Millennials are often said to be slavish followers of trends, but when it comes to interiors, there’s an increasing number breaking away from the pack. Eschewing cactus and inspirational quote prints, they favour ruched blinds, scalloped-edges, trims, trinkets and chintz. Fuddy-duddy everything basically. Stuff your grandma would approve of, but your boyfriend? Perhaps not.
It’s why adherents of the style have earned the name “grandmillenials” - a neologism thought up by journalist Emma Bazilian. Less of a trend and more a way of life, grandmillennials cross stitch, calligraph, and cook (using homegrown ingredients from their gardens). They travel to Tetbury to rummage antique shops and trawl eBay for vintage rose-and-ribbon fabrics. They dip heavily into the oeuvre of D Porthault and Dorothy Draper, and their own families too. Because for many it’s an extension of their childhood, which is where a lot of the appeal lies. Furnishing your home in a nostalgic, charming and cosy way brings back memories of simpler, more wholesome days. And while the traditional elements are often tempered and tweaked, the eccentricity and effortless formality remains.
Fresh flowers are a crucial component, so for grandmillenials in the countryside, access to a cutting garden is crucial. A hilariously lovely thought for Londoners trying to grow a single tomato on their window ledge. Tulips, sweet peas, roses and blousy dahlias are deposited in jugs and bud vases, and placed atop tables and dressers sourced from antique fairs, reclamation yards and eBay.
This brings us onto furniture, because you better believe it’s all antique. But that’s not to say it costs the earth because grandmillennails are nothing if not thrifty, often boasting of their bargains on Instagram. Fiendishly fascinated, they wake at dawn and flock to Sunbury Antiques. “There are more young people than ever coming through our gates” says Edward Cruttenden, the market's founder. And it makes sense: for those in a state of perpetual economic and environmental uncertainty, antiques are the solution. “Second-hand stuff reduces carbon footprints and is often cheaper than what’s on the high street. Not to mention the fact that they’ve got infinitely more character” he continues. Celia, 29, who often visits the treasure trove that is Sunbury concurs. “I never buy something without asking for its story, and then when someone compliments it in my home, I regale them too. I’ve had traditional, somewhat twee taste my whole life. I used to get teased but now my friends ask me for advice,” she says, vindicated.
The once-stuffy world of antiques has been resuscitated by sites such as Pamono, Vinterior and Selency. But also some fresh faces too. Take millennial sister duo Emily and Victoria Ceraudo who fill their eponymous site with everything from sconces and vintage botanical prints to side tables and lamps. There’s also Jack Brister, aka Trad Chap, who has a knack for turning run-of-the-mill-houses into stately spectacles, complete with ornate cornicing, fireplaces and original elm floorboards. While he has a physical space to sell antiques, Instagram is where he makes most of his sales. See something you like? Click quick because it won't be around for more than five minutes. “Young people are increasingly appreciating and investing in things with soul and history that will stand the test of time,” he says. Matilda Goad meanwhile is the poster child, having popularised an ultra-feminine, whimsical aesthetic, replete with giant shells, characterful jugs and scalloped-rimmed planters. Her West London home, recently featured in House & Garden serves as excellent inspiration. Or you know, just go to your grandma's.