Are you familiar with some of the decorating style terms flying around? There’s ‘Neo-Victorian’, ‘Maximalist’, ‘Grandmillennial’ and ‘Granny-chic’ or ‘grandma-chic’. My identifying style ‘granny-chic’ is me through and through, and I’m so tickled that it’s a style being embraced once again.
These terms are gaining popularity as there is a growing sector of Gen-Y, 20 and 30 somethings, that are fully embracing the maximalist style in their decorating. (Maximalist style is the opposite of minimalist style) A ‘Grandmillennial’ is a ‘millennial’ or ‘Gen-Y’ person in their 20’s-30’s that decorates with a maximalist flair. I’m honestly just so thrilled that there are enough of the younger generation embracing this decorating style that we have ‘terms’ for it, and them!
Granny-chic, (which is the same as grandmillenial style, but I’m a wee bit older than a Gen Y, so I’m sticking with ‘granny-chic’ for my style identification) is a style that mixes patterns and colors to create a layered look filled with personality rich items. This style gets is name because it embraces patterns and styles that one’s grandma would have had: vintage furniture, crocheted afghans, American quilts, floral chintz, using skirted and patterned pieces with trimmed pillows and the like. Taking cues from all those patterns and styles mixed together and decorating the space in a bit of an updated fresh display, hence the ‘chic’ part of the term.
Here are a few of the rooms in our home with a few tips how I found a balance in my ‘granny-chic’ style…
Take a look at a corner in our living room:
I have a beautiful hand-knotted vintage oriental rug (dear friends actually gifted it to me!), the colors are picked up and repeated with textures and patterns on many pieces throughout the living room. I’m always looking for and playing with the balance of layering. There’s a fine line of pattern and color mixture to create interest yet not fill the space with so much that nothing is identifiable.
A busy-blob is no good! One way I avoid too much pattern, that can just feel oppressive, is by having a plain backdrop of white walls and trim and a very plain wide plank floor.
I do love wallpaper too, but it needs to be used thoughtfully. I actually love the huge floral wallpapered mural in the lower level studio space. (you can see ‘how-to’ wallpaper project HERE). For our living room and great room I’ve opted to keep the walls purposely color-less so that I can easily display the many, (and very colorful) pieces I have collected over many years. This will emphasize the furnishings without feeling there’s a competition going on between the them and walls.
I have this vintage white corner shelf. I find that having separate spots to display pieces, sets each piece off a bit giving it a unique identity.
Having pretty things about me, is wonderful as many of them evoke special memories. That’s another feature of this Grandmillennial Granny-chic style. The personality-rich interiors beaming layers of patterns also shine through with special pieces, many with their own story.
As an example take a look of this corner in the dining room:
On top of the secretary hutch I have a cloche with a bird’s nest with a story. (you can read that special bird and nest story HERE), the antique impressionist painting hanging above it is an estate treasure I’ve had for decades.
In the cubbies of the desk are special pieces that were mostly gifts from my family. Included is the vintage Hummel ‘Goose Girl’ that my husband brought back for his mother when he was on a high school trip to Germany. She in turn gave it to me after we were married.
That’s the thing about this style, for me at least, it’s hard to show it with out talking about some special connection with something displayed.
On the sunporch, I do have fun with patterns. The sofa is certainly an example of a pattern-rich piece:
I love it on the sun-porch, which is a large open room with white siding on 2 walls and full height windows facing the backyard gardens on the other 2 walls. Because it is almost ‘in the garden’ this gorgeous floral tapestry upholstery with many colors and floral accessories around it works well without feeling too busy. As much as I love it in this room, I know I wouldn’t want this style in the main living room.
I do love pattern and layers, but I also can tire of too much visual stimuli. I think I can hear my minimalist friends that have been in my house chuckling to themselves, ‘sure you do…’ right now. Okay, so everything is relative, right? I guess the secret is to find where your own ‘happy place’ is in the balance of pattern layering.
The highly patterned sofa in the sun-porch sits on a patterned rug, but to ease away from heavy pattern, yet still repeat the floral theme, are vintage McCoy flower faces displayed individually on the wall. By repeating the floral theme and color, on a simple individual shelf with white space between each, actually spreads out the pattern in a softer format.
In our kitchen, I have tile backsplash. Because it is such a permanent feature in the room, I wanted to be careful that I didn’t have too much pattern on it. However, I didn’t want it all to be just plain white subway. My compromise was to have the backsplash in white subway except for two main focal points featuring a framed special tiled feature.
One of those spots is over the stove. The shelf above the stove is a fun place for me to group some vintage, and very colorful, mostly milk glass, along with a copper heart mold my husband gave me many years ago, (I think it was our 7th anniversary).
Though this shelf display is colorful, it is surrounded by white cabinets, white wainscotting and black upper walls. Those black and white walls allows a little more grace for colorful pattern filled displays that feel special and not just lost in the background of colored walls.
Another little spot in the kitchen, shows how I display vintage finds on this color-less backdrop.
This is the top of the hutch in the hearth room by the dining table:
One of my favorite places to add layers of pattern and color is the top of cupboards. I have a mix of gorgeous Villeroy and Boch dishes my daughter gave me along with other pieces I’ve picked up over the years. This display gets updated seasonally with different accent pieces. Right now it’s highlighted with antique flow blue pottery and other fun vintage dishes, but I’ll change it up as the inspiration strikes me.
Looking from the kitchen into the hearth room I currently have plaids…
I’m getting ready to change that though. I’m working on some floral slipcovers for the dining chairs. I love the black and white buffalo plaid chairs, but the pair of chairs by the fireplace are plaid, and the braided rug under the table, (a more recent addition) has a ‘plaid’ or ‘checkered’ look to it too. Put it all together and it’s just too much geometric pattern for me.
That’s how it is, sometimes you have to ebb and flow and re-evaluate needed change as pieces are added. Recovering the dining chairs with skirted slip covers seems like the perfect answer for this space. The fabric I found has some blue and yellow, to repeat the color of that antique yellow tall cabinet in the corner.
So how about you? Do you identify with a maximalist decorating style, like Granny-chic? Do you appreciate patterns layered upon each other? If you want to read a little more identifying these maximalist style terms, Architectural Digest had a terrific article you can find HERE.
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Here are some more posts for your reading enjoyment featuring vignettes and arranging tips: