Vintage vanity table with vintage brushes.

Granmillennial Home Decor Ideas: Not Your Grandma’s Style

Zina Kumok4-Minute Read
February 21, 2020

There’s just something about Grandma’s house. It’s cozy, bright and full of personality – but also somehow humble and without pretense. Even if you didn’t grow up with a grandma, you’ve probably spent time in a home that matches this vibe.

But as comfortable as Grandma’s house is, you probably never pictured her home on the cover of a magazine.

Believe it or not, granny chic is all the rage in 2020. As with most trends, the style even has a snappy name: grandmillennial.

So what exactly makes a home fit the grandmillennial aesthetic, and how can you add these touches to your current style? Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Grandmillennial Style?

The grandmillennial trend essentially combines your grandmother’s vision with a millennial twist. It refers to adding in touches of what might be found in a baby boomer or Silent Generation member’s home, but with a solid grounding in modern design.

The style is a direct response to the gray, neutral aesthetic that has dominated the last decade. Gone are the days of stark lines, muted color tones and minimalist decorating sensibilities. If you have stock in IKEA, now might be the time to sell.

The grandmillennial style is a warmer, cozier decorating approach with lots of different colors and prints. It’s about making bold, quirky choices and filling your home with items that overflow with personality and charm. When you walk into a house that’s decorated in a grandmillennial style, it should almost feel like walking into someplace familiar.

To see how people are incorporating this style, look up the hashtag grandmillennial on Instagram. You’ll find lots of examples and ideas. You may even have some appropriate pieces lying around in your attic or basement, or at your parents’ house.

How To Incorporate It

Grandmillennial is one of the easiest trends to integrate into your home, because it’s a combination of your existing style and elements of granny chic.

You don’t have to completely remodel or buy all new furniture to embrace the grandmillennial design. A few new additions can freshen up the house without blowing your budget.

Display Old Dishware

Antique dishware

Old dishes, candy bowls and antique plates are some of the most cost-effective ways to add some grandmillennial flavor to your home. You might remember seeing translucent pastel pink or light green dishes at your grandma’s house. This is known as depression ware, but the colors fit the millennial aesthetic perfectly. Fill the candy dishes with Werther’s originals to truly capture the vibe of Grandma’s house.

Clear glass bowls and decanters also work, along with colors like cobalt or amber brown. If you have a bar cart, pour the liquor bottles into vintage decanters for an old-fashioned look.

Blue and white antique dishes are another hallmark of grandmillennial style. You can hang the plates on the wall, and it doesn’t matter whether you have a matching or mismatched set. In many ways, tasteful clashing is what makes the grandmillennial style feel bold and bohemian.

Add Needlepoint

Antique and vintage furniture.

Needlepoint pillows and wall hangings are a fun way to add grandmillennialism to your home. You can find real vintage pillows at flea markets, thrift stores or antique shops, usually for cheap.

Consumers with a crafty touch can also take a stab at making their own needlepoint displays. Nowadays, you can find anything from traditional floral kits to snarky quotes and hip-hop lyrics. A needlepoint display with Cardi B lyrics is pretty much the essence of grandmillennialism.

Embroidery or cross-stitch kits can be found at any arts and crafts store, but more unique options are available on Etsy.

Decorate With Florals

Vintage wallpaper and lamp.

Florals are a major aspect of grandmillennial style, especially in wallpaper, framed art and furniture pieces. An accent wall with floral wallpaper makes a bright statement, and floral pots and vases can be scattered throughout the house or paired together for a bigger impact.

All types of flora are fair game here, so try to get creative with your selections. A tasteful mix of classic floral prints and lush tropical designs will leave your home feeling elegant, exotic and comfy all at the same time.

Look for ceramics in chinoiserie, which blends Eastern and Western design into a cohesive and recognizable style.

Accent With Tchotchkes

Vintage shelf with trinkets.

Nothing says granny chic like a bunch of baubles and trinkets lying around. This is the perfect time to see what might be hiding in your parents’ attic, like an old music box or a collection of matchbooks.

Grandmillennial tchotchkes can also include practical items like candles in a vintage holder or a teacup with a succulent in it. Old coffee or tea tins can be used to store useful things inside, like spare car keys or loose change.

Insert Elaborate Frames

Corners of gold frames.

Baroque gold picture frames are essential to the grandmillennial style. You can find these frames online or in antique shops.

If inserting a photograph feels too bland, fill the frame with a cross-stitch pattern or leftover floral wallpaper. A gallery wall with these types of frames might be too much, so just use one or two as a focal point of the room.

If you already have a picture frame area designated in the living room or bedroom, mix in some of these frames with your existing ones. 

Keep It Simple

The key to succeeding with grandmillennial decor is to add in a few small touches here and there. If you change everything in your home, your house will just look like your grandmother’s. We’re sure she was a nice lady, but you probably wouldn’t hire her to completely redecorate your home.

Grandmillennial style is a balancing act. The goal is to get an interesting blend between the sleek aesthetic of a modern home and the cozy vibe of a retirement home in Florida.

If your budget is a concern, don’t feel pressured into buying authentic vintage pieces. It’s OK if your grandmillennial style comes from something you bought at Target or World Market. Don’t worry, we won’t tell Grandma.

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    Zina Kumok

    Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A Certified Financial Health Counselor and Student Loan Counselor, she also works as a money coach helping people one-on-one at Conscious Coins. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. She paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years.