The ‘Urban Aunt aesthetic’ is the latest interior trend taking over TikTok. As is the way with so many trends that rise in popularity, it’s the antithesis to what has been everywhere just before it.
So, it makes sense that now the home design pendulum is swinging the other way. We’re seeing a gravitation towards a lived-in appearance, called ‘Urban Aunt’ by TikTok creators.
It earned this name as the aesthetic would be right at home in a cool, cosmopolitan aunt’s home. It feels collected over time and embraces a mix of pattern and colour.
Of course, design afficionados know this isn’t a new look. It’s been done deftly for many years by the best in the business, including the likes of Amy Spargo, director at Maine House Interiors.
In many of the homes she’s designed you’ll see the hallmarks of the Urban Aunt aesthetic. “These collected interiors are timeless and overall interesting spaces to be in, for both the client and friends and family that visit,” says Amy.
How to achieve the Urban Aunt aesthetic
Despite the fact the Urban Aunt look has been given a gimmicky moniker that will date just like other trends that are on their way out, the design style itself is surprisingly perennial. If you come upon a home that follows Urban Aunt characteristics in years to come, it likely won’t look dated if done well.
This is because it pulls from different eras and styles. Unlike a home that’s filled with pieces from one store or one style, it’s much more likely to date than a home that has a mix of vintage pieces with modern, high and low, and steers away from trend items of the moment.
How do you make a room full of mismatched items come together? “Start with a hero piece, whether that be a key fabric, rug, or artwork.” advises Amy. “Build the scheme around that central piece through colour, print and/or texture and it will bring the room together in a cohesive way.”
Key pieces to include
Much like the home of a well-travelled aunt, your space should have items that could be from different corners of the globe, with beautiful signs of age and wear. It needs to look lived-in and full of life with unexpected pieces, like leopard-print cushions, that still work well in the mix.
“I always add in a vintage or antique piece – patina brings an ease to a space,” says Amy. “I love layering fabrics and rugs and working with fabrics of different scales. It helps the eye move around a space rather than being one dimensional and boring.”
Writer and stylist Kylie Jackes has created many rich and layered spaces for the pages of Home Beautiful. Here, she shares her tips for achieving the Urban Aunt look.
- Embrace your individuality: “Spaces that are considered and layered with life’s treasures are never bland or soulless. They’re alive with individuality and offer a genuine insight into the people who call them home. Rather than a space which has been styled to create a certain ‘look’ a layered lived-in look feels authentic and is often brimming with personality. They often feel comforting too.”
- Weave in unique pieces: “The key to interior spaces which feel eclectic and ‘collected’ is to use a mix of unique pieces, which have a harmonious thread. Often a cohesive tonal colour palette, peppered with a few accents is a great way to visually tie together a curated collection so it’s easy on the eye.”
- Display your treasures: “I love unusually-shaped vases, handmade pieces, original art, a mix of print and pattern and owner’s treasured travel mementos. An unexpected object or two layered within a vignette or gallery wall can add a touch of whimsy.”
Shop the trend: Urban Aunt
Large ‘Bow’ Vase in Lagoon, Dinosaur Designs
The interesting shape and vibrant colour of this sculptural vase will inject individuality into your space.
Rexington Home rectangular leopard velvet cushion, Temple & Webster
$139 (usually $195)
Classic leopard print cushions are cool again thanks to this eclectic TikTok trend.
Inka Arthouse ‘Almond Blossom’ by Van Gogh art print, The Iconic
From $60 (A3 size)
To achieve an interior that will never date, include timeless pieces like this Van Gogh art print.
‘Manila’ machine washable rug, Living Styles
$199 (usually $215)
This oriental-style rug will never date and be a forever piece.
KitchenAid KSM195 artisan stand mixer in Empire Red, David Jones
$799 (usually $1049)
Feel free to also embrace colour in your appliances with a rich red mixer.