Trend Alert: Coastal Grandma Aesthetic
We’ve seen a handful of “cores” emerge over the past few years, each detailing a very specific aesthetic. The most relevant example is, undeniably, “cottagecore,” a term used to describe a very romanticized vision of pastoral life. Think cozy knit blankets, rustic wooden cabins, whitewashed walls with baby blue accents — you get the idea. Cottagecore almost certainly paved the way for a new fashion/lifestyle and interior design trend: coastal grandma.
The coastal grandma aesthetic is essentially cottagecore meets elderly maternal (yet stylish) figure meets holiday home in the Hamptons. Imagine understated luxury specifically designed to capture the essence of the beach and ocean. Picture a woman standing at the edge of a pier at sunrise with a cashmere shawl glamorously yet effortlessly draped around her shoulders. That’s the coastal grandma aesthetic.
Let’s explore how you can incorporate the coastal grandma style in your home (holiday or otherwise).
Color palette, patterns and textures
Naturally, you can expect to see a lot of neutral tones (particularly grays, browns, beige, cream and white), accentuated with pops of blue in all shades, from cobalt to periwinkle. Green also regularly makes an appearance, usually in the form of thriving pot plants carefully dotted around the room.
Prints are, of course, subtle and elegant. You won’t find any chaotic or eclectic patterns here, but you will see a lot of paisley, stripes, filigrees and florals, all strategically distributed across throw pillows, rugs and linen. As you might expect, patterns are used only as accents and never steal the show.
Blue, cream and white understated patterns are the order of the day.
Coastal grandma is all about utilizing as much natural light as possible. Large bay or French windows allow sunshine to stream into the home, bouncing off white walls to illuminate the space even more. When you must use artificial light, you can expect to see a wide variety of lamps casting a warm yellow glow across the room. There’s no harsh fluorescent lighting anywhere here! And, for some (classy) pizazz, you might add a classy crystal chandelier above the dining table or in the middle of the lounge.
Natural light floods this coastal grandma dining room.
Decor, furniture and fixtures
Needless to say, coastal grandma shies away from sterile tiling (with the exception of the bathroom) and linoleum floors. You’ll see hardwood floors, rafters and bookcases in all shades of brown and beige. And, because this aesthetic encapsulates taste and comfort, you’ll find plenty of soft, lush carpets and rugs to add some warmth to a room.
Couches, no matter where they’re positioned, are plush and inviting. Typically, the upholstery will consist of fabrics like cotton and linen. They’ll usually be white or cream, so be careful with that glass of cabernet sauvignon! Wooden coffee and dining tables are a must, of course. These will also typically be a natural neutral shade, although you might opt for a deep blue to add some color to the space. (Driftwood is a fan favorite). Chairs, too, will be wooden and similarly upholstered to the couch(es), and some wicker furniture never hurts a grandmother. Curtains aren’t heavy, as they complement the natural light flooding the room. This design extends to the patio that overlooks the ocean. Bedrooms are furnished in the same style as lounges. You’ll see either wooden or upholstered headboards and bed frames.
Driftwood coffee tables are peak coastal grandma.
Now, let’s talk about decor. We must mention that this is the aesthetic for porcelain china vases, lamps and crockery, as they meet the criteria for color palette and patterns, and they show off opulence in the most underplayed way. You’ll also see plenty of crystal beyond the chandelier and maybe some blown glass, but it’s never gaudy or screaming “nouveau riche.” Candles, statuettes and abstract or landscape art will all make an appearance.
As we mentioned a little earlier, live plants are a staple, and a ceramic bowl of fruit (especially lemons for a pop of color that isn’t overbearing) will do the trick when you’re decorating your tables. Le Creuset and copper pots are peppered around the kitchen. You might even spot a Smeg or vintage-style appliance or two. Light granite or marble countertops (particularly on the kitchen island) are the order of the day in a coastal grandma kitchen. Anticipate sophisticated tiled floors and walls (usually white or black) in the bathroom. There’ll likely be a freestanding clawfoot tub and marble sinks, too. As with the kitchen, copper faucets are a must-have.
Driftwood frames are the perfect touch to this custom gallery wall.