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Coastal Grandma aesthetic: how to use 2022's hottest decor trend

Coastal Grandma style is everywhere right now - we explain the key components of this relaxed beach house aesthetic and how to bring it into your home

Published: May 12, 2022 at 10:04 am
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Have you been seeing the 'Coastal Grandma' hashtag all over your Instagram or TikTok? The internet's current favourite aesthetic has spilled over into the mainstream, and looks set to become one of the defining decor trends of 2022 - and the good news is, this is a style that's perfect for the summer months!

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Read on to find out exactly what Coastal Grandma decor means, and how you can incorporate this laid-back seaside chic into your home.

What is Coastal Grandma aesthetic?

The concept of Coastal Grandmother or Coastal Grandma style, popularised on TikTok by social media influencer Lex Nicoleta, pays tribute to the aesthetic seen in the films of director and screenwriter Nancy Meyers.

Her protagonists, in movies such as Something's Gotta Give and It's Complicated, are frequently well-off older women living in beach houses, and enjoying a lifestyle characterised by flowing linens, chilled white wine and a smooth jazz soundtrack.

Neptune Chichester
Chichester Collection, Neptune Kitchens

The aesthetic is also influenced by popular US TV chefs Ina Garten and Martha Stewart, whose cookery shows take place against a similar backdrop of relaxed coastal chic.

Credit: Instagram / @inagarten

Think of Coastal Grandma as a modern and minimalist version of farmhouse style. The finer details are open to interpretation - a West Coast-inspired scheme might go for contemporary furniture, gauzy fabrics and window shutters, whereas a more East Coast sensibility might embrace a cosier version, with vintage furniture, deep-pile rugs, and open fireplaces.

How to achieve a Coastal Grandma decor style

The predominant colour in any Coastal Grandma scheme is white, setting that bright and airy tone which is the most crucial element of this laid-back and uplifting style.

Clementine Collection, Graham and Green
Clementine Collection, Graham and Green

Against your white backdrop, you can start adding in colour and texture using cream, beige and brown furnishings, textiles and accessories. However, you don't have to stick to earth tones exclusively - pastel blues and pinks will add some fun to your scheme, or you could go bolder with splashes of navy blue, deep green, mustard or burgundy.

And while white and off-white are the key basenotes for your main living areas, for more intimate spaces such as a bedroom, you could opt for a cosier grey, dark brown or red.

Aslal Woven Wall Decorations
Aslal Woven Wall Decorations, La Redoute

Many of the core 'Coastal Grandma' figures are keen cooks or gourmets, and kitchens are typically a key setting in Nancy Meyers films and their ilk.

A classic configuration would be white or cream farmhouse style Shaker cabinets, topped with countertops in plain wood, marble or quartz, and - if space allows - a kitchen island with pendant lighting.

For decorative touches, you might opt for a rack or hooks to hang your pans and utensils, and open shelving to display prized crockery, cookware, houseplants and recipe books.

Elswick Collection
Elswick Collection, LochAnna Kitchens

Plain painted walls are preferred over wallpaper or other patterned finishes, but if you're looking to add some character, white wood panelling fits perfectly with the Coastal Grandma aesthetic.

And when it comes to furniture for a Coastal Grandma scheme, wood is the way to go. Light or dark woods can both work in this style - the important thing is that they look natural, so look for plain, untreated or lightly-treated finishes.

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Painswick Silky Oak, Luxury Flooring
Painswick Silky Oak, Luxury Flooring

Wood is also the ideal material for flooring in a Coastal Grandma scheme, whether that's simple treated floorboards or herringbone parquet flooring. In either case, add plenty of rugs for texture. In a kitchen or bathroom, you might consider opting for tiling - we think Mexican or Moroccan handmade clay tiles work particularly well.

Textiles

Textiles, which includes everything from cushions and throws to curtains to rugs, are one of the most important aspects to consider when creating a decor scheme.

For a Coastal Grandma aesthetic, plain weave fabrics like calico, cheesecloth, jute and hessian set the naturalistic tone and add much-needed texture to what might otherwise feel like an overly cool and clinical scheme. For chillier climates, wool and bouclé fabric will have the same effect while also adding warmth.

Chaprala Braided Hemp Rug, Nkuku
Chaprala Braided Hemp Rug, Nkuku

As a base, we suggest opting for white, off-white or cream for upholstery, then layering up with cushions, throws and rugs in earth tones. As discussed above, don't be afraid to add in more colourful notes, whether that's cool pastels or bolder colours.

Patterned textiles are another way to add interest to a room. Stripes are perfect for a Coastal Grandmaa aesthetic, whether you go for plain awning stripes, Regency stripes, or blue and white hickory stripes to really play up that beachy feel.

Relaxed Stripe Sofa Cushion Cover, Dusk
Relaxed Stripe Sofa Cushion Cover, Dusk

When it comes to window dressing, gauzy white muslin curtains are ideal for making the most of light and bright rooms, while wooden shutters will bring the ultimate West Coast beach house feel. If you're going for a cosier New England seaside vibe, heavier earth-toned fabrics might be more appropriate.

Lighting

A classic feature of a Coastal Grandma home is floor-to-ceiling colonial grid windows to let the light pour in. While this may not be possible or practical in your own home, make sure you're doing everything you can to make the most of all available natural light.

When it comes to creating an ambience when the sun goes down, we all know that multiple light sources are crucial for setting a mood. To do this, place several lamps around larger rooms, or use candelabras and wall sconces to create pools of light. For a more contemporary take on Coastal Grandma, look out for glass pendant lights and modern-style chandeliers.

Metal Candelabra, Wayfair
Metal Candelabra, Wayfair

And don't forget to style some candles around your room, on mantelpieces or coffee tables - freestanding pillar candles or tapered candles in candlesticks are both a great fit for a Coastal Grandma scheme

Accessories

As with any decor scheme, the finishing touches are what really makes the Coastal Grandma aesthetic sing. First and foremost, bear in mind that this style is chic but relaxed, so don't be afraid of showing some personality - coffee table books and a full magazine rack will only add to that lived-in look.

Modern Gourd Table Lamp, West Elm
Modern Gourd Table Lamp, West Elm

Another feature of the look is the tendency to favour accessories with rounded lines, such as gourd lamps, oval or circular mirrors, and candelabras. These shapes immediately lend your space the relaxed and soothing feel that is at the heart of the Coastal Grandma style.

These shapes can even be seen in the smallest decorative details associated with this aesthetic, such as display dishes of seashells and smooth pebbles, or rounded glass candle holders.

Naryla Lantern, Nkuku
Naryla Lantern, Nkuku

When it comes to wall art, so you'll be pleased to know that a variety of styles can fit into a Coastal Grandma aesthetic, from black-framed abstract prints to boho woven wall hangings. If you need some inspiration, check out our favourite destinations to buy budget-friendly art prints.

Lastly, don't forget some actual living nature! Look in the background of any Nancy Meyers movie and you'll see freshly-cut flowers in glass or ceramic vases. That said, if you're not a movie heroine, giant bouquets of fresh flowers aren't exactly a budget-friendly option - a more affordable take might be a few large houseplants in rattan weave baskets or earthenware planters.

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Feeling inspired? Check out our other style guides to find your perfect decor fit!

Authors

Rebecca MessinaEditor, YourHomeStyle.uk

Rebecca is the Digital Editor of Your Home and HomeStyle

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