Summer may be drawing to a close, but you don’t have to bid the beach goodbye altogether. The Coastal Grandmother decor, social media’s latest obsession, can add cozy seaside luxury to your living space year-round.
Inspired by the likes of Ina Garten, Martha Stewart, and Nancy Meyers, this design philosophy finds elegance in the everyday.
What Coastal Grandmother Decor Style Is
TikTok creator Lex Nicoleta coined the term “Coastal Grandmother” back in the summer of 2022, although his style has been around for decades.
You were most likely to find it in the seaside towns of areas like the Hamptons or Cape Cod, especially in the homes of older women—those who no longer had small children to chase and had had the time to accumulate enough wealth for a beach house.
Everything about the Coastal Grandmother style is distinctly beachy and nautical but more mature and subdued.
You’ll find a Coastal Grandmother taking a lovely walk along the beach to enjoy the bracing salt air, but you won’t find her laying out and tanning.
Instead of bikinis and flip-flops, the Coastal Grandmother prefers something more modest and practical, like a half-tucked chambray button-down and a pair of linen capris.
Coastal Grandma Style Is About Luxury and Comfort
While the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic may have been inspired by affluence, it is luxurious in an unfussy way.
It’s not the kind of house where the furniture is covered in plastic, and you’re not allowed to touch anything. Instead, the Coastal Grandmother’s house invites you to cozy among the throw pillows and wrap yourself in a lovely knitted blanket.
It eschews high-fashion’s tight, restrictive clothing and pinchy shoes for loose, comfortable clothing that still manages to look chic.
The Coastal Grandmother decor aesthetic understands that simplicity is at the heart of elegance. For example, a home filled with expensive art pieces on every bare surface can feel cramped, cluttered, and tacky.
Minimizing clutter and sticking to white paint and furniture can open up a space and make it look and feel more luxurious. This home decor style is all about choosing quality over quantity.
The Coastal Grandmother color palette is inspired by the coastal environment, pulling hues from the sky, sea, sand, and stones.
A Neutral Stance
When decorating a space in the Coastal Grandmother style, start with a white, cream, or ivory base. This brightens up the space and creates an airier feel. Then start adding in other light, neutral tones: beige, gray, tan, taupe.
Of course, it’s impossible to think of the coast without the blues of the sky and ocean. Since the Coastal Grandmother home decor favors subtle, calming colors, you’ll want to choose mostly pastel blues. However, you can also choose a few deep blue accents.
Keep It Light
In general, stick with lighter colors to really capture the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic. Shell pink, pale coral, or sea foam green make excellent accent colors.
In general, the Coastal Grandmother decorating style prefers solid colors to patterns. If you want to add a bit of pattern for texture and interest, your best bet is a nice nautical or pinstripe.
It is all about subtlety, so avoid cliché beach patterns and décor, like shells, lighthouses, and beach umbrellas.
The Coastal Grandmother aesthetic continues to pull inspiration from nature for materials. You’ll want to select organic materials over synthetic ones whenever possible.
Natural wood is excellent for furniture and architectural elements in Coastal Grandmother-inspired design.
If your home has exposed wooden beams or hardwood floors, you’ve already got a good base for the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic. However, this isn’t a prerequisite.
Adding shiplap is one way to incorporate natural wood into the architectural elements of your home without a complete remodel. Select cabinetry, tables, and chairs made of natural wood for furniture.
You can stain or paint it, but stay away from heavy lacquers and embrace the wood’s natural beauty and texture.
Cotton and Linen
Cotton and linen make excellent choices for your Coastal Grandmother-inspired décor because they are made of natural fibers and are known for being comfortable, lightweight, and easy to clean.
That last part is crucial, considering the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic relies heavily on light colors more likely to show dirt. For warmer weather, you can use cotton and linen as upholstery, curtains, table linens, and even light throw blankets.
Woven Materials and Knits
In cooler months, transition from natural plant-based fibers to natural animal-based fibers. Replace your lightweight blankets with knitted and crocheted blankets in the appropriate colors.
Bonus points if handmade, especially if you made them yourself (again, not a prerequisite).
Woven natural fibers can also be used in other décor elements, such as wicker or rattan furniture and woven jute rugs.
In some areas of your home, especially kitchens and bathrooms, hardwood or fabrics are not the best materials. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your Coastal Grandmother-styled decor in these spaces.
Marble, mainly white marble, is a natural material that won’t warp or discolor when exposed to water. It’s an excellent option for countertops, tile, and even decorative elements like cutting boards.
Coastal Grandmother Design Ideas
Once you understand the essential components that make up the aesthetic, the next step is to combine them into cohesive design choices. The overall effect should be simple, elegant, and comfortable, with a slight romantic touch.
Flowy Window Treatments
Can you imagine a more peaceful image than curtains gently fluttering in a sea breeze through an open window? Flowy curtains are an easy and affordable way to make your home more elegant.
Try layering a sheer curtain with a more opaque cotton or linen curtain for more color and to give you more control over the amount of natural light.
Modern Farmhouse is another popular design aesthetic at the moment, and while it’s not quite the same, it shares many things in common with Coastal Grandmother. For example, most Modern Farmhouse furniture incorporates natural wood in neutral tones.
If you’re looking to replace some of your furniture to achieve this home decor style, start looking at modern farmhouse options.
Open and Airy
Coastlines are wide open spaces. The Coastal Grandmother style aims to capture this essence inside a living area. Therefore, making your home feel as open and airy as possible is essential.
Reducing clutter will go a long way. Open floor plans naturally lend themselves to the aesthetic, but if your home doesn’t already have one, make sure you arrange furniture so that it doesn’t create any additional closed-off spaces.
Use sheer curtains to encourage lots of natural light.
Bring the Outside in…
The decor style is rooted in a connection with the natural world. Try incorporating some greenery into your home with a vase of fresh-cut flowers or a wicker basket of fresh fruit from your local farmers market.
You can also grow herbs in your kitchen or on your windowsill/countertop, so you always have fresh garnish for your food.
…and the Inside Out
The Coastal Grandmother loves to enjoy a sunny day in her garden. Create a space where you can relax comfortably outside.
Stick to the same materials you would use inside—like wood or wicker furniture—and keep the same color palette of neutrals and light blues.
Where To Shop
Even if you live nowhere near a beach, you can start your Coastal Grandmother redecoration today with pieces from some of the country’s most popular home goods stores.
Pottery Barn has a little bit of everything for almost every design style. Their collection features plenty of blues, whites, and neutrals in all sorts of natural materials like cotton, linen, and rattan.
Serena & Lily
Serena & Lily may be the brand for the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic. Almost their entire collection is white or blue, focusing on natural materials.
Linen & Birch
Linen & Birch is a relatively new home décor brand whose tagline is “Coastal Interiors.” They pride themselves on providing décor pieces that are “casually elegant” and “effortlessly beautiful.”
Most of their products match the Coastal Grandmother style standard to a T.
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.