Millennials Are Decorating Their Homes Like Their Grandparents for All the Right Reasons

Amongst the indoor jungles, Scandinavian ‘Friluftsliv’ vibes and twisted candles, there’s an unexpected trend that’s been dug up from the past and is slowly making its way into homes and onto everyone’s Instagram feeds.

Enter: your grandmother's living room. 

What is Grandmillennial style?

“Grandmillennial style” as dubbed by House Beautiful, is quite literally the modern take on traditional, English-country style that grandmas are known and loved for. Think of it as the polar opposite to the minimalist all-white spaces that have dominated the interior space for years now.

Australian interior designer and owner of MARG. Studio Emily MacAlpine, explains the reason behind this emerging granny-chic trend.

“Millennials are at the age where they are purchasing their first homes, which is often a fixer-upper with the current housing market,” MacAlpine tells Bed Threads Journal. “This is leading to creative opportunities for people to repurpose older homes and pieces of furniture they might have or has been passed down to them from family members."

Moreover, over the years, some millennials have become disenchanted with the generic and impersonal aesthetic that dominates the Instagram algorithm. Thus, by adopting a granny-chic style they’re able to express their personality and individuality through their decor. 

In an interview with House Beautiful, 25-year-old design publicist and Grandmillennial Nan Philip, explained: “When you’re scrolling through Instagram, everything starts to look the same—there are so many bright, white-painted rooms.” 

“What I love about an old-school, layered—some might say cluttered—aesthetic is that it actually lets you show your personality. When someone walks into my apartment, I want them to get a sense of who I am and what I collect and where I’ve traveled, not just that I’m on-trend.”

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But before you cringe at the thought of replacing your living space with your grandma’s outdated style, it’s important to note that this nostalgic style is more about tasteful comfort as opposed to “stuffy” and “dull”. 

“This style doesn’t mean taking absolutely everything from your grandma’s house, but rather incorporating elements of the old (whether that be colors, patterns, or well-crafted furniture) and pairing it with newer items,” MacAlpine explains.

Classic prints such as toile, plaid, and chintz feature heavily on curtains, wall coverings, and upholstery. Ruffled pillows, pleated and fringed furniture coverings make an appearance, as do heirloom furniture crafted from dark stained woods to bring a historic touch. Then there is the juxtaposition of abstract art or metallic accents to uplift the space and give it a 21st century look. What you ultimately get is modernized posh-granny style merging wholesome fashion with clashing prints and colors.

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Unfortunately, adding in a colorful lamp and a few frilly pillows here and there won’t suffice; adopting this trend into your space is a full commitment. In saying that, it isn’t difficult to execute, either. So if you’re ready to take the leap, here are three things to consider when adding Grandmillennial style into your space. 

How to adopt Grandmillennial style into your interiors

1. Furniture

It’s difficult to source new pieces of Grandmillennial style furniture when retailers are saturated with Scandi white and grey couches. And when you do come across a rare piece, the price tag is enough to put you in debt for a few months.

MacAlpine’s suggestion? “Scour Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree for some hidden gems that can be picked up for around $50-$150. If you’re not super handy, then look for items that only need minor cosmetic changes.” 

When purchasing pieces from these places, she advises to “check all furniture drawers run smoothly” and to opt for pieces made from “more solid timber.”

2. Color

If you’re not completely sold on bold chintz patterns, “consider colors like Bed Threads’ Olive or Rust, which I think are a great contemporary take on the richer colors from Federation periods,” explains MacAlpine. 

“We don’t necessarily have to copy everything from our grandparents’ house, but if we take subtle cues from colors and patterns and include them in a new way, then you’re creating a contemporary space with a lot of character that’s still unique to you.

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3. Art and styling

There’s no need to purchase new artworks that’ll set you back a few hundred dollars. 

“Look for resourceful ways to incorporate history into your home, which will not only add depth and story to your space, but can also be a cost-effective way of styling your home. 

“For example, there are some beautiful old photographs, magazine covers, and vintage advertisements you can find in second-hand stores on Ebay and Etsy. A few might resonate with you in some way and therefore be a great piece of decor you will love for a long time.”

Emily MacAlpine is an interior designer and Director of MARG. Studio. Follow her on Instagram @bemoremarg.

Want more trending inspo? Here are 2021's biggest bedroom decorating trends you'll be seeing everywhere.

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