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Ideas & Inspiration

Top 9 Ways to Incorporate the Coastal Grandma Aesthetic

by DecorMatters|May 01, 2024
coastal grandma-style living room idea

Jessica Pearsall

The coastal grandma aesthetic is making waves on the internet. It captures the essence of comfort, seaside living, and simplicity—the quintessentials of a laid-back life by the beach.

Fortunately, you don’t need to live by the ocean to enjoy the beauty of the coastal grandmother aesthetic. Discover everything you need to know about this trendy interior design style and tips to bring its charm into your home.

What Is the Coastal Grandma Aesthetic?

Imagine entering a room with wooden floors and light-toned walls reminiscent of sandy shores, soft pastel hues that remind you of summer, and vintage coastal decor such as seashell collections. As you bask in its warm and welcoming vibe, smooth jazz and oldies play in the background like you’re in a Nancy Meyers movie. This is what the coastal grandma aesthetic feels like.

Today, this aesthetic is not only an interior design — it’s a lifestyle and fashion style embraced by many. The whole vibe will look like you’re heading to the beach any time of the day. Coastal grandma is all about living a simple, healthy life.

Many love this trend because of the subdued elegance it evokes. The colors are primarily neutral, making it easy to add new items without worrying about clashing.

Hallmarks of the Coastal Grandma Aesthetic at Home

blue and white coastal grandmother aesthetic

Kathy Kuo Home

The elements of coastal grandma interior design are quite easy to pull off. Often compared with the New England style, this aesthetic comprises the following:

  • Woodwork: The coastal aesthetic is reminiscent of old-fashioned houses by the beach. Floors, exposed beams and accents are commonly made of wood, which can be natural or painted.
  • Neutrals: Since the coastal grandma lifestyle embraces simplicity, loud colors are a no-go. Think about beige, white and other shades associated with the beach, sand, and water.
  • Large windows: Your interiors must include large open windows to make the house bright and airy. It doesn’t necessarily have to show a beautiful sea view, but your home needs a place where natural light can enter.
  • Furniture: Comfort is essential when it comes to choosing chairs, sofas and other types of furniture.
  • Lighting: A home with a coastal grandma aesthetic doesn’t need high-tech lighting concepts. Classic table lamps with ceramic bases are the way to go.

9 Strategies to Pull Off Coastal Grandma Interior Design

coastal grandma-style bedroom design idea

Dana Dore

If you want to commit to this interior design style, here are some things to consider before buying furniture and decor for your home.

1. Keep It Simple and Sleek

Coastal grandma decor has a duality — it’s casual but elevated, simple but refined. What binds all of these characteristics together is warmth. Ensure your space conveys laid-back luxury without being too lax.

For instance, choose furniture that’s timeless, functional and elegant. Invest in minimalist decor like beach-inspired art or subtle stripes to contribute to the seaside theme of your home. However, be careful not to go overboard with nautical-inspired ornaments.

2. Opt for Light and Nature-Inspired Colors

Colors have impacts on your mood, feelings, and behavior. When thinking about combinations, go for nature-inspired tones. Pair shades that remind you of a sunny day outside — pale and watery blues for the ocean, tan and beige for the warm sand, and muted green and pink for nature. Explore more color combinations:

  • Warm Brown: If you want a more traditional appeal, mix and match warm brown hues. Use beach accent pieces such as shell-shaped accessories.
  • Navy Blue and White: This timeless combo blends modern and beachy perfectly.
  • Light Coral and Cream: Playful colors such as coral or salmon pink and cream are a no-fail combination to elevate your bathroom.
  • Beige and Turquoise: These colors immediately evoke warmth and relaxation when paired. You can also include muted shades of blue for a more whimsical look.
  • Gray and Blue: Gray is a popular choice in 2023 for its understated undertones, classy appeal and versatility. Pair it with a deep blue to capture that elegant, coastal grandma vibe. You can go all-out on your antique and natural decor with this combo.

