Home Decor That Just Screams "Granny Chic"
Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go! Listen, there’s been a lot of trends resurfacing lately that seriously need to be discussed before you fall victim to “Granny Chic.” Not that there’s anything wrong with your grandma’s house, but… just keep that over at her house!
“Granny Chic” can sneak up on you. No one intentionally packs their homes with baby dolls and tchotchkes. You just look up one day and your shelves are lined with sweet baby angels staring through the depths of your soul, filling your home with that mysterious grandma smell. No one knows how it happens, it just does! It’s like they smell the patchouli and move in.
We’re here to help you avoid slipping into those insidious design trends that can seriously date your home. Consider this Granny Chic Anonymous, where you can hash out your bad decor decisions and learn to do better, together.
From crochet to potpourri, these are the things that make your home scream “Granny Chic.” Plot twist, a few of these may be lurking in your home right now. If you’re into interior design, like us, check out the article we picked just for you at the end of this one!
Oak is a fabulous wood, probably one of the best. However, those dated oak cabinets need to be refinished with a modern color or stain. Until you do, there’s no amount of decor that can cover the grandma underneath it all.
Many decide to forgo a much-needed renovation and just rock the oak look. However, just know everyone is secretly judging you for your bad decisions.
Along with the farmhouse craze, doilies have resurfaced and found their new place, and we have strong opinions about it. Do NOT bring those grimy dust collectors into your home. People may say otherwise, but they’ve lost their way to “Grandma Chic.”
Doilies are completely useless and just add to the clutter in a home. If you’re considering a sudden doily collection, just don’t and say you did.
Potpourri, those dusty scented wood shavings need to go--all the way in the trash! You may still see them in select stores but look the other way. Potpourri is out, and has been since 1989. Free up that space on your bathroom counter and toilet tanks and maybe wipe them down with some Lysol every now and then.
If you could hold a blacklight to these biohazard cesspools you would never, EVER, bring them into your home again. Throw the potpourri in the garbage and never speak of it again, we promise we won’t either.
Silk Floral Arrangements
Nothing is more grandma chic than dusty, silk floral arrangements. In grandma houses across America this is the one thing that will be in every corner, floating shelf, and coffee table. Keep the silks at bay. If you need an acronym, just remember this M&M: Modern and Minimal.
We know what you’re thinking, and yes, a touch of florals can brighten up any space. However, if those arrangements haven’t been dusted off and refurbished in a year, you’re on the verge of “granny-chic,” and it’s not a good look.
Precious Moments Angels
Oh boy, you already know what we’re talking about! Precious Moments Angels are those tiny granny gremlins that you can’t touch or even stand too close to! These ceramic tchotchkes are so coveted, you may feel prompted to shroud them in a glass cabinet for safe viewing. The fact of the matter is that they're not all that great.
We’re here to tell you, it’s the angels brainwashing you. They’d be just as safe in the trash. Actually, you know what? Throw them in the trash today before the granny vibes seep any further into your brain. Next thing you know, you'll put out those hard strawberry candies in a glass bowl.
Back in the day it was a novel idea to adorn the tops of your cabinets with the cheapest, scraggliest strand of faux ivy you could find. People just put them up there and totally forgot about them for 30 years!
If you’ve ever ventured to the tops of your cabinets, you would know those are poison-ivy dust traps that are sure to be causing you allergies.
Pioneer Woman Kitchenware
If you’re looking to make SURE that everyone knows you’re a down-home southern “Ma,” be sure to hit up the clearance aisle at your local Walmart for the Pioneer Woman collection. We recommend going before 5am to beat the traffic.
Nothing says “I’m a Grandma” like overbearing floral cookware! I mean really, you might as well start wearing your glasses around your neck and spying on your neighbors through your mini blinds. Those kids aren’t up to anything grandma!
Dust ruffles - it’s all in the name. Dust. Ruffle. These heinous bed skirt accessories have now gone the way of the top sheet. If you’re still rocking the dust ruffle, you may just be someone's grandma.
Many will say that dust ruffles cover the underside of the bed, but to those people we ask – “What secrets are hiding under the bed, grandma?”
Listen, we’re not here to dog on solid wood furniture, we love it! However, oak furniture just screams “I got this from my Grandma’s estate sale.” We hate to break it to you, but it’s just not the look.
Consider refinishing these pieces, but please for the love of everything good and fashionable, do not go for the farmhouse shabby-chic look!
Cherry Wood Furniture
If you thought oak furniture was the only hardwood that made our list, you were wrong. Cherry wood is just as bad. Cherry wood is what most grandmas replaced their oak dining set with… in 1982!
If you’re still clinging to these dated pieces, this is your sign to let them go. If not, you may just be featured on the next season of “Hoarders - Buried Alive.”
