7 ‘Grandmillennial’ Interior Design Trends
Kanebridge News
Share Button

7 ‘Grandmillennial’ Interior Design Trends

The décor ideas that designers who love ‘granny chic’ are bringing down from the attic.

By Rebecca Malinsky
Mon, Sep 27, 2021 3:17pmGrey Clock 4 min

THOUGH 35, Whitney McGregor considers herself an old soul, an identity she shares with many young people drawn to unmodern things. The Greenville, S.C., designer—one of many self-identifying grandmillennials giving new life to traditional décor—embraces florals on florals and doesn’t quail in the face of scallop-trim.

Décor motifs like scallop-trim are subject to the trend-pendulum’s swing. “It all comes in cycles,” said 68-year-old Dallas designer Cathy Kincaid. When she graduated in 1974, she considered her midcentury-modern sorority house horribly dated. She spent the next 20 years finding fresh appeal in ornate dressmaker details like trims and tassels but, another two decades later, was peeling hand-painted scenic floral paper from her clients’ walls as midcentury came roaring back.

Today, in turn, many millennials covet patterns and ornaments their parents found frumpy. Ms. McGregor and her ilk find inspiration in historical American designers like Elsie de Wolfe, who brightened heavy Victorian interiors with trellises and chintz in the early 20th century, and Mark Hampton, who later in the century would cover walls, furniture and windows in the same floral print.

“We are looking back on what has stood the test of time,” said New York designer Lilse McKenna, 32, who swears by delicate Sister Parish patterns and Les Indiennes block prints. Style archaeologists like Ms. McKenna don’t just re-enact history, however, said Ms. Kinkaid: “They temper the traditional with the contemporary.”

Here, seven design trends we can thank grandmillennials for resurrecting, plus how to find, layer and live with them without accidentally re-creating a high school production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

Deck the Everything

Allover pattern—be it petite stripes, soft geometrics, fauna or florals—is a cornerstone of the movement. Some decorators apply a single print everywhere, from wall coverings to headboards and lampshades. Others mix the scale of their prints. Either way, the impact is swift and thunderous. “It’s impossible for it not to create a mood,” said Ms. McGregor, who considers the move her design secret weapon. “It’s just so easy,” she said. “I don’t have to make seven decisions.” If applying allover pattern strikes you as too much of a commitment, limit your swathing to curtains and walls, and cover a sofa or headboard in a solid colour that appears in the print.

Brown Is the New Black

“We’ve all made mistakes with inexpensive, do-it-yourself dressers,” said Benjamin Reynaert, 38, a New York creative director for a furniture company. Currently restoring a Victorian home in Wilmington, Del., he plans to bring in durable, “brown furniture,” a once disparaging term for vintage and antique wood pieces, so that he doesn’t have to replace pieces too soon. London TV host and writer Louise Roe, 39, recently renovated a country cottage, building an Instagram following of over 100K as she documented the process and shared her back-to-the-future style inspirations. Ms. Roe believes brown furniture grounds a room and lends a rich warmth. But she warned, “If you get too many antiques in the same room, it starts to look like the set of ‘Downton Abbey’.” Ms. Roe also recommends pairing brown furniture with simple, pale carpets or a bright piece of art to counterbalance its visual weight.

Scallops and Ruffles

“Ten years ago, if I told a client I wanted to put a ruffled trim on their sofa, they would have said ‘Hell, no!’” said Ms. McGregor. Since then, she has slowly incorporated scalloped pillows and ruffled trim into her designs. (“Scallops are the gateway drug to ruffles,” she quipped.) She recommends British upstart Matilda Goad’s scalloped lampshades for beginners and suggests studying ruffled chairs and curtains by legendary 20th-century designers such as American Albert Hadley and France’s Madeleine Castaing. Ms. Roe makes up her guest room with crisp white linens edged in red-embroidered scallops. That high-contrast colour scheme offsets what could become treacly in softer colours.

Grown-Up Illustrations

“When spending $30,000 on an original piece of art isn’t an option, you can hang a grid of 12 prints for a fraction of the price,” said Ms. McGregor. High quality Audubon reproductions (called giclées) on One Kings Lane range from $155 to $400, and some of these bird prints come framed. Ms. McKenna grouped and reframed a client’s collection of antique Vanity Fair magazine illustrations to display above a desk. She matted them with traditional Italian bookbinder paper, adding old-timey gravitas, but kept the frames themselves simple.

Dressing Up

Textile skirting around tables and bathroom basins slips pretty texture and softness into a space. “It’s a great way to add another pattern into the room,” Ms. McKenna said. In a Nashville powder room by local firm Alexander Interiors, for example, plaid ruffles under the sink complement a fruity floral wallpaper while obscuring ugly plumbing. A skirt can disguise storage as well, hiding everything from kids toys to Wi-Fi routers. In her Manhattan living room, Ms. McKenna covered IKEA shelving with a tassel-trimmed linen until she was able to replace the piece with a handsome, proper cabinet.

