Living Grandly with Grand Millennial Style

You may feel like your grandparents when trying to keep up with latest slang and trends. But while “grand millennial” is new terminology, it’s likely a style you’ve seen before. Patterned wallpapers, beaded lights, and the faint hint of potpourri; grand millennial is a mix between old and new. It’s your grandmother’s style, but with 21st century appeal in order to capture nostalgia without living in the past.

Defining the Trend

Agatha Traditional Tufted Arm Chair In Royal Yellow, IDF-2223-CH by Furniture of America

Why is this style called “grand millennial” in the first place? It refers to millennials (now in their 30s and homeowners or renters) replicating or inheriting the style of their grandparents from the last century. This isn’t necessarily the same as reclaiming vintage pieces like cottagecore does, but is instead newer furniture that pays homage to an older time. That said, you don’t have to be a millennial to enjoy the resurgence of older designs. Grand millennial style is open to anyone who wants a step back from all the sleek, minimalist furniture of today.

Keep the Furniture Low

Florencia Contemporary Style Plush Fabric Sofa In Soft Teal, IDF-8140-SF by Furniture of America

When it comes to big ticket items like couches and beds, grand millennial design dictates that furniture stays low to the ground. What used to be an accessibility feature to help people with a lack of spring in their step is now a standard look, with short legs keeping everything above the floor but not too high. As a short person myself, I’m glad to see the height consideration when it comes to comfort furniture you can relax in. It also means you don’t have to worry about aging in place. Mobility is a fickle thing, and having existing furniture that can adapt to you means not needing replacements later.

Repeating Old Patterns

Patterned fabric is a highlight of the grand millennial trend, and comes with the freedom to mix and match (by Hendren House)

In almost a blatant response to modern neutral palettes and featureless surfaces, another highlight of the style is patterning and more patterning. I’m not just talking accent pieces, either, but on most upholstery, wallpaper, area rugs and other linens. Blue and white in particular is a popular choice, especially designs that evoke fine china. But feel free to play around and get creative. Plaid, paisley, floral prints – any way you want to reclaim and reinvent the bold-to-tacky pattern choices of yesteryear is fair game. If you’ve been looking into grand millennial style but not loving the solid color palettes, give some funky patterns a try instead.

Floral Touches

Kimbry Tulip Centerpiece, 60156 by Uttermost

I mentioned floral patterning, and if you’ve been in just about any department store or furniture store, you’ve seen that all kinds of floral prints are back in a big way. But if flowery fabric gives you a bad flashback to acid wash jeans, keep in mind that there’s more than one way to do “floral.” Decorating with fresh cut, live, or faux flowers is a new-old trend that you and your granny can agree on. Not only is it a great way to perk up and freshen up a stale-feeling room, but it will give your space a homey, cared-for feel. Bonus points if it gets you out in the garden planting, clipping and arranging your own native wildflowers. But no judgement if you settle for a flowery accent chair and a Georgia O’Keeffe print.

Dress Up Your Lights

To get the retro look without the exposed bulbs, opt for a decorative touch to your lighting (by Design Interior South)

Vintage lighting has been a darling of young designers for years, though what counts as “vintage” has proven to be a moving target. But if chic industrial lofts are all about exposed Edison bulbs, grand millennial style takes a broader approach. Rather than opting for the sleekest, most minimalist modern lighting fixtures, choose opulent, old-fashioned fixtures instead. There’s style to be had in a little eclectic mixing and matching. Throwback chandeliers, vintage crystal, beaded pendants, Tiffany glass, and tassels are all great ways to get a stylish look – especially if you balance it well with the rest of your furniture. On a budget? Look for hefty statement lamps from the 70s in your local second hand store; they’re weighty, they still work, and they’ll have a huge impact on your space – without breaking your bank account.

Accents are Key

It’s up to you if you want to highlight your retro elements or subdue them with accessories (by Laura Lee Home)

You may have heard the idiom “the devil is in the details,” and it’s absolutely true for grand millennial style. Whether you’re trying to make a bare contemporary space feel more lavish or breathing new life into a home that hasn’t been remodeled this century, the key is to choose and arrange your pieces intentionally. Don’t love the floral wallpaper but can’t replace it? Choose modern pieces that pull out subtler colors in the pattern for a sharp contrast that will recontextualize the backdrop. Inherited a huge wingback chair that’s 60 years out of place in your apartment? Try painting or papering an accent wall or corner, and bolster the chair with an accent table and lamps to make it feel like a fab find rather than a misplaced hand-me-down.

Whatever large pieces or spaces you have to work around, don’t be afraid to tweak and refine the style with smaller accents. A few thoughtful additions and purposeful arrangement can merge grandparent and millennial into a cohesive style that’s the best of both: bold, resilient, stylish, and built to last.