We know buying houseplants is a wonderfully whimsical experience, however if the thought crosses your mind to buy a fern, remember this bit of advice. Ferns belong in retirement homes, and no one wants to sweep up after that mess anyways.
Even if you’re considering putting your ferns on the front porch, just remember that Cracker Barrel does the same thing. Do you want your house to look like Cracker Barrel? We hope not...
Ceramic Cat Statue
We’re not sure where these creepy, ultra-life-like statues came from (probably the same place as those precious angels) but these faux felines need to become alley-cats. As in, in the trash - in the alley.
In all seriousness if you love cats that much just get a real one. We promise they’ll sit there with the same soul-piercing stare.
Yard flags do exactly what baby Boomers love to do: state the obvious. Yes, spring is in the air. You can feel it every time you walk outside, and the pollen punches you in the face. Thanks for the reminder, Nancy.
If the seasonal reminders weren’t bad enough you could also go for the inspirational saying variety of yard flag. Or you could not and spare us all the external display of your internal monologue.
Traditionally, magazine racks went next to your favorite chair and housed your prized magazines and newspapers. These can still be used today, but if you’re still reading magazines and newspapers you may have a bigger problem on your hands.
If you’re still reading magazines to the extent you need a holder for them, please go get in your car or truck, drive to the nearest Best-Buy and buy a $100 tablet. Deforestation isn’t cute.
The Entire Martha Stewart Collection
The Martha Stewart collection is chocked full of pastels and varying shades of beige - all the wonderful colors your grandma would pick. You also have riveting pattern options like florals, gingham, and plaid.
If you find yourself picking up one of her matronly pieces at Khols, just don’t. Get in your car, and never look back.
People who praise paisley are delusional from staring at it for too long. This overbearing pattern is so ugly that it convinces people it’s pretty. The only person who still has a place for paisley is your great grandmother. It’s horribly busy and completely overwhelms a room.
From paisley pillows to paisley curtains, you can find this print on just about anything. Just like how there’s always flies on your garbage can outside! Just because it’s out there doesn’t mean you should put it in your home. Leave the paisley at your grandma’s house.
Floral Wall Art
When shopping for wall art, there’s no shortage of floral pieces. But don’t sell yourself short. Spend a little more time shopping around for the perfect picture. Leave the florals for the people who need them the most. Women over the age of 70.
Nothing says grandma’s house quite like a nice blush peony on the wall. We get it, they’re pleasant and bring in a little color, but save those florals for when you need them most. I hear they look great at funerals, since you’re one foot in the grave anyways.
Mauve? What in the world is mauve? Mauve is the disturbing color that exists somewhere between purple, red, brown, and pink. Image mixing ketchup, mayo, and purple food dye. That’s mauve. Most people under forty don’t even know this color exists.
So, take a hint, Mauve is for grannies! Unless you’re baking fresh cookies for your grandchildren, Reighleigh, Breyleigh, and Kayleigh you don’t need a speck of mauve in your house. Mauve in the home is like a house full of roaches. Once you let it in, you’ll never get rid of it.
We’re so tired of farmhouse decor. Seriously, people spent their entire lives from 2015 to 2019 making their homes look like an abandoned barn left stranded in the middle of a Kansas corn field! Unfortunately, the farmhouse fanaticism hit this most vulnerable demographic the hardest - the elderly.
So, if you ripped out your kitchen and crammed in a gigantic sink and hung rusty barn doors all throughout your house, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Just kidding, you made those choices all on your own.
About ten years ago the wall clock craze was in full tilt. From big to little, people were hanging clocks EVERYWHERE. Some were even painting giant clocks on the wall. For what reason? We’re not sure because half the population doesn’t even know how to read an analog clock anymore.
Maybe the people obsessed with analog clocks haven’t quite made the jump into smartphones yet. Wall clocks (especially in excess) are tacky and useless. People don’t want to be reminded of the time ticking by, especially when they’re over-the-hill. Ditch that clock and get yourself and smartphone grandma!
If you want the granny chic look as soon as you enter a room, you can’t go wrong with floral wallpaper. Floral wallpaper just screams that you may be even older than baby boomer. It’s not the 1940s and like… what? Do you want to get bees? Because that’s how you get bees.
And let’s face it: all wallpaper is totally outdated and just a plain pain in the butt. Wallpaper has had its time and paint is where it’s at. It’s a lot easier to repaint your house that it is to scrape wallpaper off your walls and put up new or apply paint – because even if you paint, you need to remove the wallpaper.
Sure, needlepoint designs can be fun to create and they are a great way to kill time when you are absolutely bored out of your mind, provided you have the patience. You may even like the way your stuff turns out when you’ve finished it, but that doesn’t mean you should hang it on your wall.
Needlepoint is like the epitome of granny chic because it’s literally what you imagine in your head as a grandma doing all – that is until your mom becomes a grandma and she’s still not sewing. But anyway, your creations are best left stuffed in a box somewhere or maybe attached to a quilt.
