2.7 billion TikTok videos later, it’s safe to say that the “old money aesthetic” is here to stay… and that might be because it never left. Inspired by 90s ads, the Kennedy’s, New England and Ralph Lauren’s signature style, “old money” is all about subtly displaying luxury and privilege.
“Old money” is the antithesis of “new rich” or “nouveau riche”. In the upper echelons, “new rich” describes those families or individuals who’ve found wealth recently, generally through successful labour. The stereotype is that these high society newcomers like to flash their wealth in ways that feel gauche and eccentric. “New money” is said to scream instead of whisper, and in the design world, this is translated into trendy pieces, colourful and clashing elements, new and shiny materials, and a disdain for the old or vintage.
On the other hand, “old money” is generational, passed down from parents to their children as so on. The result – again, a stereotype and not a rule – is that “old money” families display their wealth conservatively and quietly, putting a large emphasis on craftsmanship and legacy. Abi Interiors describes the style in interior design as follows: “The ‘old money’ rich aesthetic gives a sense of prestige and social class, not necessarily attaching to particular labels or brands…‘old money’ naturally rejects fleeting trends.”
In the interior design world, “old money” has always been around; it cannot be forgotten that many of the foundational designers we all know and love came from wealthy and well-connected families. Hence, it makes sense that some of those social cues and taste signatures have perdured and become part of the industry’s collective lexicon. However, in this everchanging social media landscape, “old money” has become a very particular aesthetic to emulate.
In this article, we’ll go through some staple “old money” pieces to include into your designs. From cotton fabrics to worn out vintage pieces, we have your next schedule sorted out for you in 7 different ways.
Quality materials are a must
If old wealth is about anything, it’s about quality. When designing a space, put emphasis on the materials you use. From premium wood to the sparkling clean lines of white marble, choose the high-end option, always.
That pop of navy – get it in!
Many “old money” homes take inspiration from Ralph Lauren and the coastal homes of New England, so you can imagine navy is a staple. Going overboard can seem excessive, so we recommend sticking to small touches.
Antiquities are your best friend
Because this interior design style is all about heritage and ancestry, embrace older, more classical styles imbued with history.
Wallpaper for some extra charm
Older homes traditionally have intricate wallpapers in their bedrooms, and we can’t deny the classic charm of these interiors.
Few things are as luxurious as leisure and space. In your next “old money” design, don’t be afraid to allow spaces to do nothing and serve 100% as rooms to go through or simply look at. Over functionality is the enemy of generational comfort.
Light fabrics are essential
Picture this: clean, crisp, cotton sheets. Recently ironed, still enveloped in lavender or jasmine conditioner. Can you think of something more luxurious than that?
Make room for the next generation
“Old money” is generational, and the intention behind the design must accommodate for this. Embrace children at home and allow them to have space for an idyllic childhood amongst luxury.
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