Embrace the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic Trend With These 19 Style Tips

Only slightly reminiscent of grandma, this popular trend gives your space some relaxed, beachy design flair.

Published January 4, 2023
Coastal grandmother aesthetic living room

It's the trend that's centered on relaxation and retreat. A mix of traditional design elements, light and neutral tones, and a modern take on coastal decor defines the coastal grandmother aesthetic. Most interiors inspired by this style feature shades of white, cream, and blue and are accented with classic prints, natural elements, and touches of coastal-inspired textures. Bring this fresh and calming style to your home with designer-approved tips for capturing the coastal grandma aesthetic.

Keep Everything Light & Neutral

One of the defining characteristics of coastal grandmother style is the abundance of light colors. Use whites, creams, and other light neutrals in warm tones to create the canvas for your coastal grandma decorative elements. The important thing to keep in mind is that your neutrals aren't too dark or too cool. Coastal grandmother chic should be warm, inviting, and light.

Choose Wood Tones That Are Warm

Most coastal grandmother interiors feature warm, light wood in furniture, flooring, wall accents, and decor. Sometimes, darker shades of wood work well for this style, but generally, you want to stick to natural, blonde, and honey shades of wood. Avoid too many gray wood tones so your space looks updated. Also avoid wood that is too textured and rough. The updated look of coastal grandmother design includes smooth surfaces and soft textures.

Fast Fact

The coastal grandmother aesthetic is a fashion and design style trend that originated on TikTok. What is it exactly? Think of an upper middle class older woman living at the beach - Jane Fonda's clothing styles and beach house on the Netflix hit Grace and Frankie or Ina Garten pretty much all the time. Emulate that. It's relaxed, comfy, breezy, and beachy.

Accent With Shades of Blue

Though coastal grandmother style involves an abundance of white and neutral colors, there's one colorful exception. Shades of classic blue are the perfect accent here. Try soft sky blue, subtle powder blue, and classic navy when you want to bring in a little color.

Add Fun & Textured Wallpaper

For a feature wall and plenty of visual interest, incorporate wallpaper into your coastal grandmother space. For a subtle approach, choose a wallpaper that focuses on texture in shades of white, cream, beige, or navy. For a bolder approach, select a wallpaper with a classic print. Small vertical stripes, large hydrangea prints, and sophisticated geometrics will elevate the coastal grandmother vibes.

Mix Modern & Vintage Styles

Coastal grandma style features classic, streamlined elements, but it may also include a few vintage pieces that highlight the traditional side of the style. Mix in a few traditional pieces like a vintage chair with classic printed upholstery or a new painting in a vintage frame. Stick to just one or two vintage pieces per room to avoid feeling too eclectic.

Choose Classic Prints

With the coastal grandmother aesthetic, you'll find modern lines alongside traditional and classic prints. Generally, small-scale prints suit the style best. Try a classic ticking print, a blue and white floral, or a small-scale checker print in a light color.

Add Texture With Rattan

A style defining trend of the coastal grandma aesthetic is the use of rattan or wicker in furniture and decor. For this style, you might choose a light shade of rattan on lighting fixtures, cabinet doors, chair backs, and small decorative items. This amps up the coastal side of the style and keeps everything lightweight and relaxed.

Tie in the Traditional With Classic Florals

What sets the coastal grandma aesthetic apart from similar styles is the floral prints you often see. These prints are present in wallpaper, upholstery, art, and bedding. You'll notice mostly white backgrounds with an abundance of blue and some green sprinkled in. Print scales are usually large, but still feel light and not at all busy. Prints often resemble painted pieces or watercolors, but these differ greatly from the muddy and busy florals of other traditional styles. There's clarity and clear contrast between the print itself and the background. Choose florals that are associated with the coast or springtime to stay true to the aesthetic.

Bring Back Slipcovers

One traditional style element that coastal grandmother has brought back in a classic and chic way is slip-covered furniture. Side chairs, love seats, and dining chairs all look elegant and updated in this style with clean lines, light colors, and smooth textures.

Hampton style living room interior

You Can't Have too Many Baskets

Baskets are essential to coastal grandmother design, so you can never really have too many. Choose woven baskets in light to medium shades and opt for grand sizes or modern, elegant shapes. Use baskets to store blankets and pillows and to place plants in, or use smaller baskets on shelving and tabletops for decor.

Display Printed China to Elevate the Style

Coastal grandmother style isn't complete without at least one painted china piece on display. This is typically a deep blue and white china print found on plates, urns, vases, and even lamp bases. You can purchase new or weave in a vintage touch with a few painted china pieces from years gone by.

Layers, Layers, and More Layers

A detail you might notice about coastal grandmother style is all the layers. This is a key component to the coziness and relaxed vibes of the aesthetic. When trying to achieve this look, focus on layers with textiles on sofas, chairs, and bedding. Stick to neutral colors but play with the variation in textures. Try layering a duvet with other blankets that are woven, lightweight, smooth, and heavily textured. Pillows are your chance to play with color, so mix in shades of blue or navy and be sure the sizes of the pillows you choose have variation.

Coastal style living room

Dress up Your Windows

Windows are another example of both layers and more traditional styling within the coastal grandmother look. You'll still want to keep things fairly light, but don't be afraid of classic prints or texture here. Start with a woven wood shade in white or light neutrals and top that with a long, structured drape in a color or print that suits the room. Mount curtain rods high and close to the ceiling to drive home the openness of the style.

Add Real Flowers Whenever Possible

A vase full of fresh flowers is the finishing touch on any room that evokes the coastal grandmother style. Stick to shades of white, blue, lavender, and soft pink for these flowers, and display them in clear vases so the beautiful greens of the stems can shine.

Details That Will Distract From Your Coastal Grandmother Style

This aesthetic has many beautiful qualities that set it apart from other styles, but there are elements that are never seen in this style that really help it stand out from other design aesthetics. You'll want to avoid these particular details if you want your coastal grandma style to take center stage in your home.

  • Overly contemporary shapes: Coastal grandmother style may be a modern trend, but most of its style elements are timeless and classic with subtle updates. Avoid shapes and styles that are overly contemporary, like too many rounded shapes, sharp lines in art, or geometric prints that are sharp with no soft movement.
  • Too much metal: You won't see much metal here. Though you can use small touches of gold, black metal, or even chrome, you want your materials showcasing natural elements like wood, stone, rattan, and linen.
  • Dark colors: A touch of navy or a hint of black is totally fine in coastal grandmother style. What you want to avoid is a percentage of dark colors that takes you from light and relaxed to dark and moody. Try to stick to only 10% dark colors in your overall design scheme.
  • Bright, warm colors: Though there is a noticeable warmth to coastal grandma style, striking warm colors like yellow, orange, red, and certain shades of pink and purple will look out of place in your design. Stick to ocean and beach tones to keep your look clear and on trend.
  • Heavy furniture pieces: A certain light and weightless essence defines coastal grandma chic. Avoid furniture pieces that feel heavy or too ornate. If pieces are large, make sure that the colors are light and the materials are smooth.

Create Your Interior Oasis With the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic

The quality in coastal grandmother style that has drawn so many to the trend is the calm, clean, and relaxing oasis it creates within the home. The soft colors, nautical details, classic styles, and comforting textures give this design style the perfect opportunity to take your house from just another home to a welcoming retreat.

Embrace the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic Trend With These 19 Style Tips