Ornate frames may seem fancy when they show up in an old mansion or on the set of Downton Abbey or some other period drama, but when put in the home, you’ll find that they look out of place and are totally granny chic. There’s no way to boast an ornate frame in your home without it looking like you eat dinner at 3pm on the regular.
If you want your home to look modern, it’s always a good choice to go simplistic. Choose frames with straight lines that are solid colored or depending on your style even a stained colored frame will work. If you really want something unique, you can try a collage-styled frame that maybe looks like a tree or something – but please – ornate is out.
At some point before the 20th century, someone had the bright idea of creating plates that were never meant to be used. We are talking about those plates that people put on their mantle or hang on the wall. They usually have some kind of paint applied to the plates which makes them basically unusable because it’s not food safe.
Now in the 21st century, decorate plates just have no place in society. As we struggle to pay for the things we actually need, buying plates that we can’t even use just doesn’t make any sense. There’s a ton of ways to decorate your home, why would you decorate with something you usually eat food off of.
Unless it’s a margarita glass or plastic cups for your kids, colored glasses really have no place in your kitchen cabinets. While they are certainly available, actually buying them is going to make your kitchen look like your grandmother’s. No one will be able to tell they are new or if there are antiques, no matter what condition they are in.
If you want colorful glasses to impress your guests, make some colorful drinks! Decorate your water with a lemon wedge or make colorful cocktails. If you are drinking wine, admire its color as you savor the flavor and aroma. Colored glasses just cheapen the look of everything you are about to enjoy.
If there is any decorative pillow out there that is sure to give your home a granny chic look, it has to be the pintuck pillow. You’ve probably seen this on your grandmother’s sofa or her rocking chair or on her bed. It’s the most granny chic of all pillows in existence.
These pillows instantly recall a bygone era in history and unless you live in a museum, your home doesn’t need to look like one. There’s no way to make these kinds of pillows work in a modern home and there’s certainly no reason to buy them because your grandmother already has some to spare.
Of all the useless things your grandparents used to have that we certainly have no use for, it would have to be the barometer. For some reason, your parents or grandparents thought it was really cool to be able to know the atmospheric pressure at all times and so they probably hung one of these on their wall.
What’s the atmospheric pressure where you live? Oh right, nobody actually cares. We don’t need all the little details about the weather. We just need to know if we are going to need a coat to go outside. But hey, maybe you have a barometer that is an heirloom. Good for you, but keep that thing in the closet.
Plastic Couch Covers
There’s nothing inherently wrong with couch covers because they do protect your furniture when perhaps you plan to eat on them or have someone crash on the couch overnight, but with that said, having them on all the time is kind of pointless because then you never really get to enjoy your couch.
You especially won’t enjoy your couch if you have a plastic cover on the whole time. Plastic couch covers, just like granny used to have, are just about the ugliest thing you could put on your couch. And to make matters worse, they aren’t even comfortable to sit, particularly on a hot summer day when the cover is just sticking to your leg.
Nothing says you are too old and tired to take care of anything more than a vase full of fake flowers. Fake flowers never look real because they always look too perfect. And they look perfect because they are a mix of plastic and synthetic fibers. And because they are plastic they make your kitchen plastic and well you get the point!
If you want the look of having fresh flowers in your kitchen, just invest in real flowers and toss them when wilt and dry up. Nothing beautiful in this life is meant to last forever – and flowers least of all. So even if you can’t keep a fake plant alive for very long, it’s still going to look better than a fake one. Because yes, everyone can tell.
If you never grew up with these in your home like some of us did, consider yourself lucky. Annalee Dolls have just about the most hideous, terrifying faces of any doll you’ve ever seen. These fabric-constructed dolls have painted-on faces that you can feel staring at you in the darkest of night.
And when it comes to old people buying these, they tend to get a lot of them and they have them all over the house. They are once again, just another pointless thing to spend your money on and they don’t even look good. Although we do understand if they have some sentimental value to you.
Unless you're living in a literal castle, wall mouldings aren't making you look fancy—they're just making you look older. These may have been all the rage at one point in time, but that time is long gone, leaving homes with ornate designs in the moulding looking dated.
There are some truly beautiful designs out there—we won't deny that. However, it has been decades since intricate wall mouldings had their moment in the sun and were considered to be high-class. These days, you won't find many people besides grandmas with these decorative accents on their walls.
Huge, Old TVs
On the one hand, we have to agree with the stereotypical old folks when we say that technology these days is just too trendy and moves too fast. You buy a new phone, TV, or computer, and within the week it's obsolete—already replaced by the next big thing.
However, with all that being said, if you haven't bought a new TV in the last two decades (or, God forbid, three), it's probably time for an upgrade. Those old models are often huge and heavy eyesores. Not to mention the fact that they make your home look like it's still stuck in the Stone Age!
