What is “Cool Grandpa and How is it Different than Mid-Century

Baer's Furniture
4 min readJun 22, 2023

If you’ve never heard the term “cool grandpa” applied to interior décor, you’re not alone. Even furniture industry insiders haven’t heard about it, but it’s quietly becoming a popular offshoot of the ever-so-trendy Midcentury-Modern décor discipline. But what is Cool Grandpa and how do you achieve that look in your space?

Channeling Your Inner Cool Grandpa

Envision a stylish male figure from the fifties and sixties, like Don Draper from Mad Men. He’s not a famous person, even in his time, but he’s successful and can afford to keep his style “now” — “now” meaning the avant-garde styles of the times. An upscale house or apartment in the city, fashionable clothing, and of course, cool Mid-Century furniture. Now, it’s half a century later (the exact math isn’t important), and that successful businessman with the slick Mid-Century apartment has the same taste he did when he was in his thirties or forties. This is the cool grandpa, and his décor is what you’re trying to achieve.

Cool Grandpa Decorating Tips

On the chance that you’re intrigued, we’ve assembled a few tips to help you join what we hope is an enduring trend.

Lean Toward Masculinity

Cool Grandpa tends to lean toward the masculine side of the decorating spectrum. It’s not exactly the opposite of grandmillennial design, it could be considered a slightly more masculine adjacent. Consequently, you need to avoid flowery patterns and brick-a-brack décor. That does not mean that your space should look like a 1950s fraternity house. You want to style your space in a way that’s attractive and livable. With this in mind, no true Cool Grandpa living room would be complete without a comfy recliner to kick back in and read the paper while enjoying a pipe. This Remi Power Recliner by Barcalounger is an absolute classic with modern ergonomics and a USB port to charge your electronics. This chair may trace its roots to Mid-Century seating, but the tech was unknown at the time.

Celebrate Your Television with a Cool Console

Having a color television in a large wooden cabinet to house the speakers was a mid-century status symbol. While those pieces might look interesting in the abstract, the cheapest flat screens are better than those antique tube televisions by a magnitude. No one is expecting you to buy a vintage TV to pull off the Cool Grandpa look, but you do need a console that fits the theme. Check out this Tommy Bahama Home Entertainment Console. It has the straight, even lines of a Mid-Century piece and the type of wood finish that men of the time gravitated toward. You can use it to put a large TV or a smaller set, so you have room for your hi-fi record player.

A nice alternative is the Big Bang Entertainment Console by Hooker Furniture. The shape and dimensions of the cabinet is not dissimilar to the television cabinets of those earlier times, and it provides tons of hidden storage, so your gaming console doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb against your Cool Grandpa décor.

Stay Away From Busy Prints

When you think of a mid-century grandpa, think of straight, business-like lines, simple patterns, and muted colors. Whether you’re choosing a fabric for a soft or chair, the simpler it is, the better. The same goes for room features like carpeting, curtains, throw pillows, and bedding. Check out this Tommy Bahama Home Shanghai Bed with Pan-Asian Fretwork. The bed frame is sturdy in both appearance and function. While there is decorative fretwork, it would never be described as “ornate.” This bed checks all of the Cool Grandpa boxes.

The Devil is in the Details — Minor Touches to Bring the Cool Grandpa Look Home

If you’ve invested in the furniture, you might as well go all in. Here are a few extra tips to help you stick the landing:

  • Old Magazines — You can find older (1950s and 1960s) copies of Life or National Geographic online for $10 to $20 per copy. If you go with this plan, invest in coasters to keep your guest from leaving coffee rings on the cover.
  • Vinyl — It was your grandfather’s only real choice for a music collection. Leave a Dave Brubeck Five or Miles Davis album jacket in plain sight.
  • Pipe Stand — We won’t encourage you to pick up the habit, but nothing says cool mid-century grandpa like a tobacco pipe sitting on a table next to his recliner.

This theme is meant to be fun, so get creative in how you sell it to your guests. And remember, you can find high-quality mid-century-looking pieces to build out this style at your local Baer’s Furniture. With over a dozen Florida stores, there’s bound to be a Baer’s near you.



Baer's Furniture

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