How do you feel when you visit grandma’s house?
The floral prints, cross-stitched decor, and vintage furniture create a soothing atmosphere that immediately transports us back to the good old days. Sitting on the rug beside grandma’s large comfy chair, listening to her old, sometimes mysterious, sometimes intriguing, sometimes repetitive, tales.
Since we all need a little bit of coziness at home, let’s talk about the granny chic interior design style. Promoting a sense of comfort and nostalgia, this style is inspired by the vibrant colors, bold fabrics, and the carefree mish-mash of patterns we often see in grandma’s living room.
With a growing desire to reconnect and remember the feeling of past experiences, many millennials are lovingly embracing this ‘more is more’ approach that boasts vintage maximalism. The granny chic style, also known as ‘grandmillennial’, allows you to express your own individuality and unique personality by intentionally creating a mish-mash of patterns that is approachable and rooted in the warmth of the familiar.
Photo source: House and Garden
But remember, despite embracing eclecticism, there is still an underlying elegance to this mixed-look. Think, the old but elegant rooms of lords and ladies of centuries past. There is definitely extra fluff, following the ‘more is more’ approach. But this overarching decoration and design contribute to its bold elegance without losing the wholesome and homey feeling it wishes to evoke.
Somehow, in spite of being a melting pot of patterns and shapes, the statement vintage pieces do not get lost in the crowd. You can still easily pinpoint a wonderful classic side table, vase, figurine or decor. As it mixes traditional and modern approaches and elements, this trend creates a design style that exudes eccentricity and effortless formality.
As a design approach that showcases things we have always been familiar with, this nostalgic style should have the 10 following elements:
1. Chintz in every grandmillennial home
First thing you must have in a granny chic-inspired space is chintz. Definitely one trend your grandma would approve of. This multi-colored, printed cotton fabric originated in India in the 16th century – from the Hindi word ‘chint’ – which means variegated, speckled or spotted.
On this type of fabric you’ll typically see flowers of varying designs, colors and other patterns on a plain, dull background. While mostly seen on upholstery for couches or as curtains and valances, this design may sometimes have a shiny, glossy finish making it suitable as wallpaper.
Photo source: Veranda
According to experts, chintz is best used for a statement piece in your living room – like a whole couch or chaise longue. When truly used and embraced, chintz design is known to cover every nook and cranny of a space – from the investment pieces to walls and curtains.
With designs and patterns following nature that give them a sense of nostalgia, this maximalist microtrend has people wanting for more.
“Chintz has made a comeback in recent years,” shares New York–based designer Kati Curtis. “Especially this past year, as people looked for more coziness, softness and comfort in their homes! The huge success of Mario Buatta’s (designer known as the “Prince of Chintz”) auction a couple of years ago shows that chintz is back, and we really wish it had never left.”
2. Plethora of patterns
Following the resurgence of the granny chic design is a modern twist with bolder colors forming your pattern of choice. Apart from chintz, there is a very wide array of patterns you can choose from – just imagine all the colors, shapes and patterns in your grandma’s home and pick the ones you gravitate more towards or best remind you of your grandmama.
There are many opportunities to take advantage of your choice of granny-esque patterns and and the easiest ones are using wallpaper and fabric.
These materials essentially start as blank canvases for patterned decor. But before you dive right in, ensure you choose an underlying base color for your living room space so it doesn’t become overwhelming and stimulating instead of comfortable and relaxing.
One way to tackle this is through the 80/20 approach. The essential items and parts of your living room comprise the 80% while supplementary touches are the 20%. For example, if your statement couch follows the chintz design, some of your throw pillows can be solid colors of the same theme. Or, your curtains can be a toned down version of your couch’s fabric.
However, if you are in love with the granny chic design and want to embrace the patterns all around. Going a bit more than 80% on your patterns for couches, wallpaper, headboards, pillows, curtains and valances still works. A truly maximalist approach.
Photo source: Framed Chic
One thing to note amidst all these patterns, florals are a must-have, along with some botanicals. When in grandma’s house, you would most probably have seen, sat and relaxed on comfy couches that boast floral patterns. It’s also very possible that you’ll see different types of floral approaches in different rooms.
There are different ways to incorporate flower designs into your granny chic space – through wallpaper, fabric and even ceramics and artwork displays.
3. Vintage furniture
Apart from the display of patterns, grandmillennial living rooms and space should have a vintage furniture or two. Easily distinguished, these antique pieces give your rooms that touch of sophistication and elegance without veering away from the cozy, comfortable space it will give.
With the rise of granny chic interiors, there’s a growing modern allure to vintage furniture. In grandma’s home, you’ll normally see these in wood which go perfectly against the patterns, flowers and botanicals. Ensure you get one that is truly a genuine statement piece from the past so that it strongly stands its ground and won’t get lost in your design.
Photo source: A Glass of Bovino (left), HGTV (right)
There are even some large vintage statement pieces – like bureaus, center tables, chests or side tables – that have imperfections brought-on from being lovingly used in the past. These pieces are the cream of the crop when looking for vintage furniture because they hold their own stories and memories that add to your own personal touches.
Also, you’ll realize that this is the more sustainable way. They stand the test of time. Quality of real, solid wood lasts a whole lot longer compared to mass-produced furniture made from engineered wood which are simply glued together using different chemicals.
4. Fine china and ceramics
To dress up your grandmillennial living room, start positioning some fine or vintage china into cabinets or surfaces for prominent display. These strongly add to the overall elegance of the space and reinforces that connection to fine things of the past.
