Here’s How to Get the Retro-Inspired Grandmillennial Look in Your Kitchen

published Oct 22, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Max Kim-Bee; Interior Stylist: Carolyn Englefield

Even if keeping up with kitchen design isn’t exactly your thing, you’ve probably heard that vintage styles with a modern touch are all the rage. Grandmillennial, as it’s been dubbed, is the latest version of “granny chic.” It takes boldly patterned upholstery, wallpapers, and textured textiles and updates them with a fresh, youthful vibe.

“The grandmillennial style may seem like a trend, but it’s a classic style that people are just recognizing again,” says James Farmer, interior designer and founder of James Farmer Designs

We can see the appeal: A grandmother’s kitchen may be the warmest and most welcoming place in the world — regardless of whether the design is dated or on-trend. To be able to refresh your kitchen to match the grandmillennial style, we asked interior designers to share their very best tips on this old/new approach. Here are the six tips they gave us.

Credit: Becky Nielsen

1. More is more, but start slow. 

As a maximalist style, grandmillennial is best achieved by mixing a variety of colors, patterns, and textures that both celebrate the contemporary and give homage to the past.

If you’re only flirting with the idea of implementing the grandmillennial style in your kitchen, Imane Fiocchi, founder of Neon Lace Company, suggests starting small. “Grandmillennial style celebrates ‘collecting’ heirloom pieces in particular, but be sure to start your collections with a point of view,” she says. “Small pieces like tea cups and saucers are a great way to start, so display them for your guests and slowly collect more over time.”

Becky Nielsen, interior designer and founder of Becky Nielsen Interiors, recommends adding easy-to-find touches that can be changed out if you change your mind. Once you’re really ready to commit, you can move on to more permanent decisions, such as painting cabinets or installing fixtures and hardware. 

“Displaying checkered or monogrammed dish towels, a vintage cookbook, a rustic bowl of apples, or a candle set on a blue and white dish add warmth and layers to your kitchen,” she says.

Credit: Julie Soefer

2. Pay attention to your appliances and hardware.

The grandmillennial style is mostly found in decor, textiles, dinnerware, and furniture. To add an even more unique touch, Marie Flanigan, interior designer and founder of Marie Flanigan Interiors, suggests investing in appliances, plumbing fixtures, and hardware that provide a timeless look with Old World charm.

“Appliances are often the least aesthetically pleasing part of a kitchen, but these gorgeous, French-made ranges by Lacanche showcase the craftsmanship and beauty that are integral to the grandmillennial style,” she says. Just changing out your plumbing fixtures can add to the look, too, she adds.

Credit: Laurey Glenn

3. Dishware is at the heart of grandmillennial style.

One aspect of the grandmillennial trend that has been passed down from traditional styles is a grandmother’s love of displaying fine china or any special dinnerware. With the grandmillennial style, however, it’s all about refreshing those vintage pieces and displaying them in modern ways that don’t feel too stuffy.

Credit: Jeff Herr

“Dishware pieces like serving platters, plates, vases, Mason jars, and cake stands can be antique or new and modern with a vintage vibe,” says Fiocchi. “Displaying them in a fun ‘plate wall’ or in a pastel-colored armoire are perfect ways to achieve the grandmillennial style in your kitchen.”

Farmer also recommends paying attention to color and patterns. Antique dinnerware or china can provide a great contrast to a new, fun, and bold wallpaper; brightly painted cabinets; and colorful kitchen appliances.

Credit: Jeff Herr

4. A feminine touch goes a long way.

Grandmillennial consists of what Nielsen describes as a “feminine touch.” Details like lace trim, tassels and fringe, floral patterns, and chintz fabric are just a few of the many elements of grandmillennial style that can work throughout every part of your kitchen.

“Floral or toile accent pillows on a breakfast bench, framed needlepoint pieces on a kitchen wall, and flowers with a ‘just foraged from my garden’ vibe displayed on a dining table are great ways to achieve the grandmillennial style,” Fiocchi says. 

Credit: Jeff Herr

5. Be confident with your design decisions. 

When implementing intricate styles like grandmillennial, every designer says it’s important to commit to your design decisions and avoid overthinking. If the style process becomes too overwhelming, Farmer recommends making a plan and hiring a professional to help you feel confident and set the tone you’re looking for. 

“My grandmother always said the best thing a host or hostess can serve is confidence,” Farmer says. “So if you’re implementing grandmillennial style, take the advice of a true grandmother: Be confident in what feels beautiful to you.”

Do you love the grandmillennial style? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.