make sure it’s on a dimmer, and remember small shades look terrific in beiges and metallics.
4. Rattan, Bamboo, Wicker & Wood
Scatter in some new and vintage natural accent pieces — side tables, consoles, armchairs and stools — to mix in with the look’s classic flooring.
5. Darker Woods
After years of paler teak furnishings and modern blond and grey hardwood floors, the Grandmillenial look brings back classic walnut, cherry and mahogany.
6. Skirted Tables
A real classic of the genre, this also allows you to find a cheap round table at a second hand shop or on Facebook Marketplace and drape it. Or nail one together. It is not uncommon to lift these skirts and find a humble plywood frame underneath — this look is all about the fabric. Which takes us to …
7. Ruffles, Pleats & Fringe
You can definitely fringe that table skirt, as well as your curtains and anything upholstered, sofa to side chairs. This is also a space for pleated table lamp shades, which yes, you could have done in the curtain or upholstery fabric you’ve selected
8. Needlepoint Pillows
It goes without saying. Go for something cheeky like this or this. Or do it yourself.
Silver, china, burnished brass, crystal, you want to highlight an heirloom vibe. Display mismatched sets of vintage plates (that you actually use for dinner parties) — you’ll find a wide selection on Etsy. Start a random collection of chinoiserie pumpkins or Mosser glass — particularly their pale green opaque Jadeite. Snap up some rose-coloured glasses for open shelves. Toss in a bar cart and top it with glass decanters.
10 Gallery Walls
Whether its family photos, original art or images you’ve ordered online from Postery, with this decor the frames are as important as the pictures. Look for embellishment and metallics, wide frames and thin, that look straight from the antique shop or attic. Remember, images here are a great place to add in some modernity.
Do you have something in your own collection that you think might be worth a few bucks? Looking to buy or sell? Browse the Zone Classifieds and post your ad here.