The most common fine china and ceramics you’ll see is the blue and white combination – the elegant chinoiserie design. With its calming color combination, it bodes fittingly into the burst of colors and patterns surrounding the pieces. In addition, these make a fine display in your vintage cabinets or atop furniture.
Your fine china can also come in beautiful decorative plates and ceramics. One outstanding way to decorate the walls of your granny chic-inspired living room is using these plates on your walls. Statement walls that showcase these plates may be something you often see your grandma do in an empty space and they do beautifully without overwhelming it.
Photo source: Vogue
“The days of allowing our fine china to gather dust in the cupboard are long gone and homeowners have rediscovered the joys of adding color, pattern and whimsy throughout their homes in a variety of ways,” says Sophie Phelps, founder of The Traditional List to House Beautiful. “Decorative plates add that extra dose of beauty into our lives that we all crave.”
5. Play with fabric
If there’s one thing that is sure to be present in any grandma-inspired space, it’s a fun, extensive play on fabric. All the patterns you’ve been playing with can come in fabric-form, including chintz.
Incorporating a lot of fabric can make it incredibly soft and comfortable. Just like how you love to sink into your grandma’s couch, your own fabric couch will be equally inviting. Because the granny chic design embraces the maximalist approach – this is definitely an ‘all-frills space’.
Welcome different kinds of fabric designs, from fringe and trim to skirted or ruffled fabric to quilts. It’ll cover the curved couches and bulky chairs. Some will be strewn on top of your furniture to create added comfort. You’ll see it atop the dining table or other side tables. Fringe-trimmed lamp covers and throw pillows are also largely seen.
Photo source: Katie Considers
Back in the day, many of our grandmas made their own stuff, including blankets, sheets and other soft coverings. This age-old hobby of embroidery and needlepoint is making a comeback accompanying the granny chic trend.
6. No bare surfaces
Forget about those minimalist interiors you often see in today’s modern homes. With this trending maximalist approach, you’ll leave no surface untouched or empty. Your couches and chairs will be fully fluffed up and comfortable with fringe or embroidered, colorful pillows and throws or quilts. While your coffee tables, side tables and consoles will be filled with displays, flower arrangements or precious antique ceramics.
Apart from the ceramics, figurines and fine china, you can also fill up those spaces with sentimental trinkets from travels, framed photographs of family and friends. Another default choice for display are books. You might have some favorite hardbound books you wish to showcase or those priceless first editions!
In grandma’s home, there’s always food, fruits, or something to nibble on the coffee table. You should do the same in your own granny chic-inspired living room – make it truly homey and cozy with the addition of food and biscuits on top of your home decor.
Photo source: My Bespoke Room
7. Balance curves, straight lines and edges
In your quest to create that cozy, granny chic living room, you’ll be weaving together traditional elements and modern designs to create an eclectic, approachable look. This modern revival and quirky twist is seen mostly in your furniture choices.
When combining old and new, you must take care to pick pieces whose different elements complement each other. For example, the classic, traditional pieces would have curved arms or cabriole legs, lending that sophisticated look you often see in old-style armchairs, vintage tables and antique desks.
Pair these with modern touches such as a glass center table with a golden frame or a straight-back couch or tufted ottoman. This way, you balance the lines and curves and your living room doesn’t get repetitive or overwhelming.
Photo source: Country Living Magazine
8. Grandmillennial style needs bold colors
Since you’re letting go of any color inhibitions here, it’s time to embrace all those bold colors you’ve been hesitating on. In this granny chic-inspired living room, you don’t need to be shy. Bold colors give this traditional approach that modern twist it desperately needs.
Stray away from the white and black palette of minimalism design and embrace the bold, brave, and vibrant colors that paint the granny chic home. Don’t be afraid to mix pastels with rich colors and patterns to create rooms with distinct characters.
Make a statement with brightly colored furniture that one would not expect like a green cupboard decorated with blue china and gold accents. Or a pink couch made very comfortable with embroidered pillows. These are certainly attention-grabbing designs that will make your living room more comfortable and fun.
With the above mentioned points, you’ve probably realized that you can mix and match different hues and patterns to make your space feel more carefree and effortlessly chic. Use colors liberally in your furniture, textiles, drapery, walls, and fixtures.
Photo source: HGTV
9. Pink tiles and surfaces
While you’re deciding which colors to play with, one cute little aspect of a granny chic-inspired space is pink tiles. You’ll see a lot of spaces that follow traditional design have pink hues about them.
Before the gray, black and white of the minimalist modern trend happened, and way before the soft blush millennial pink took over the interiors of residential and commercial spaces, there were the bright pink bathroom tiles. To completely embrace this vibe, pink subway tiles are a must (mostly in bathrooms but still possible in other areas at home).
Couple this with new vintage-style brass or stainless steel plumbing and water fixtures and you’ll have created that cute retro-esque corner at home. Another way is to complement the pink with black terrazzo floorings for that full-on 60s time capsule feel.
Photo source: House Beautiful
10. Ornate gold frames
Have you ever felt that walking into your grandparents’ house, or any old homes for that matter, is like walking into a museum? Beautiful ornate gold frames lie the walls – these could be anything from mirrors, to images, to art. Gold, gilded frames give off elegant appearances because of its intricate designs.
Following the vintage touches of your granny chic space, go for these frames that definitely add character and sophistication compared to the everyday sleek and thin frames you see. Additionally, these authentic touches will not go out of style anytime soon.
Photo source: Working in Slippers