Poor wood paneling just can't catch a break. It seems like everyone has a bad thing to say about it...and for good reason, too! And yet, it seems like way too many people still have this staple of retro homes in their own houses. Sorry, but you're about 40 years too late for this trend!
Nothing screams the 1970s more than wall-to-wall pressed wood paneling. It might have been an affordable and trendy option when it was first popularized, but those days are long gone. These days, if you're still rocking wood paneling, don't be surprised when people ask you how the grandkids are doing!
These days, minimalism is all the rage, especially when it comes to sprucing up your windows. Most people hang up a tasteful set of blinds and call it a day. However, that wasn't always the case. Back in the day, it seemed like people wanted to deck their windows out with every decor option under the sun.
And one of the most popular options was window valences. These cutesy "skirts" for your windows are guaranteed to make your home look like a bed and breakfast straight out of the 1980s. Unless you're a literal granny leaving pies on the windowsill to cool, you can probably do without all the valances.
High-quality vintage decor pieces will always be in style. However, some vintage trends, no matter how classy they might look, have definitely overstayed their welcome in our homes. And there's not a classic trend out there that's more overused than Tiffany lamps. They're proof that you can have too much of a good thing!
Originally created in 1893, Tiffany lamps remain a testament to just how beautiful a hand-made item can be. However, with all the people sporting them (and the shameless, mass-produced knockoffs), they just don't have the same glamor anymore. These days, a Tiffany lamp is simply dating your home and you.
Is there anything more tacky and outdated than floor-to-ceiling wallpaper? Actually, yes there is! Despite being smaller, there's just something even worse about a wallpaper border wrapping an entire room. Just to be safe, we should probably throw out anything that's even remotely wallpaper related at this point.
Because they don't take up the entire wall, wallpaper borders were perfect for showing off even more terrible home decor trends, like sponge painting your walls. Why not do grandma a favor this Mother's Day and take a scraper to those hideous borders outlining every room in her house.
We've advanced far enough as a species that we're mostly all on the same page about keeping carpet out of the bathroom. However, some people still think it's a good idea to toss a carpeted rug at the foot of the toilet. We're honestly at a loss for why people still think this is a good idea.
Toilet rugs not only scream "granny chic"—they also scream "bacteria magnet." Honestly, it's not the decor aspect that gets us with this one; it's the hygiene nightmare waiting to happen. It's time to bring your bathroom into the 21st century—get rid of that disgusting floor toupee you put near the toilet.
Back in the day, laminate countertops were all the rage. This affordable decor option allowed you to cover your counters in faux marble and stone that almost looked like the real thing...assuming you didn't inspect it too carefully! However, the heyday of laminate countertops is long gone by this point.
Maybe in another few years, laminate countertops will become full-fledged "vintage" instead of just "hilariously retro," but that day hasn't come yet. So, if you've still got some lurking in your kitchen or bathroom, it might be time to tear them up and replace them with some a bit nicer looking.
Who did we think we were fooling with linoleum? Anyone with a working pair of eyes could see that it was just a cheap layer of plastic and not actual intricate tile or woodwork. However, the linoleum trend continues to persist through a lot of the 1980s and '90s, and you might even see it from time to time these days!
Linoleum might have been easy to clean, but its shiny surface just looked tacky from the get-go. If you've got it in your home, at least replace it with the newer fake flooring options. They're sure to go out of style too, but at least they won't make you look like a member of the AARP.
Matching Furniture Sets
Nothing says granny chic more than making your decor all matchy-matchy. Variety is the spice of life, and that goes double when you're talking about furniture and other home items. Nothing will make your home look more dated than if every furniture piece looks identical.
You obviously don't want your living room to look like a chaotic mess, but buying a furniture set where everything uses the same fabric and design is not the way to avoid that problem. Make sure that at least an item or two doesn't look like a carbon copy of everything else in a room.
Retro Ceiling Fans
It seems like every grandma in the '80s and '90s had those old ceiling fans with wooden blades and wicker designs on them. We don't know why these got so popular, but they looked outdated when they first rose to fame...not to mention how they look now!
We understand that you gotta do what you gotta do to stay cool, but it might be time to upgrade your ceiling fans to something a bit more modern. There are plenty of blade styles (including wood) that look more up-to-date than the ones that were popular decades ago.
Nothing quite encapsulates the decor sensibilities of the 1970s more than that terrible avocado (or puke) green color that was so popular during the decade. From appliances to countertops to carpets, it felt like you just couldn't escape this hideous hue that people inexplicably seemed to love.
If you happen to have any avocado green holdouts in your own home, now is the time to replace those items or paint over this terrible color. This shade was already outdated by the 1980s. If you're still rocking it in the 2020s, your home is basically an ancient landmark at this point.