Grandmillennial Style Mixes Old-School Aesthetics with Modern Flair—and It's Not Going Away Anytime Soon

The hallmarks of "granny-chic" design include bold patterns, printed curtains, embellishments like fringe and pleats, and heirloom furniture.

neutral-colored living room with blue chairs and red accent pieces
Photo: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

If you've been looking for interior design inspiration and you've found it in your grandmother's rattan coffee table or boldly patterned couch, you're not alone. It seems that more and more people are straying away from minimalist set-ups and opting for something a little more exciting. The granny-chic trend—cleverly dubbed grandmillennial style by Emma Bazilian in a 2019 House Beautiful article—boasts mixed textures, eye-catching embellishments, and heirloom furniture and it has entered the design space in a big way.

Future generations are constantly drawing inspiration from trends of the past, but the resurgence of this specific design style is less of a cyclical pattern and more of a rebellion against the mid-century modern look that has ruled interior spaces for the past several years. "Each generation rebels against the one previous, so the millennials who are now furnishing homes are rebelling against their parents and their style," interior designer Kevin Isbell told Better Homes and Gardens. "Raised during the mass market furniture explosion, they are rebelling against the monochromatic catalog looks that they were raised with and are looking to earlier generations for inspiration."

living room game station on coffee table
Charles Maraia

The grandmillennial style also gives 20- and 30-somethings the opportunity to infuse their spaces with personality. "This generation isn't afraid to mix in brown wood furniture or their grandmother's china to add personality and uniqueness to their homes—and their Instagram feed," Isbell said. The newfound fascination with bold prints, ruffles, embroidered linens, and chinoiserie has awakened newer generations to the interior design possibilities that go beyond neutral color schemes, clean lines, and minimal patterns.

There's more to this trend than simply replicating the sometimes-kitschy rooms you may have seen during your adolescence, however. The grandmillennial style re-imagines old-school design fads and combines them with contemporary looks. "At the heart of this trending design style that falls halfway between minimalism and maximalism is a sense of juxtaposition," interior designer Stefani Stein told Better Homes and Gardens. "The style incorporates traditional details on upholstery and cushions such as tape, trim, or tassels, in monochromatic or analogous color combinations."

If you want to try the grandmillennial style in your own space, there are a few design elements to focus on that will help you achieve this niche look. Consider choosing heavily printed curtains, upholstery, and wall coverings. Embellishments are also a key detail to pulling off this vibe—think ruffles, pleats, and fringe. Combining heirloom furniture crafted from dark woods with contemporary art or metallic details is another trick. No matter how you choose to furnish your home to pull off the look, a well-edited design is key to avoiding a grandmillennial space that looks cluttered.

Most importantly, have fun: "I think this style is so successful because it's just so fun and full of personality," interior designer Nancy Charbonneau told Better Homes and Gardens. "It liberates you to make design choices and create a space that is anything but sterile and cookie-cutter. This grand style encourages you to be different, and I think, especially today, that speaks to a lot of people."

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