Granny Chic

Image by Kim Piper Werker

Afghan blanket and comfortable recliner

One of the things we love about vintage is that even though the inventory is already existing, the way it’s interpreted and appreciated is forever evolving. While working on our Iowa Graph Magazine features we were introduced to a trend we’d never heard of before. It’s taking the Des Moines, Iowa scene by storm (as well as many other retro communities). Come along as we learn more about the popular trend known as granny chic style. We must offer a big thanks to Suzie with Funky Finds for shedding light on this movement which traces its roots to the fashion world.

What is granny chic style?

This look, like many vintage perspectives, is largely about attitude. Instead of rejecting the hand me downs from dear grandmother’s home, granny chic style means promoting them within a contemporary space. It’s all about the mixture between things with history and items  just starting to cultivate their antiquity. Suzie provides us with an apt description of the trend: “It’s not about having grandma’s house, but filling your house with pieces that would have been found in her home.”

But it goes beyond incorporation, to acceptance. People who use this as a major decorative theme take things as is. Rather than replacing what may seem like an outlandish print from the 1970s, the texture and hue is celebrated. Color tones and patterns happily mingle in a layered and bold look. Even grandmother’s accessories are proudly displayed: tatting shuttles, sewing baskets, and knitting needles are used as decorative elements.

How to decorate in granny chic style

Considerations with granny chic are relatively simple in scope: just ask yourself “what would grandma do?” Think in terms of comfort and joy. Remember that grandma collected her treasures over time so things won’t be well-matched, but rather intermingle and co-exist. Her collection undoubtedly also contains a lot of homemade pieces. Be sure and proudly display your grandmother or great-grandmother’s handy-works. The biggest challenge is to balance the multitude of colors, patterns, and textures that will be at your disposal. While it’s tempting to overload the space be sure to edit. Keep in mind that patterns may not match, but you can still work within the color families to unite and harmonize the look. A thoughtful approach is best and you can always switch up your look based on season or mood.

From the National Archives

The living room of Mr. and Mrs. August Vogel

Personal touches like photographs, handmade lace doilies, and pressed flowers create the foundation for an amazing granny chic room. Surrounding yourself with family history not only provides a sense of security and comfort, but also a great launching pad for entertaining stories during parties.

Perhaps one of the largest benefits to this style is economic in nature. Most items may be gifted and therefore a collection of investment pieces can be easily acquired. And by its eclectic nature it’s a great style for enthusiasts just beginning on their vintage quest. This approach encourages you to take a journey through grandma’s collecting history and let her items guide your own retro adventures.


Cause A Frockus would like to thank their tremendous resources: Funky Finds, Home Guides, Houzz, and the people who post their images without restriction.

For our readers: What do you think of the granny chic movement? How do you find balance in the colors and patterns of grandma’s decoration?


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