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The ‘granny chic’ home trend: Mismatched prints, knick-knacks and fun

There was a time when comparing one’s home to a granny’s would have been taken with huge offence. But kitschy rooms filled with fussy prints, patterned wallpapers and clashing furnishings are now de rigueur.

The term ‘granny chic’ has even been coined. More is definitely more with this trend and top designers are getting in on the act.

‘During lockdown, people wanted to feel the security of fun-loving interiors and playful shapes and sought happiness in the way of furniture and interiors,’ says Jacquie Dunton, founder of Sweetpea & Willow furniture store. 

Full of character: Colourful patterns create a cosy living room. But clashing must be done with caution

‘And reminiscing about the past makes us feel good. We all remember tasselled cushions, floral curtains and carpets and rattan furniture in our grandparents’ homes.’

It can be a tricky one to get right, so here’s the difference between granny chic and plain grannyish…

Clash carefully

The white furnishing and straight lines which have modestly dressed our homes for decades are no more.

Now designers are looking to clutter rooms with bold floral prints, quaint knick-knacks and eclectic collections of deliberately mismatched items which suggest a penchant for collecting and travel. 

Even IKEA, which famously told Britons to ‘chuck out the chintz’ in the 1990s, is bringing back floral print. But clashing must be done with caution.

To avoid ending up with a jumbled nightmare, make sure your pieces don’t all clash completely.

Select items with at least one compatible design element, be that colour, design or pattern. For example, a fussy floral print sofa can hold wildly different printed cushions, as long as one colour features in each item to hold the look together.

Embrace ornaments 

While you may once have poked fun at grandma’s rattan conservatory set, the trusty material is now the hottest trend in indoor and outdoor furniture.

‘Rattan adds texture and warmth and can be used for seating, chests of drawers, lighting and even headboards,’ says Jacquie Dunton. ‘But don’t go too wild, use it as an accent piece in a room.’

Wayfair’s Bethesda armchair and footstool would work brilliantly in the corner of a room with couple of patterned cushions plopped on top (£459.99), while La Redoute’s Madalina coffee table would look the part on top of a colourful Berber rug (£150).

Granny’s favourite fringe-trimmed armchairs, cushions and accessories are also being mass produced by high street names. 

Oliver Bonas has dozens of tasselled products, including a Sol Tassel wall hanging in gold, orange and pink tones (£17) and Palm Print and Velvet cushion in pink and blue with clashing orange tassels (£24)

Lighting is important, too. Dark corners should be lit up with flouncy lampshades on cloth-covered side tables, while tall brass floor lamps should be placed next to comfy sofas and armchairs. 

Soho Home’s Halsted Banker’s floor lamp is a charming take on a traditional library lamp (£225). For a budget-friendly option, Dunelm’s Reeded Antique Brass floor lamp is a steal at £55.

Shop for antiques 

When shopping for furniture, antiques are a must. The dark, weathered wood that often makes up vintage pieces gives a room (and you) a sophisticated look.

If you’re not one of the fortunate ones to have inherited dozens of antique gems from past generations, there are places where you can find remarkable antiques that will become heirlooms.

Vinterior, an online marketplace which buys and sells vintage and antique furniture, has thousands of unique pieces on offer at any one time. 

Highlights on sale include a smart mid-century Uniflex chest of drawers for £462.47 and a charming walnut cabinet with curved edges for £921.85.

When it comes to dressing your furniture, deck out your tables and shelves with antique vases filled with fresh blooms, tall brass candles and decorative objects from different eras and countries.

Wow with wallpaper 

The granny chic look isn’t complete without some element of wallpaper.

Colourful floral or toile prints are most fitting and are best spread over one feature wall. 

World Of Wallpaper’s Portofino vintage rose print, with its distressed pink and charcoal tones, will add character to any living space with a dusty pink sofa and a few rattan chairs placed in front (£10.99 per metre).

For a more subtle look, go for Anna French’s Antilles Toile, which has a whimsical design featuring tropical animals and plants in a blue and white palette (£65.62 per metre). 

What your home really needs is… a battery candle 

The determination to recreate a Mediterranean outdoor restaurant ambience in a British garden persists even when the weather is unseasonably chilly.

Crucial to this carefree alfresco scene is a set of battery-operated flameless LED outdoor candles that flicker evocatively. Some can be operated by a timer.

Lights4fun has a wide range including the TrueGlow red candle set of four, £21.99 (one pictured, lights 4fun.co.uk)

Lights4fun has a wide range including the TrueGlow red candle set of four, £21.99 (one pictured, lights 4fun.co.uk)

Instagram may feature shots of LED candles positioned in Game Of Thrones-style chandeliers hung nonchalantly from branches of trees, but you do not need to try that hard at home. 

Just choose LED candles that have the look of wax. Lights4fun has a wide range including the TrueGlow red candle set of four, £21.99. 

The company also offers the large Bunbury garden lantern in black that comes with a white candle (£39.99).

Nordic House (nordichouse.co.uk) stocks candles priced from £7.50 to £16.50 that can be used summer and winter.

IKEA’s offering is the Godafton (Good Evening in Swedish) which costs just £3 (ikea.com).

ANNE ASHWORTH

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