What Is Grandmillennial Style? Plus Decor Ideas You Can Try

Find out why antique collectors flock to this design trend (because we've been doing it all along).

grandmillennial decor inside a curio cabinet

Antique collectors never fared well during the minimalist lifestyle takeover (though I tried and still try). Some of us got on board with farmhouse style, though I never really fell in love with shiplap. But then came the mainstream decor trend that made us feel truly seen: grandmillennial style.

I wear it like a badge of honor that my ex-boyfriend complained that my house looked like a grandma’s nearly a decade ago; I dug my heels in and refused to remove the gallery wall of florals he despised. So I may be a little late to write about this design phenomenon, but I am not new to its mystique.

“Granny-chic” has been my default since I had a bedroom to fill with art, seashells, rocks, and everything I’ve collected over the years. But what is it exactly? And how can you make your collections look like they should be featured on Pinterest?

What Is Grand Millennial Style?

Grandmillenial style is a niche design movement that marries pattern and texture with collectible antiques like:

  • Rattan
  • Needlepoint
  • Grandma’s sofa

Walking through a “granny-chic” home can be very similar to walking through your grandmother’s house in the late 1980s—only these homeowners are in their twenties and thirties (and the trend went mainstream around 2019). For many early adopters, embracing the design wasn’t so much hopping on a trend as it was finally putting a name to a lifestyle with serious longevity.

Grandmillennial Decor Ideas

grandmillennial decor idea in a living room

Artwork Hung on a Bookshelf Frames

Bookshelves are a must for most antique collectors because they are incredibly versatile and can be rearranged as items make their way in and out of our homes. Switch it up using Command Strips to hang artwork in this unconventional way.

Curio Cabinets Filled With Oddities

A curio cabinet or any other type of display is a must for this design style to take hold in your home. Fill it with fancy glassware, crystals, artwork, or anything that you love. It doesn’t matter what other people are posting on Instagram. If they collect flow blue, do you have to collect flow blue? Sure, but only if you love it, too. Start a collection because it adds something to your life, not because you want to mimic a look you saw elsewhere that got thousands of likes.

grandmillennial decor inside a curio cabinet

Multiple Patterns and Textures

There are several fabric and wallpaper companies that can help you get old-world looks without having to do much guesswork. This company supplied the drapes in the pattern Birds in Lake. When selecting patterns, the actual pattern doesn’t matter as much as the color story (so pick patterns just because you love them!). Here you see five different fabrics and patterns using navy, lemon, clementine, and grass, so the look feels cohesive even if the patterns themselves seem scattered.

Cozy Nooks Filled With Antiques

I live in a small 1,200-square-foot apartment, yet I still find ways to add unexpected nooks. These little reading areas or writing desks give me more places to explore hobbies or relax, and it actually makes the space feel bigger. It’s a common misconception that more stuff makes a room feel smaller. In many cases, an empty room with only one place to sit can feel more isolating and less welcoming. Of course, there is a fine line between a more maximal use of space and hoarding, so tread that line lightly.

antique decor ideas
dark wall colors in the bedroom

Moody Wall Colors

We’ve all seen these deep, dark moody wall colors everywhere. Not every grand millennial home embraces dark wall colors, but it’s a quick way to add an instant lived-in feel to a room. I recommend using them if you get ample natural light in your home and your rooms are on the larger side. Dark colors can make gold gilded frames and other collectibles, chintz, and textures really pop.

Rattan Furniture and Pastels

In Grandmillennial design, the natural charm of rattan furniture and the soothing appeal of pastel colors come together to create a warm, inviting space. Rattan pieces, known for their durability and intricate patterns, add a touch of the outdoors, enhancing the room’s comfort and charm. Meanwhile, pastel hues like mint green or pink contribute to a serene atmosphere, perfect for relaxation.

Eclectic Mix of Eras

A collected home is evolving (so it doesn’t feel stagnant), but it is also timeless. Vintage and antique furniture wins over a quick, inexpensive fix at large chains like IKEA. And what’s not to love about this aesthetic for someone who considers antique collecting a lifelong hobby? Sure, some antique collectors stick to a specific style, like Art Deco or Midcentury Modern. Still, many prefer the more lived-in “granny” look that spans numerous decades and eras: These relaxed rules (wood tones can mismatch—and so can metals and shapes) help antique collections shine and feel less stuffy or outdated.

Collected English Cottage

Eclectic is the word that comes to mind when considering an antique collector’s home; the spaces can be as varied as the collections that catch our fancy. To me, walking through a grand millennial home isn’t about the negative connotation people try to put on it jestingly. (The space isn’t a reflection of that stale smell coming from Grandma’s basement.) Instead, it’s more like a walk through an airy English cottage with a rotating display of enticing objects and smells like the fresh-cut flowers from the garden. The rooms are meant to evolve, and the joy is found in taking old items and presenting them in new ways, time and time again.

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