Give Your Garden a Nostalgic, Grandmillennial Makeover

Since it was first christened in 2019, the “grandmillennial” interiors aesthetic has flourished in the homes of design-forward 20- and 30-somethings who embrace passed-down furnishings. Elements include mixed patterns, vintage furniture and unabashed ornament.

Now designers say clients, even beyond the throwback-loving set, want to see the look in their outdoor spaces. London interior designer Stephanie Barba Mendoza noted that a garden serves the style’s elaborate flourishes well. “Nature will never feel overwhelming, so it’s a safe space to go all out,” she said.

Grandmillennial style “makes room for as many layers as you can get your hands on,” said Chicago designer Summer Thornton, who in this Naples, Fla., lanai upholstered sofas with an unexpected Batik-inspired textile.

Thomas Loof

The design of this season’s outdoor collections signals the shift. Business & Pleasure’s Premium Beach Umbrella in Chinoiserie (below), combines undulating contrast fringe with a surprising blue-and-white underside. Wicker predominates, but not in the form of blocky low sectionals. Grandmillennial style calls for lighter classic shapes accompanied by sunny-hued upholstery. A tablecloth from Nordic home-textiles brand Projektityyny features a grandmillennial hat trick: gingham, a ruffle and floral embroidery. The goal, said New York designer Lilse McKenna, is décor that feels “layered and collected” rather than “ordered and delivered.”

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Adding contemporary components, like a more modern fabric print, to the mix can save a patio from appearing simply mummified. They help ensure grandmillennial spaces don’t read like an estate sale, said Chicago designer Kara Mann. As 1stDibs editorial director Anthony Barzilay Freund advised, referring to the 20th-century American interior designer known as the prince of chintz, “Think Mario Buatta if he’d spent some time hanging with Brooklyn hipsters.”

Clockwise from top left: Leinikki Tablecloth in Apricot, $367,; Aerin Ginger Jar Champagne Bucket, $160,; Danielle Dining Table in White, $295,

In a newly completed lanai in Naples, Fla., for example, Chicago designer Summer Thornton positioned wicker porch chairs around a dining table set with a golden floral cloth, brass palm-tree candlesticks and hand-painted glassware (above). But to offset the old-school aesthetic, Ms. Thornton brought in trending textiles nearby: “We went for a Batik-inspired African-print sun cloth on two huge sofas,” she said. The effect is 1940s Florida for a younger generation.

From left: Celerie Kemble for Lane Venture Mimi Cuddle Chair and Canopy in Coral, $2,895,; Premium Beach Umbrella in Chinoiserie, $299,; Fermob Guinguette End Table in Cactus, $306,

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The granny-chic appetite for floral prints can also be satisfied with the genuine article. Miami landscape architect Fernando Wong uses plants and flowers—think aged terra-cotta planters overflowing with vividly colored geraniums—the way a decorator might use bloomy wallpaper, bold paint and architectural trim indoors. “A trellis with ivy or bougainvillea takes the place of pattern on the walls to replicate the grandmillennial look,” said Caroline Rafferty, a decorator in Palm Beach.

Clockwise from left: Opalhouse Floral Fringed Outdoor Rug in Blush, from $50,; Golden Rabbit Green Scallop Enamel Dinner Plates, $84 for 4,; Outdoor Cushion with Liberty Strawberry Thief Fabric, $96,

The retro-tinged style translated outdoors owes a lot to the classic style of that beachy town, with its pink-and-green palette, cabana stripes, Chippendale lattice work and wicker everything. Take the Mimi Cuddle chair (above), a roomy canopied seat from a new collection of outdoor furniture by Celerie Kemble, now based in New York, for Lane Venture. The perch would suit any vintage-loving 30-something’s garden as well as a current courtyard in the designer’s hometown of Palm Beach.

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For a recent project, pictured at the top of this article, Ms. Rafferty updated that Florida town’s signature style. In a covered porch she laid a wide-striped pink and white rug, and she set vintage rattan end tables on either side of a white-painted sofa. The couch, however, sports zebra-print upholstery, the nearby white metal lounge chair is all geometry and the cocktail table, though wicker, drapes from its glass top like a skirt. Granny chic? Yes. Stodgy? No.