Achieve grandmillennial style in your dining room with these 7 decorating tips for a traditional space that feels bright and up-to-date.
Just a few weeks ago I shared my dining room reveal with you lovelies peonies. It is a formal space with oodles of traditional elements, but it’s not stuffy, and it’s not boring!
That’s because it is totally grandmillennial, which is a design aesthetic all about adapting traditional style with fresh modern twists.
Grandmillennial style should be classic not trend-based and incorporate bright colors, whimsical patterns, fresh florals, and antique pieces. It is more of a maximalist look but tastefully edited.
We, admirers of this style, look to the designs of Sibyl Colefax, Albert Hadley, and Sister Parish yet also opt for practicality and a more relaxed, lived-in approach versus uptight formality. More Billy Baldwin less Colefax & Fowler if you will.
Want to create a grandmillennial look in your dining room? Follow these 7 decorating strategies to achieve the look!
7 Tips to Add Grandmillennial Style
in the Dining Room
No. 1. Embrace the Traditional with Prominent Formal Elements
Creating a formal dining room with grandmillennial style means adopting some of the classic elements of room decor like wainscoting, crown molding, dressy drapery, symmetry, and elegant lighting. I’ve utilized all of these elements in my dining room decor.
Wainscoting and crown molding lend an architectural formality to a space making the walls more visually interesting. Installing these moldings was the first step my husband and I took to transform the room. You can read our DIY tutorials for wainscoting here and for crown molding here.
For lighting I was lucky enough to be able to re-use the crystal chandelier. To complement it, I added a pair of brass candle sconces on either side of the mirror — more elegant lighting and symmetry.
No. 2. Opt for a Bold, Playful Color or Wallpaper on the Walls
To balance out the formality of the wainscoting, crown molding, and elegant lighting, I chose an unexpected color for the top part of our dining room walls – a soft aqua called interesting aqua from Sherwin Williams.
The color is bright and playful without being overwhelming or gaudy. In other words it makes a statement and feels grand but not stuffy.
No. 3. Design for Entertaining Grandmillennial Style
A formal dining room is meant for family meals and entertaining guests at dinner parties, celebrations, and holidays. So think about how guests will move, interact, and be served in your dining room. Practically, you want comfortable chairs and a table that is expandable with enough room on each side for everyone to move around and sit easily.
Other important furnishings that make entertaining a breeze are a chic bar cart and serviceable but stylish sideboard. Bar carts are one of my favorite additions to a dining room because they allow guests to serve themselves at parties, which takes some of the stress out of hosting. I painted this rattan cart myself — read the tutorial here.
No. 4. Play with Patterns
Pattern play is nothing new to the traditional interior, but grandmillennials are rather reinvigorating this decorating strategy, rejecting the all white neutral space of minimalism. The degree of pattern play can be bold and maximalist or more subtle like in my dining room.
The main pattern in the space is the blue and cream plaid of the drapes. It is a soft pattern that echos the wall colors. Other patterns are introduced in small pops with the plate wall, pillow, and table linens. Choose patterns for more permanent costly elements like drapes that are understated and complementary then let accessories go bold. This way you can mix up your decor more easily and with less cost.
No. 5. Put Heirlooms in the Spotlight
Grandmillennials like generations before us, ahem Victorians, love collections, particularly of vintage and antique tableware, chinoiserie decor, and art. The dining room is an ideal space to showcase these collections or heirlooms.
For one, there are the tabletop surfaces: the dining table just begs for a lovely display of vases, candlesticks, and centerpieces down the middle, while the sideboards is a showcase for larger or ornate tureens, knife boxes, cachepots, and chargers, etc. Unlike the Victorians, grandmillennials should edit collections and pair them in unexpected ways, juxtaposing formal with casual, unexpected colors, and/or jarring styles.
No. 6. Create a Gallery Plate Wall
This is one of those nods to traditional interiors that grandmillennials are quite taken with, and why shouldn’t we be? Antique and vintage plates are often works of art in their own right with beautifully hand painted florals and geometric patterns. When grouped on a wall they add visual interest and a lovely pop of color.
Large or heavy plates are easily hung on walls with wire hangers, while disc hangers work great on smaller plates. When creating groupings use a paper template method to hang the plates right. Learn how here.
No. 7. Choose Furnishings with an Antique Feel
To add the right grandmillennial style to your dining room, the table and/or chairs need to have an antique feel. There are so many past styles to choose from it may be difficult to narrow it down. Start with your inspirational spaces and see if there is a particular style furniture you are drawn to.
I love the clean lines and motifs of neoclassical furniture mixed with more curving lines from empire or rococo. Put a modern twist on your dining room furnishings by not matching your dining chairs and table. Here I paired a mahogany federal style table with painted rococo revival chairs with cabriole legs and cartouche cane backs.
Grandmillennial Style Dining Room Picks:
Whether you are totally re-doing your dining room or just looking to add a bit of traditional flair to this space, I hope my 7 tips for grandmillennial style in the dining room helps you achieve the look you want. To see my full dining room reveal click here.