Sheen On

Anathema to modernists, chintz has found a new fan base among grandmillennials. The cotton or cotton-blend floral, usually on a white background, has been treated to give it a slight shine. In grandmillennial décor, it appears on everything from pillows to ceilings. Ms. McKenna likes the busier, denser patterns on family-room sofas, where they can hide signs of wear well. When reassuring clients wary of print overload, Ms. McGregor tells them: “Even if a chintz headboard or sofa seems like a huge commitment on its own, once you’ve layered on the pillows, it’s just a dab of chintz.” And, as she puts it: “It’s a way to live with flowers 365 days of the year.”

Shade Parade

Lampshades, either paper or fabric, quickly add a spot of texture and colour. Ms. McGregor tells clients to toss the boring paper shades that come with their lamps. “It’s like the family photo that comes with the picture frame,” joked the designer, who commissions custom shades that feature vivid color, gathered fabrics, prints or all three.

In the room that kicks off this article (pictured above), Ms. McKenna paired a green ceramic lamp with a gathered lampshade that is block printed in the same colours as those in the chair cushion. “You might not even notice them at first,” she said of printed lampshades. But that’s exactly the effect she is going for. Ms. Roe turns to Pooky for lampshade purchases and inspiration. The site offers everything from marbled paper shades to ones constructed from gathered silk ikats. Her unexpected favourite? A black shade with gold lining which she says creates a cozy glow.



MOST POPULAR

Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
Property
The locations where apartment rents are picking up the pace
By Bronwyn Allen 05/03/2024
Property
Hong Kong Takes Drastic Action to Avert Property Slump
By ELAINE YU 01/03/2024
Property
The Australian capitals experiencing world-class price growth in luxury real estate
By Bronwyn Allen 29/02/2024
The locations where apartment rents are picking up the pace

Stronger demand in some areas is pushing unit rents up faster than houses

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Mar 5, 2024 3 min

Renters are returning to the apartment market, leading to higher growth in weekly rents for units than houses over the past year, according to REA data. As workers return to their corporate offices, tenants are coming back to the inner city and choosing apartment living for its affordability.

This is a reversal of the pandemic trend which saw many renters leave their inner city units to rent affordable houses on the outskirts. Working from home meant they did not have to commute to the CBD, so they moved into large houses in outer areas where they could enjoy more space and privacy.

REA Group economic analyst Megan Lieu said the return to apartment living among tenants began in late 2021, when most lockdown restrictions were lifted, and accelerated in 2022 after Australia’s international border reopened.

Following the reopening of offices and in-person work, living within close proximity to CBDs has regained importance,” Ms Lieu said.Units not only tend to be located closer to public transport and in inner city areas, but are also cheaper to rent compared to houses in similar areas. For these reasons, it is unsurprising that units, particularly those in inner city areas, are growing in popularity among renters.

But the return to work in the CBD is not the only factor driving demand for apartment rentals. Rapidly rising weekly rents for all types of property, coupled with a cost-of-living crisis created by high inflation, has forced tenants to look for cheaper accommodation. This typically means compromising on space, with many families embracing apartment living again. At the same time, a huge wave of migration led by international students has turbocharged demand for unit rentals in inner city areas, in particular, because this is where many universities are located.

But it’s not simply a demand-side equation. Lockdowns put a pause on building activity, which reduced the supply of new rental homes to the market. People had to wait longer for their new houses to be built, which meant many of them were forced to remain in rental homes longer than expected. On top of that, a chronic shortage of social housing continued to push more people into the private rental market. After the world reopened, disrupted supply chains meant the cost of building increased, the supply of materials was strained, and a shortage of labour delayed projects.

All of this has driven up rents for all types of property, and the strength of demand has allowed landlords to raise rents more than usual to help them recover the increased costs of servicing their mortgages following 13 interest rate rises since May 2022. Many applicants for rentals are also offering more rent than advertised just to secure a home, which is pushing rental values even higher.

Tenants’ reversion to preferring apartments over houses is a nationwide trend that has led to stronger rental growth for units than houses, especially in the capital cities, says Ms Lieu. “Year-on-year, national weekly house rents have increased by 10.5 percent, an increase of $55 per week,” she said.However, unit rents have increased by 17 percent, which equates to an $80 weekly increase.

The variance is greatest in the capital cities where unit rents have risen twice as fast as house rents. Sydney is the most expensive city to rent in today, according to REA data. The house rent median is $720 per week, up 10.8 percent over the past year. The apartment rental median is $650 per week, up 18.2 percent. In Brisbane, the median house rent is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent over the past year, while the median rent for units is $535 per week, up 18.9 percent. In Melbourne, the median house rent is $540 per week, up 13.7 percent, while the apartment median is $500 per week, up 16.3 percent.

In regional markets, Queensland is the most expensive place to rent either a house or an apartment. The house median rent in regional Queensland is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent year-onyear, while the apartment median rent is $525, up 16.7 percent.

MOST POPULAR

Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
Money
I Cancelled My Unused Subscriptions. The Money I Saved Paid for a Tesla.
By CHRIS KORNELIS 04/03/2024
Money
The Great Wealth Transfer: How rich millennials will invest the billions coming their way
By Bronwyn Allen 01/03/2024
Money
These Teenagers Know More About Investing Than You Do
By HANNAH MIAO 19/02/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop