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Grandmillenial: The interior trend taking 2021 by storm

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching the growing trend of busy floral wallpaper offset with a funky, ironic painting with a mixture of consternation and awe. You’ve marvelled over how an outdated, chintz armchair became effortlessly chic with the simple addition of vibrant, quirky throw blanket or how peonies have suddenly become the new orchids, when they used to be synonymous with the unmentionable 2000s ‘shabby chic’ trend that was far more shabby than chic.

There is a name on this quirky, offbeat, seemingly mismatched style and it’s a cultural and generational clash represented in interior form: Grandmillenial.

Sounds bizarre right? The trend (which is also known as ‘granny chic’, just fyi) is inspired by the vintage pieces of our grandparents which is offset by a younger, quirkier look that is more millennial and modern – hence, ‘grandmillenial’.

Interior trend forecasters believe this style was born of the wave of nostalgia that the pandemic has brought into our lives, socially and culturally. The search terms ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’ have never been higher as we all scour the internet for gems of the past, seeking comfort in childhood times spent in grandparents’ stiff, floral living rooms with the China patterned cups we were never allowed to touch. The pandemic has us seeking safety and there is safety in our childhood memories – but we’re adding our own, young flavour to it.

Think Bridgerton in terms of pale blues, greens and creams and flowery patterns (and just a hint of opulence), but add in a dash of Clueless. Think modern art, funky lighting fixtures quirky ornaments and modern glam accents all over the room.

It can seem a little chaotic, which is why you need to choose your clutter carefully. Good quality vintage pieces, stacked bookshelves, cozy, textured throws and cushions are all staples of this look – but you’re only limited by your imagination. A clash of two eras, you can pick and choose how much influence which decade has. Contrasting patterns, curios, willow patterns, gilded mirrors and funky, designer wallpaper are all at war for your attention – so you’ll either love or hate this style. Keeping it from looking busy is key. Every piece should have a counterpart – no random colours and woods here. It’s more coordinated than it looks on the surface.

Colours that come through often are pale blues, greens and creams in ‘Grandparent’ side of things, and for the millennial influence, we see lots of bright pops of colour; Lime green, fuchsia pink, poppy red and of course, millennial pink.

It’s homey and accessible – this is not an austere look. And the key to that lies in the textures around the room. Lots of soft blankets and pillows and sink-into-them couches provide a level of comfort that we’re all seeking now, having spent so much time at home, not entertaining, but home-birding it instead. Traditional meets whimsical – and it’s up to you who gets more influence.

Personally, I’m more a fan of the modern end of things, as the rattan, tassels and fringing can look outdated – but it’s all about how you style it. A touch of 1920s glamour can change the feel of the room from outmoded to glam with just the addition of a sleek little bar cart.

It comes with the upcycling trend making its way into many people’s homes also. Vintage furniture is getting a modern upgrade, with bright colours and modern hardware, but it retains its high quality make and crafted look – this is not your IKEA flatpack posing as a gem from a bygone era – this is the real deal with a creative and unique update.

It’s sustainability making its way into modern trends in a new way, an appreciation of the past borne from the uncertainty of our modern times. An interesting reaction to the world around us, it will be some people’s good China cup of tea and absolutely the opposite of others. A minimalist's nightmare and a vintage lover's dream, whatever way you feel about it, grandmillenialism is one of 2021's top interior trends. 

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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