Traditional with a Twist: A Guide to Grandmillennial Style

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelly O'Reilly

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Published on March 2, 2021

When it comes to decorating, some might say everything old is new again, but there are others who have always stuck with tried-and-true traditional styles in their homes. Now, it’s their moment in the sun, because they know what’s really going on: everything old is cool again. Meet the grandmillennials. 

Havenly designer Lauren Cox is here to show us why grandmillennial style is special, and incredibly on-trend. It’s a look that’s comforting and classic, familiar but totally fresh — think Taylor Swift dropping new tracks she wrote snuggling with her cat, cup of tea in hand. So, have a seat on a floral-print sofa (it’s “granny chic”) and read on for all things grandmillennial.

The Elements of Grandmillennial Style

Grandmillennial blends traditional pieces with modern updates, says Lauren, noting it’s “well suited for the twenty-something who brands him- or herself an ‘old soul.’ It’s a youthful approach to traditional decor.” 

Lately, Havenly designers have grown accustomed to requests for a balance of modern and traditional elements, and their clients are leaning into it more and more. It makes sense: you infuse what you grew up loving — sometimes literally, if you’re lucky enough to end up with cherished hand-me-downs — with your own unique style and personality, and voila! A grandmillennial space is born.

At the heart of the look are pieces procured from or inspired by finds at antique fairs and preppy beach town shops. Here’s Lauren’s list: 

  • Prints rule! Think florals in combination with toile, chintz and chinoiserie on wallpaper, bed linens, and drapery.
  • Ripe for collecting, ginger jars look lovely lining shelves or pulled down onto the table to fill with flowers.
  • When it comes to color, the blue and white theme runs throughout — always accented with brass.
  • For furniture, cane and wicker accent pieces fit right in, along with pleats, ruffles and embroidered textiles from lampshades to upholstery to pillowcases.

Don't Get Dusty

Before you raid the attic, remember the millennial part of your grand plans so you don’t overdo it. “It’s important not to cross the line from curated to cluttered,” Lauren says. “Too many prints, an out-of-control color palette, or knick-knacks on every possible surface could descend into the world of hoarding.” 

As a designer, she pulls off grandmillennial style by displaying pieces strategically and mixing just enough pattern and color. The best way to avoid looking dated, she says, is to go far enough back — a ‘90s trellis print is just going to look leftover, while patterns from the ‘50s and ‘60s (or earlier) will come across as much more intentional. 

Lean Into the Look

With the nuts and bolts you need to create your own perfectly grandmillennial happy place, you just have to approach it with the right attitude. Along with a nostalgic spirit and a mind open to pattern-mixing, Lauren preaches patience. You want that perfect balance of updated traditional design, and it can take time to find the right pieces and decor to get it right.

Just like grandma, our Havenly designers know best. Take our style quiz to get started with your own twist on traditional.

Words by Kelly O'Reilly