Never did I think I’d live through a global pandemic, let alone read about how grandma’s chintz is so hot right now.
As I sit in my grandmillennial-esque office writing a post about grandmillennialism, I can’t help but wonder…how is something so rooted in tradition and based on tried-and-true design principles considered to be trendy?
The concept of tradition and trends are antonymous to each other, no?
When I think of my own personal design style, I feel that I err part new-traditional and part GM – there’s certainly some overlap. But never have I considered my style to be trendy.
On social media, it seems Grandmillennial has been somehow defined only by pastel walls and Les Touches pillows. I think it’s important to mention that yes, it is that, but it’s also much more than that. So I put together a graphic & list that consists of what I believe to be all things Grandmillennial.
- Classic patterns
- Pleated shades
- Fine china
- Skirted/ruffled fabric
- Scalloped edges
- Wood furniture
- Boxwood topiary
- Foo dogs
- Fringe & trim
- Rose medallion ware
- Curtains & valances
- Rooms inspired by design icons Mario Buatta and Sister Parish
WHY IS GRANDMILLENNIAL TRENDING?
Although Grandmillennial is currently trending, I don’t believe that it’s trendy.
I think the term “Grandmillennial” (coined by Emma Bazilian in a September 2019 House Beautiful article) is new and therefore, fueling the trend train engine. However, the style consists of all things feminine, beautiful, and timeless. It’s breathing new life into old things. Emma put a name to the millennials who swooned over old images of faded florals.
A library designed by Mario Buatta in a 1984 issue of House & Garden
Trends typically are expensive and usually gone just as quickly as you can implement them.
But being a Grandmillennial? That shit is cheap. And attainable.
You may not find many boucle chairs on Facebook Marketplace, but you will find plenty of solid wood furniture and vintage drapes. If you’re lucky, maybe a 30-year-old floral sofa that’s been preserved by the iconic plastic cover. Grandmillenials thrive off the thrill of secondhand hunting.
Look – I’ve ridden the modern farmhouse trend train (see: being hit upside the head with a reclaimed wood plank) and this concept of Grandmillennial, granny-chic, meemaw-chic; whatever you want to call it…it’s here to stay. The idea of creating a collected, layered room that tells a story will never not be in style.
Over the last year, people seem to be looking for a sense of familiarity and comfort in their homes, which has resulted in a shift back to an appreciation of classic design. There’s an emotional connection to this “trend.” The nostalgia of warmth, fun, and femininity.
Sony foray into Grandmillenial-ism started by inheriting a vintage mahogany Ming coffee table from my great grandmother. She was my one of my favorite people in the entire world and I was gutted when she passed in 2009. My at least 70 year old coffee table was a wedding gift to her and my gpa from an uncle and then a wedding gift to me and my husband. I had the worst time styling it with my furniture because I kept trying to mash it into vintage farmhouse or another trendy style that wasn’t me. And then I discovered Laurel Bern and it all made sense. My beloved coffee table now holds a proper place in my modern traditional living room, with an English roll arm sofa and chippendale chairs. Finally a real tribute to the wonderful woman who gave her to me.
Wow, Kimi! What a touching story 💚 I’m so glad you were able to use the coffee table. And it’s even better that it has meaning!
I heard you mention you spent quite some time writing this and I want to tell you that it was a great read. I am not a millennial but I do appreciate this style and try to pull this off in my home.
Thank you Maggie!
I too am far from being a millennial but I 100% agree! In fact when I first heard this term I thought it was kinda…weird. I’d been admiring British country style for a long time and to me these two styles seemed pretty similar because of the classic shapes, mixed patterns and hand-me-down coziness. I think terms like this can be useful in marketing. But I also think that trendy is a misused word. Grandmillenial, New Trad, whatever you want to call it, might be trending but it could never be considered trendy!
Elyse C says
We’ve ridden the farmhouse train too… and kicking ourselves for just how much we spent on furniture, decor, fixtures that we were over in less than 5 years. I wanted to choose a style and pieces for our new-to-us 1920 home that would look modern yet timeless, so I was very thankful for the Grandmillenial “trend”. We recently came across a home for sale that hadn’t been updated in decades, but the decor STILL looked timeless (perhaps it looked dated from 80s to 2010s though) and that’s what I’m hoping to strive for.
Wonderfully written. I don’t love this trend but I think you do a fabulous job at pulling it off