If you've seen a couple movies directed by Nancy Meyers — such as It's Complicated or Something's Gotta Give — you already know the coastal grandmother aesthetic. But if you haven't, let us paint you a picture of the general pattern: A woman in her 50s finds love, against the backdrop of a beautifully decorated beach house, complete with a spacious, homey kitchen (like the one above by Pure Salt Interiors). The design style of Meyers' cozy sets has charmed fans for decades, but it's experienced another rise in popularity recently, thanks to TikTok.
Of course, you don't have to be a grandmother in role or age to embrace this decor trend. Lex Nicoleta, the TikTok creator credited with naming the aesthetic is 26 years old. Coastal grandma style is more about channeling the zest for life of the warm, independent women at the center of Meyers' films. Other inspirations include Ina Garten, Oprah, the Hamptons, and Emily Gilmore by the end of the Gilmore Girls revival.
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Hallmarks of coastal grandmother decor include open kitchens, light neutral color palettes with hints of blue, slipcovered sofas, solid-colored textiles, and fresh flowers (especially hydrangeas). Natural materials are also key. Think linen, ceramic, hardwood floors and furniture, seagrass baskets, and rugs made of plant fibers like jute.
How is Coastal Grandmother Style Different from Similar Aesthetics?
Coastal grandmother decor shares attributes with several other interior design styles. In the kitchen above, by Whittney Parkinson, you can see English country and farmhouse attributes — like paneled cabinet doors and an apron-front sink.
Similar to English country style, the coastal grandmother aesthetic emphasizes the cozy and domestic, but it's less traditional. Compared to cottagecore and grandmillennial decor, it's much more minimal and tends to be more upscale. While it shares the clean lines and color schemes of modern farmhouse style, it's less rustic or industrial, more likely to feature metal fixtures in warm shades like gold rather than black.
Read on for 15 ways to bring the coastal grandmother look into your home.
15 Coastal Grandmother Style Ideas
1. Start with a white kitchen.
Coastal grandmother style is known for beautiful, spacious kitchens, where you could prepare a feast with friends without having to worry about running out of counter space. Often, these spaces have a white, cream, or beige color palette — like this one designed by Erica Mueller — which helps make the most of the natural light they receive. You can't go wrong with honey oak hardwood and bronze fixtures for a simple, warm look.
2. Create a pared-down color palette.
The coastal grandmother color palette tends to be limited, with a focus on crisp white and warm neutrals. That doesn't mean your home decor has to be minimalist, though. Take this living room by Erica Mueller as an example. While the color scheme is simple — mostly white, cream, brown, and bronze — there's plenty of visual interest, thanks to details like the patterned rug and the decorative frame on the large leaning mirror.
3. Add touches of blue.
Whether you're actually near the coast or a thousand miles away, evoke the feel of the ocean with splashes of deep blue. Interior designer Jenny Minns of Palm and Prep shows two ways to do this: paint your kitchen island, or add a ceramic vase with a blue glaze. Here, she's done both — and added extra elegance by filling the vase with Japanese maple branches.
4. Evoke the coast with artwork.
The artwork you choose to display can set the tone of an entire space. The drawing of a windy shoreline framed above the bed in this room designed by Pure Salt Interiors creates a moody, romantic atmosphere. While a brighter print of an anchor or a starfish could easily make this bedroom look preppy, this piece of artwork nails the relaxed coastal grandmother vibe.
5. Decorate with hydrangeas.
Hydrangeas are the flower of choice for coastal grandmothers. To really make an impact, go with the blue variety shown in this kitchen by Jenny Minns of Palm and Prep. Display them in a basket to create the illusion that you just clipped them from your garden.
6. Work with natural materials.
Just like the coastal grandmother enjoys wearing linen pants and cooking with vegetables from the farmer's market, she also enjoys decorating with natural materials like ceramic, wood, wicker, and rattan. Take inspiration from this entryway by Christine of MEYK Studio. The wicker table and baskets have different weaves and slightly contrasting tones for a visually interesting look.
7. Display dishes in glass-front cabinets.
If you've gone to the trouble of investing in dishware that you love, show it off like the artwork it is with glass-front cabinets. Interior designer Whittney Parkinson shows how it's done in this gorgeous kitchen. The pieces on display here are all glass, which creates a clean, sophisticated look, but don't be afraid to show off ceramic dishes and one-of-a-kind mugs as well — especially if your kitchen color scheme is this pared down otherwise.
8. Make your kitchen inviting.
If you love to cook and bake, this one is for you. Express the joy you feel in the kitchen through your decor. Display everyday tools — like the cutting boards, mortar and pestle, and tea kettle in this cook space by Ashley of Mrs. K's Kitchen. Grow herbs in pots so you never have to buy an overpriced plastic pouch of mint at the grocery store again. Paint the cabinets a friendly shade of green. Buy a small collection of tea towels and change them out to reflect the seasons or your mood.
9. Embrace large windows.
This sunny sitting room designed by Pure Salt Interiors looks like a Nancy Meyers set, which makes it peak coastal grandmother. Just imagine sitting here with a pitcher of iced tea and your best friend. Plush upholstered furniture with wooden frames create a cozy yet light and airy look. If you're lucky enough to have a space that receives this much natural light, you'll be able to keep leafy plants happy, too.
10. Create contrast with dark surfaces.
Light-colored kitchens may be a major part of the coastal grandmother aesthetic, but this space by Whittney Parkinson shows how much depth dark-colored accents can add. The hardwood floor and black stone countertops and backsplash create a sophisticated vibe, especially when paired with gold-colored fixtures and a leafy green bouquet.
11. Assemble a reading nook.
After a long day in the garden, a coastal grandmother would love to kick back in a cozy armchair with a glass of white wine or fresh mint tea. Create a simple reading nook using this formula from prop stylist Margot Austin: a neutral-colored armchair, a throw pillow in your favorite color, and a gleaming bronze reading lamp with a traditional fabric shade. Add an ottoman, a lap blanket, and a table to house your to-be-read pile, and you're all set.
12. Mix in small thrifted accents.
Add personality to a minimalist room with small vintage finds, like the ginger jars and tea kettle in this kitchen designed by Liz Walton and photographed by Rebecca McAlpin. If you look very closely, you'll also see that the white backsplash tiles have an embossed pattern. This subtle touch makes the kitchen look extra luxurious.
13. Use vintage furniture.
Well-worn wooden furniture pieces have a special glow. The antique dresser in this nursery by Jen & Cory of Home on Grange reflects the light, adding a warmth that contrasts beautifully with the blue walls and soft gray curtains and rug. An adventurous illustration in an ornate gold frame brings together the timeless and playful qualities of the room.
14. Introduce patterns in soft colors.
You can embrace patterns and a minimalist color scheme at the same time. Just take a look at this kitchen by Liz Walton. A penny tile backsplash in many shades of blue and a printed beige window valence add a gentle wash of color to a mostly white space. Wooden serving boards are both decorative and practical, adding warmth as they wait to display your next cheese plate.
15. Make the bathroom a mini spa.
Kitchens get the most attention when it comes to coastal grandma style, but bathrooms are just as impactful. This freestanding tub styled by Pure Salt Interiors looks straight out of a vacation fantasy. But even if you're not ready to do a whole remodel, you can go a long way with small changes. Try a wooden bathtub tray, perfect for a book and a candle. Add a photo of your favorite beachy scene, and finally, a plant (real or faux).