Grandmillennial Design Style: A Complete Guide

Written by Laura W

Grand … What?

DEFINING THE STYLE: If you’re asking yourself, “What on earth is Grandmillennial design?” we get it. It’s a mouthful! But what do we mean? Some describe this style as the best of two worlds: traditional decor and modern design. The aim is to create a delightfully dimensional and comfortably nostalgic aesthetic. 

WHERE IT ORIGINATED: Sometimes dubbed “Granny Chic,” Grandmillennial style came  from the desire for the warmth and comfort of Grandma’s house, while harnessing the modern interior design styles of CB2 or AllModern and eliminating clutter. Though Grandmillennial design has been around for decades, a refreshed comeback is in the making. In fact, if you’re an HGTV fan, “Home Town” host Erin Napier is a pioneer for the style. 

WHO IT APPEALS TO: You guessed it, millennials! People in their late 20s and 30s are adopting this decorating approach and making it their own. It’s almost as if there’s a new claim being staked on the rights to the decor that millennials grew up with. Yet, anyone at any age can easily adapt their space to this charismatic way of decorating. That’s the beauty of Grandmillennial style. It’s broad, yet niche, owing to the fact that many “Grandma” decor pieces are unique, passed down through generations.

A Breath of Fresh Style

Grandmillennial design is layered and fulfilling, allowing for more than one story to be told. It’s the past that shaped you entwined with the future you’re creating. Offering a breath of fresh air in the design world, this approach liberates us from the neutral, muted color palettes and clean minimalistic furniture lines that have dominated home decor the last few years. Vivid color is important in Grandmillennial decorating, and we are seeing an emergence of them all — shades of blue, green, yellow, pink, even purple. Tastefully applied, of course.

Think texture, as well. It’s important to note that in the world of interior design, there are both tactile textures (those which can be physically felt) and visual textures (those that can be seen by use of color or patterns, such as wallpaper that looks textured, but is actually smooth to the touch). Velvet, linen, cotton, fringe, pleats, contrasting colors, etc. would all fall under the general umbrella of texture. Furthermore, vintage/antique elements of this design style include:

  • Grandma’s china
  • Tasseled lamps, throw pillows, and furniture
  • Lace or doilies placed on wood furniture
  • Pleated lamp shades
  • Embroidered linen
  • Chinoiserie
  • Rich wood furniture, such as mahogany, cherry, and walnut
  • Vintage brass
  • Ornate chandeliers
  • Rattan, bamboo, and wicker furniture
  • Colorful furnishings like chairs, sofas, and dining chair cushions

Many of these elements can be found second-hand at a thrift or antique store, if not at your grandmother’s house. While going out and hunting for these pieces is half the adventure, maybe it’s not your cup of tea. No worries — just look to social media! There are a number of accounts that sell these items, doing all the physical hunting for you at their own thrift stores and antique malls. When you’re choosing picture frames to fit into your Grandmillennial decor, wood frames, metal frames, and even canvas floaters are all possibilities. Our Wood Frame Profile 721 comes in four colors with ornate detailing, but the slim size gives it a contemporary feel. A list of other frame profiles perfect for this design style can be found here.

Room by Room

Let’s look at some ideas for styling different spaces within your home, Grandmillennially.

Blue wallpaper and sofa furniture style, decorative wooden palette bookshelf, gold lamp and middle table, vase of green plant, carpet and city view background.

Living Room: Sofas in a solid color, like blue or green, can be the anchor piece in the room, while pleated lamps, fringed throws, and an ornate chandelier add a touch of intricacy. An accent wall of ornate chinoiserie wallpaper brings Grandmillennial decor to the forefront. Rich wood, like mahogany or cherry, can be added to your space in the form of a coffee table, side tables, or console piece.

Dining Room. Remember the porcelain china your Nana would bring out on special occasions? This same (or similar) tableware can star in your own family’s memories now, dressing up your custom-crafted farmhouse dining table while a shimmering chandelier hovers above.

Kitchen: Gold or brass fixtures at a sink or on cabinets are a quintessential Grandmillennial touch. Marble countertops framing a farmhouse sink is truly timeless. To add contrast to these traditional elements, paint a vibrant color on the walls or get bold with a botanical wallpaper.

Bedroom: Bedside tables made of a dark wood are great places to display doilies and lace. Again, you can add color to the walls or a whimsical wall covering that speaks to your soul (and that you want to wake up to each morning!). Lay one of Grandma’s quilts across the bottom of your bed, or on the velvet chaise in the corner. Your bedroom should be the sanctuary of your home, and Grandmillennial style can be a very personal way to achieve that. 

Bathroom: Picture this: a new white vanity against a vintage-wallpapered wall, with a clean-edge mirror nestled between brass sconces; brass faucet and cabinet hardware echo the light fixtures. In a master bathroom, think clawfoot tub on fresh tiled floors. Details matter here, like artful hand soaps. You know the ones — handmade little soaps, maybe even carved into cute figurines.

Don't Let Millennials Have All the Fun

Grandmillennial design is F-U-N and liberating. It’s the complete opposite of cookie-cutter design styling that so many of us have become used to. This nostalgic style begs for your imagination to give it wings. In fact, countless possibilities are what make Grandmillennial Design such a rising star in the world of interior design. And its enduring style stands out from today’s fast-paced trends. 

Millennials aren’t the only ones who can get in on the joy of this style. Welcome to a creative playground where all are invited.

Last Updated June 22, 2023