The ‘Urban Aunt’ interior trend is going viral — so what exactly is it?

Open plan living room
Open plan living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

By definition, trends come and go, and TikTok is full of new interior fads to apparently take 2024 by storm. We’ve already had the ‘Coastal Grandmother’, which is an ode to the more mature and timeless style of rustic kitchens, open kitchens, white linens and fresh flowers. And for 2024 retro is back, and we're seeing a resurgence in 1970s interior decor.

Now, there is another interior trend that has gone viral on TikTok. Fittingly, it also pays homage to another member of the family. The "Urban Aunt" aesthetic is what everybody’s talking about — so what exactly is it? And who on earth is this person?

Well, if you’ve ever visited that chic, trendy (and child-free) aunt who lived in a stylish apartment —  that looked like it came straight out of an interior design magazine —that’s who we’re talking about. 

Since it’s very much an urban dwelling, this aesthetic is more likely to be a loft-style apartment in the city or open-plan living. Typically, it would feature exposed brickwork, large windows or skylights, hardwood floors, plush rugs and be decorated with a blend of contemporary and vintage furniture. What’s more, she might have a home bar for hosting parties and entertaining guests in her spacious yet cozy abode. 

And since she’s the "cool aunt", she’ll have the disposable income to spend lavishly on beautiful furniture to create a real statement. It isn’t any wonder why the Urban Aunt appeal is fast becoming an exciting trend to aspire to in 2024. 


♬ original sound - Livingetcofficial

How to get the ‘Urban Aunt’ look

Exposed brick in living room

Exposed brick in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although 99% of us don't live in a loft-style apartment in the glam part of town, you can still include elements of this interior aesthetic in your home. Be it in the living room, bathroom or bedroom, you can create a chic-urban space. 

What’s more, you don’t even have to spend a fortune to create the Urban Aunt style. Here are a few top tips on how to create this viral interior trend. 

Wood panelling

King Living, Jasper Sofa

King Living, Jasper Sofa with wood panel and high windows (Image credit: King Living)

You don’t need to have exposed brickwork and timber beams to achieve this look. Dark wooden materials such as wood paneling or furniture can create a contemporary urban-chic style. 

In fact, wood panelling is becoming a popular choice for homeowners who want to transform their boring walls and add character. You can focus on just one wall or particular area. 

Slat wood panels are usually easy to install, and can be fixed with panel adhesive and finishing nails. These also come in various shades of veneer including oak and walnut to suit your interior style. What’s more, this rustic style helps to add warmth and coziness to any space, and plenty of character. 

For more top tips, check out these 7 reasons why you should use wall paneling in your home — and it’s not just about aesthetics

Statement lighting 

Statement ceiling light

Statement ceiling light (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another element of the Urban Aunt trend is statement lighting — think stylish chandeliers or large pendants that give the wow factor. This should be elegant yet modern, and more about style than functionality. 

Depending on the height of your ceilings, it’s always best to buy lighting appropriate to the space. Hanging light fixtures are ideal for high ceilings, or above a kitchen island or dining table. Alternatively, you can opt for a modern chandelier like this BONLICHT Modern Sputnik Chandelier Lighting 6 Lights ($49, Amazon), that has a height-adjustable stem.

Before installing your lighting however, beware of these 7 home lighting mistakes you didn’t know you were making. 

Stylish chairs 

Seymour swivel chair

Seymour swivel chair (Image credit: King Living)

Texture is also an important aesthetic, and this includes plush rugs, layering soft throws, cushions and premium armchairs. 

Fabric armchairs like this Seymour High Swivel Chair (from King Living), are not only designed to be cozy and comfortable, but are well-designed with a high quality finish. Leather sofas are also a big feature, as these are timeless and elegant. Just remember to keep it pristine by knowing how to clean a leather couch without damaging it. 

In addition, your "urban aunt" very much enjoys visiting flea markets on the hunt for that unique piece of furniture or eye-catching décor item. It’s this blend of premium and vintage pieces of furniture that make the Urban Aunt interior trend more versatile to achieve. 

Vintage pieces 

Marshall Stanmore bluetooth speaker

Marshall Stanmore bluetooth speaker (Image credit: Marshall)

Vintage pieces are another key design feature, and this can include sideboards, coffee tables, chairs, lamps, or other trinkets.

You could also inject a bit of nostalgia through your multimedia systems such as record players like Victrola Nostalgic 6-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player ($99, Amazon), or bluetooth speakers. This Marshall Stanmore Speaker works well to add vintage-chic, and plenty of style.

For more inspiration, these bathroom trends are going viral — here's how to get the looks yourself and here are 7 vintage home trends that still look good, according to experts. Plus, discover about the newest trend — Girlcore set to be the next biggest interior design trend — 5 ways to get the look.

More from Tom's Guide

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!