While you, like me, might have once looked to your grandparents' house as a stuffy (albeit comforting) space that was anything but on-trend, those chintz and needlepoint-filled interiors might well be worth another look. One scroll through the home section of a modern-day design site will show you just how cool your grandparents' taste actually is.
In 2019, House Beautiful defined the aesthetic of the grandmillenial as a stylish young person with an appreciation for granny chic. Since then, we've only seen more evidence to support this, with everything from 80s patterns to 70s color palettes reappearing in current interiors, products, and pop culture.
So, it just might be time to revisit that old blanket from Nana's which you never thought you'd want in your apartment. After all, as Rudy Saunders, designer at Dorothy Draper & Company, Inc, points out "there’s so much negativity in the world today-who doesn’t want to be surrounded by pretty, happy, comfortable things?" I know I do. Ahead, 10 things from your grandparents' house that are making a comeback.
A timeless classic, chintz has once again become mainstream, making its resounding return in fabrics, furniture, and serving ware. "For nearly a decade, chintz was commonly associated with being either outdated or stuffy," explains founder of Sophisticated Style, Sophie Phelps. "Now that we've been spending more time at home, homeowners have rediscovered the charm of chintz and how it instantly elevates any room," she says. "Chintz has an air of familiarly and understated elegance that naturally draws you in and puts you at ease. Just look at any space designed by Mario Buatta, the Prince of Chintz!"—or this Dallas beauty by Cathy Kincaid.
2 Floral Wallpaper
The resurgence of chintz isn't limited to fabric: In fact, florals of all sizes are reappearing as sophisticated wallpaper options. With more people turning to wallpaper (as well as peel-and-stick options) as a way to add a touch of personality to their homes, familiar florals are making a major comeback.
As needlepoint pro Rudy Saunders says "Grandmillennial mindset has taken over!" and subsequently, so has the age-old hobby of needlepointing. But don't expect the church kneelers or kitschy throw pillow canvases our grandparents used when looking for modern equivalents. "Needlepoint, just like the rest of the world, has changed a lot!" says Saunders. "Some people do more classic preppy canvases while others are more edgy-no matter your personal taste there is needlepoint out there for you!" Saunders believes that needlepoint, like wicker, always elevates a design "If something can be done in needlepoint, it should be."
Are you convinced yet? If you want to add needlepoint to your own space, Saunders has some ideas. " I think there are two different mindsets to integrate needlepoint into your home." he says. "You can take a minimalist approach or a more maximalist approach." While decking out your home in all things needlepoint might be your style (Saunders is currently working on a tabletop for a vintage cocktail table), smaller canvases like Christmas ornaments and framed phrases are also popular.
4 China Cabinets
While it's easy to gravitate towards mass-produced and often less expensive furniture, it's not exactly the most sustainable way to furnish a home nor do those pieces typically last very long. "Newer furniture is typically made out of engineered wood, which is much lighter than solid wood," explains Laurence Kirby, owner of Chapter Two Vintage. "It's typically held together by glue and other chemicals," she says. "Because old furniture is made from solid wood, it lasts much longer."
Not only is quality a factor, but people want a way to display their tableware in a way that goes beyond letting it collect dust in a cabinet. As designer Ariel Orkin says, "the dichotomy of displaying a modern array of collected dinnerware in an inherited hutch, for example, or vintage plates against a sleek Saarinen table, really play into the give and take that make collecting and layering so exciting." Just take this cabinet in Michael Maher's living room as proof!
5 Pink Tile
While pink tile might give you nightmarish flashbacks to bathrooms of decades past, contemporary takes on pink tiled rooms might make you reconsider why we even abandoned this trend in the first place. Pink subway or zellige tiles (like in this pink shower by ETC.etera Design) are the perfect way of incorporating the retro trend in a subtle, more current way.
6 Ornate Frames
Walking into my grandparents' house felt like walking in to an art museum. From the ceiling to the floor, ornate gold frames lined the walls. It was a stark contrast from the thin wooden frames that filled my Pinterest boards. If the everlasting obsession with Anthropologie's infamous primrose mirror is any indication of the popularity of ornate frames, then it's almost certain that this is a trend that's here to stay. And I, for one, know that my grandmother would be proud of me for swapping my mass produced frames for something with a little more character.
7 Decorative Plates
Forget gallery walls. A decorative plate wall is the statement-making wall decor your grandparents did best. Good art isn't limited to a frame, and your grandmother knew that. "The days of allowing our fine china to gather dust in the cupboard are long gone and homeowners have rediscovered the joys of adding color, pattern and whimsy throughout their homes in a variety of ways," says Phelps. "Decorative plates add that extra dose of beauty into our lives that we all crave," she says. Just look at the effect it has in a bedroom by proud Grandmillennial Clary Bosbyshell here.
8 Colored Glassware
Originally created during the Great Depression due to colored glass being cheaper than clear alternatives, colored glassware (it's often referred to as "depression glass") has made a comeback in a big way. Despite its origins as a lower quality glassware option, modern adaptations have popped up all over Instagram, even being sold in stores like Pottery Barn and Urban Outfitters as a unique take on glassware. So, you might want to hang on to those cups that likely lined your grandparents cabinets.
"Repurposing family heirlooms is such an incredibly special way to let family history live on through design in your home, and what better way to do that than through your grandmother's beautiful handmade quilt," says Orkin. And if you don't have grandma's original, quilts in retro patterns are widely available.
10 Pintuck Pillows
was scrolling through the home section of Urban Outfitters recently and saw a pillow that vaguely reminded me of something I'd seen so many times before in my grandparents' home. Proudly placed atop my grandparents guest bed was a round, lace, pintuck pillow that looked like it had been around forever (which, let's be honest, it probably had been). While modern versions are much trendier than my grandmother's aged lace variation, the round pillow trend is definitely back.