“Your house reminds me of my grandmother’s,” would not be considered a compliment for most people of the millennial generation. After all, most twenty- and early thirty-somethings have spent the last decade absorbed in design trends that are much more minimalist, mid-century, or modern than generations before.
However, over the last year some millennials have become disenchanted with the somewhat generic, impersonal aesthetic that dominates so many influencer feeds. A new wave of design-savvy, nostalgic-natured, and traditionalist-inspired influencers is on the rise, recently dubbed “grandmillennials” by House Beautiful. Pleated lampshades, ruffled linens, needlepoint pillows, blue and white ceramics, and chintz-everything are a few of the items these young traditionalists gravitate towards. Other items you might find in these spaces include needle point, Victorian furniture, floral wallpaper, or an eclectic rug, adds Glenn Rush, Visual Design Manager for Build.com. Oh, and anything vintage of course.
“It was only a matter of time before the influencers discovered history, and with it, these new traditionalists are creating a fresh, more modern sense of style that honors the past, celebrates craftsmanship and—best of all—not in an ironic kind of way,” Los Angeles-based interior designer Mark Cutler tells MyDomaine. He describes grandmillennials as “young, fresh faced design aficionados that are almost preppy (but not quite) and know the difference between a hand-blocked wallpaper and it's machine-made cousin.” Modsy VP of Style Alessandra Wood describes them as “millennials who love design and décor that we might culturally view as old lady or grandma-ish, hinging on classical design forms and patterns.”
Christiane Lemieux, co-founder and CEO of The Inside, sees the movement as a sort-of revolt against what has become the norm in the homogenized design bubble we have been living in. “The grandmillennial trend is really a reaction to the generic mid-century interiors we’ve seen for so long,” explains Christiane Lemieux, co-founder and CEO of The Inside.
There’s this element of storytelling where people are looking to emotionally connect to their interiors, and this trend is a reaction to that.
Obviously, this trend didn’t come out of nowhere. In fact, Wood partially attributes it to the influence of high fashion. “Gucci famously began to popularize the granny chic trend in their ads and collections,” she points out. By using antique tea sets and doilies in their ads, the fashion magnate made out-of-date tablescapes feel cool and trendy.
She also points to a rise in popularity of traditional furnishings and styles. “Just as Gen X found nostalgia in the mid-century designs their grandparents coveted, millennials may be finding a similar sense of nostalgia in familiar, classic designs,” she explains. “This style feels attainable, as Victorian and Neoclassical styles have not been part of trending design movements, so these antiques are often a deal, especially considering their build quality and the inherent sustainability factor of buying secondhand.”
“There’s such a beautiful nostalgia to the trend—your grandmother probably inherited her furniture from her grandmother,” adds Lemieux. “There’s this element of storytelling where people are looking to emotionally connect to their interiors, and this trend is a reaction to that.”
Ready to add a little grandmillennial style to your own home? These picks will get you there in no time.
A Chintz Bed
Want to fully embrace the grandmillennial style in your bedroom? Lemieux suggests this chintz statement bed from The Inside.
Chintz Throw Pillows
Contrasting a pop of traditional florals against a modern backdrop through a few floral pillows is a great way to embrace the trend without going all out, suggests Lemieux.
A Blue And White Lamp
Whose grandmother didn’t have one of these timeless blue and white table lamps?
A Pleated Lampshade
Pretty much anything Bunny Williams does fits perfectly into the grandmillennial theme. This lampshade will add a vintage touch to any lamp.
A Wicker Sconce
Sure, you could buy some wicker furniture to make your living space truly grandmillennial, or you could make a huge statement in a subtle manner with a wicker topped wall sconce.
A Granny-ish Sofa
Your grandmother probably had a version of this traditional, overstuffed, throwback sofa, that has been refined for the modern consumer.