Have you heard of the new coastal grandmother trend on social media? This elegantly casual seaside aesthetic is inspired by Nancy Meyers’ films whose characters, like Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep, embody a covetable casual and aspirational lifestyle. They’re dressed in linen, crisply tailored button-downs, and cashmere wraps and their homes echo the style, using the same materials to give a look that is elegant yet makes you instantly feel at home. Discover the key elements that define the coastal grandmother decor trend and find ideas on how you can incorporate it into your own space.
What is Coastal Grandmother Style?
The coastal grandma idea originated on social media and was coined by creator Lex Nicoleta and it all started with the characters and sets of Nancy Meyers’ films. Remember the airy living room and spacious kitchen in her 2003 movie, Something’s Gotta Give? The living spaces in this east coast seaside home were as equipped for effortless and elegant entertaining as they were for luxurious solitude. Essentially, the look layers coastal, preppy, and traditional New England style elements for a design that is polished and timeless yet relaxed and cozy.
Key Elements of Coastal Grandmother Decor
Wondering how to cook up this look in your space? Here are the 6 key ingredients in coastal grandmother decorating.
Comfort Is Queen
One of the reasons Nancy Meyers’ movie homes are so endearing is because they feel inviting and comfortable. This means plush sofas and upholstered armchairs you can sink into, antique-inspired dining sets, and cushy rugs underfoot. What keeps the look fresh is uncluttered rooms that feel spacious, a neutral palette, and welcoming details like textural throw blankets and fresh flowers in elegant vases.
Layers of Neutral Colors
Start with a neutral color palette. All furniture, paint, and most of the decor in a coastal grandmother’s home come in shades of white, cream, and beige. This creates a clean, timeless aesthetic. Color takes its inspiration from the beach, which means warmer neutrals and pops of blue.
Patterns should be used as subtle accents and kept to classics like ticking stripes on fabric and chinoiserie on antique style ceramic pieces. These add a sophisticated, classic touch to your space that’s coastal grandmother-approved!
Steer Clear of Coastal Kitsch
Remember that this aesthetic is inspired by natural elements found on the beach, not necessarily nautical. Instead of porthole mirrors and anchor decor, bring the coastal vibe home through the neutral, beach-inspired color palette and natural materials. Though an elegant model sailboat on the mantel or refined coral reef embroidered pillow wouldn’t be amiss.
A Mix of Traditional Furniture
This trend has its roots firmly planted in tradition and is built around coastal-inspired furniture so look for furnishings that feel more classic and timeless. Slipcovered sofas and armchairs, antique-inspired pieces, and farmhouse-style foundations are all welcome. Choose natural materials like neutral-colored linen fabric and unfinished, sun-bleached wood as these add character and warmth, and will infuse your space with instant coastal appeal.
To keep the design relaxed, mix and match furniture pieces rather than going for a complete set. Your dining room is a great place to use this method. Try replacing the chairs at the ends of your dining table with upholstered armchairs.
Textures and Natural Materials Galore
Texture is the secret ingredient in any great design scheme. It’s especially important here as it’s the main component that will keep the coastal grandmother aesthetic from feeling one-dimensional and boring. Use natural elements like linen, cotton, unfinished woods, wicker, and jute.
Don’t be afraid to incorporate plenty of richly textured natural materials. Embrace jute rugs as they add natural texture, are great for layering, and are durable. Woven baskets add practical, stashable storage plus they look great too. Stock up on cable knit throws for keeping cozy during movie viewings or evenings under the stars.
Extend the Look to Outdoor Living Spaces
You can’t soak in all that coastal beauty inside! Cue the conversations and leisurely al fresco brunches with inviting outdoor furniture. Porch swings, Adirondack chairs, and bar stools fit the bill beautifully. After all, if you give a coastal grandmother an outdoor breakfast bar, she’ll need some barstools to go with it! Where else does one serve quiche and mimosas for brunch?
Has the coastal grandma trend has inspired you to revamp your whole home into a Nancy Meyers-esque coastal retreat? Remember that by using the fundamental design ideas: neutral palette, traditional mix of furniture, natural textures, and pops of patterns, you’ll have a cozy yet chic seaside-inspired space that will forever be in fashion.
Coastal Grandmother Checklist: 11 Ideas to Get the Look
Ready to start shopping? Here’s our essential checklist for coastal grandmother homes. Cozy up on your upholstered sofa, grab a cashmere blanket, and let’s shop!
1. Slipcovered Sofas
A classic style that brings instant coastal appeal to any space! Bonus points if your sofa is linen!
2. Upholstered Bed Frames
More comfy furniture! Bonus points for options in a traditional pattern like ticking stripes (aka the quintessential coastal pattern).
3. Mix-and-Matched Dining Chairs
This is a great way to incorporate the relaxed element of Coastal Grandmother style. Try replacing the chairs at the ends of your dining table with upholstered armchairs. This will give your space more formality while also adding softness.
4. Embrace Jute Rugs
They add natural texture, are great for layering, and are durable!
5. Enlighten Your Space with Old School Lamps
Lamps are a great place to add antique flair—a signature move of coastal grandma style! Try a brass pharmacy lamp for a pop of warmth or go classic with a blue painted “chinoiserie” style lamp.
6. Look for Furniture Made of Unfinished Wood
This natural material adds character and warmth, and will infuse your space with instant coastal appeal.
Try searching for terms like “unfinished wood,” “raw edge wood,” “live edge wood,” or even “drift wood” in the Hayneedle search bar to find products with this look.
7. Pull Up Some Bar Stools at the Breakfast Bar
If you give a coastal grandmother a breakfast bar, she’ll need some barstools to go with it! Where else does one serve quiche in the morning?
8. Cue the Conversations with Inviting Porch Furniture
Porch swings and Adirondack chairs fit the bill!
9. Make Storage Easy with Woven Baskets
Practicality is important. Woven baskets make for easy, stashable storage and look good too!
10. Stock Up on Cable Knit Throws
For keeping cozy during movie viewings or evenings under the stars.