The Guide To Grandmillennial Style 

Millennial-driven trends play an outsized role in our modern world. From avocado toast to that soft rosy hue known as millennial pink, the generation born between 1981 to 1996 has changed our expectations across realms as diverse as cuisine, culture and interior design.

Their creation and codification of grandmillennial style is no exception. This approach to interior design has gained attention in recent years, especially on certain corners of Instagram, and we have one of its most enthusiastic practitioners under our roof here at Acampora Interiors.

We sat down with our very own grande dame of grandmillennial style (and our Director of Interior Design), Tricia Fortin, to hear her insights on mastering the trend.

What Is Grandmillennial Style? 

The grandmillennial aesthetic is essentially a modern twist on traditional design. As Fortin defines it, “Grandmillennial style is a celebration of traditionalism, classicism and a love of yesteryear treasures.”

Grandmillennial style skews eclectic and maximalist, which Fortin says is achieved by incorporating warm hues, classic prints and pieces with a natural patina. There is nothing cookie-cutter about this approach to design. 

A dining room featuring Maximalism in interior design
Dining room from Acampora Interiors’ Collected Concord Farmhouse project. Photo by Read McKendree.

Just as your grandmother’s house is decorated with a host of items and heirlooms imbued with stories from a life well-lived, grandmillennial style incorporates your collections and treasures, showcasing your personality and making for an entirely unique space.

Homes decorated in grandmillennial style feel cozy, approachable and lived-in, but they shy away from the too-precious or twee elements you may envision when you think of granny chic.

The Essential Elements of Grandmillennial Style

Fortin has a distinct list of aspects that come together in the grandmillennial aesthetic.

The first essential component is the use of traditional furniture. “Grandmillennial style is informed by traditional and classic pieces. A sprinkling of found objects, perhaps antiques, lends these rooms their singular feel,” says Fortin.

Details of a Nantucket summer home with coastal interior design
Photo by Nat Rea Photography.

Playing with a mix of patterns and textures is also a must. Weaving together various visual and tactile dimensions makes the space come alive.

“Fringe, pleats, wicker, rattan and bamboo are some of the textures you can incorporate into your design,” says Fortin.

These elements come into play in any number of ways. A pleated lampshade, woven grasscloth wallpaper, tasseled drapes or fringed rugs sprinkled throughout the room create a visual feast for visitors. Eclectic and patina are the two watchwords for anyone seeking to achieve the grandmillennial aesthetic in their home.

Here’s a look at how you can align the guiding principles of grandmillennial style with your design vision.

Grandmillennial Living Room Design

To design a living room in the grandmillennial style, Fortin suggests you begin with a trip to your local antique store.

Mixing old and new styles adds dimension to a grandmillennial living room, and it’s often easiest to start with found pieces and work to fill the remainder of the space with new items that will live harmoniously alongside your antiques. 

When it comes to selecting furniture, it’s not so much about the piece’s actual age as it is about its shape. “Stick with traditional furniture lines,” Fortin advises, “and juxtapose those items with modern elements, like mirrors or artwork.”

Suburban Retreat Feature Image
Photo by Read McKendree.

Fortin says homeowners need not be afraid of the dark woods that so often feature in antique pieces. However, if you’d prefer to brighten up these antiques, refinishing them with a lacquer paint in a modern color is another way to marry old and new in your space.

Patterns, another vital part of grandmillennial style, come into play with modern twists on time-honored tropes. “All major design houses are leaning into the idea of classic fabric patterns in fun new colors,” Fortin says.

A robin’s egg blue jacquard upholstery fabric or spring green toile wallpaper can add just the right dash of modernity to a room grounded in traditionalism.

Mixing patterns can also add lively eclecticism to your grandmillennial living room scheme. Fortin advises that the rule for keeping multiple patterns from devolving into visual chaos is this: “Keep the color palette continuous, or pair small-scale patterns with large-scale patterns.”

Grandmillennial Bedroom Design

In a grandmillennial bedroom design, Fortin advises you go bold with your antique choices. “Dark stained wood pieces pair nicely with rattan, wicker and painted pieces,” Fortin says.

Lean into the drama that comes with a dark mahogany dresser or rich cherry nightstand. Then, pair them with a wicker headboard or rattan overhead light fixtures.

Photo by Nat Rea Photography.

Layering bedding and pillows can make any style of bedroom feel like a dreamy oasis. However, the “more is more” ethos of grandmillennial style calls for additional patterns, textures and dimension in your bedding.

If you’re seeking an easy way to incorporate a dash of grandmillennial style into your current bedroom, Fortin suggests adding pleated lampshades to your bedside lamps for a quick refresh. Additionally, crown molding is another way to instantly create a more traditional feel in any space, including a bedroom.

Grandmillennial Kitchen Design

In a grandmillennial kitchen design, airy fabrics and woven furniture add warmth to a space that’s often dominated by stone countertops and vast expanses of cabinetry and millwork.

Acampora Interiors’ Nantucket Seaside Home design features a number of grandmillennial elements. Natural rattan bar seats at the kitchen island and white lacquered bamboo chairs at the kitchen table complement the white cabinets and brass pendant lampshades.

Natural stones like marble or soapstone, which develop a patina over time, are an ideal fit for grandmillennial kitchen designs. The stones change and grow alongside the family living in the home, adding that element of history and significance to a kitchen.

Finally, for bolder grandmillennial style-seekers, selecting a strong color for your cabinets can add the right amount of gravitas to your room. A sage green, crisp grey or midnight blue can make even a brand-new kitchen feel established and lived-in.

What About the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic?

An adjacent emerging aesthetic to grandmillennial style is the coastal grandmother look. While there are some similarities between the two, the coastal grandmother look is softer. “It’s about neutral classics in lighter shades–not too many bold colors mixed in,” Fortin says. 

Both grandmillennial and coastal grandmother-inspired spaces will feel warm and welcoming, but a coastal grandmother room will be more focused on comfort and approachability, whereas a grandmillennial room may be more whimsical and self-aware. 

“Light and airy fabrics, natural elements like straw or sisal, and subdued patterns are all key in the coastal grandmother interior design style,” says Fortin.

Collected items, like stacks of your favorite books or an arrangement of white antique pitchers, add a sense of history to the space, making it feel cozy and lived-in.

Nantucket summer home steeped in coastal design
Photo by Nat Rea Photography.

Fortin also highlights casual slipcovered furniture, linen window treatments, and unfussy bedding in whites, creams or other soft hues as essential elements of coastal grandmother style.

And, of course, what beach house-chic room would be complete without a collection of woven baskets?

If you have an appreciation for found objects, antiques and eclectic spaces, consider incorporating some hallmarks of grandmillennial or coastal grandmother style into your home. Even if you opt not to go all-in on the aesthetic, weaving in elements from traditional design can create warmth and a sense of history in even the newest of homes.