3. Choose Natural Textures and Fibers

The coastal grandma style is all keeping it natural. Avoid super glossy finishes, formal fabrics like silk and striking patterns that don’t contribute to the inviting ambiance you’re after. Cotton and linen are preferred because they add to your home's outdoorsy feel.

When it comes to the texture of materials, think of jute, wood and rope. Try adding some to living room walls to cozy up the room quickly. For the sofa and chairs, use natural materials instead of synthetics to add depth to your room. Here are some different types of natural fibers you can choose from:

  • Rattan: With its organic textures and woven patterns, rattan is a versatile choice for different room layouts. It’s a sustainable material that requires occasional wiping and regular dusting for maintenance.
  • Bamboo: This eco-friendly material is known for its durability and strength. It has clean lines that instantly add to a home’s modern appearance.
  • Sabai Grass: This material is commonly used in creating baskets, rugs and other decor items. The natural appeal of sabai grass adds depth and makes a room more inviting.

To elevate natural fibers, complement them with sustainable linen or bouclé. Add a vintage piece of furniture to balance it when the space feels too modern.

4. Add Antique and Curated Elements 

Add pieces that evoke warmth and your personality in the space. For instance, in the dining room, the centerpiece should be a big farmhouse-style table to accommodate family and friends. Making it the area's focal point makes your space look curated yet cozy. A beach granny loves antique furniture, so emulate traditional touches in your home.

When adding new decor, choose artisan, hand-crafted or rustic styles that celebrate the beauty of the natural world. You can also choose eco-friendly elements such as reclaimed wood or steel made from recycled materials.

5. Use Light Woods

Light or pale woods can come in various colors — creamy white, light golden, or ash. This type of wood's beautiful shades, markings and textures make it easy to incorporate into any space.

When mixing different types of wood, striking a balance is essential. Disperse color or texture evenly throughout your space to make it more intentional. Repeating wood accents can look like anything, from using the same wood on your coffee table to incorporating the look into a furniture piece to bring more character into your home.

When adding wood accessories like antique dough bowls, choose bleached-by-the-sun tints like driftwood or white oak to evoke that beach house vibe. The rule of thumb is to choose one darker or colored piece to juxtapose with the wood to make it pleasing to the eye. For instance, you can contrast a pale-colored farmhouse table top with dark legs.

6. Freshen up With Fresh Flowers and Plants

coastal grandmother-style bathroom design with wallpaper

Mallory Mathison Inc.

Fresh flowers add a splash of color to your home’s appeal. You don’t need to display a high-maintenance bouquet — the goal is to gather a casual, colorful bouquet and place it center stage. You can use a white or rustic pitcher for the vase, and put it on a kitchen island, entryway table or coffee table.

If you have a spacious garden, consider planting flowers to achieve the coastal grandmother lifestyle. Adding gardening to your daily routine helps lessen depressive symptoms and promotes an active lifestyle.

Aim for a low-maintenance flower garden, especially if you’re a beginner. A ring garden around a tree is a great place to start. Add two to three layers of shredded mulch to defend your plants against weeds, preventing them from losing moisture.

7. Flaunt Your Collections

nautical themed gallery wall in coastal grandma aesthetic

Lindsay Lewis Interiors

Whether it’s stacks of beach reads, seashells, record albums or clocks, display your prized collection to make an artful statement at home. Use floating or built-in shelves for large items like bottles and figurines, and organize them neatly based on color for a more cohesive look.

For smaller things like travel magnets, use a magnetic board to give your items a place to shine. You can use lighting to highlight your prized collection.

8. Use Sheer Curtains

Even if you don’t have fresh ocean air flowing through your windows, you can achieve a coastal grandma look with sheer curtains in subtle patterns or neural shades. Although light curtains help block the view of the outside world, they allow the perfect amount of sunlight, which helps you improve your mood and produce vitamin D.

The right amount of sunlight helps protect your furniture from the harmful effects of the sun. While sheer curtains may not completely block the view, they create a screen to blur the view from outside, providing you privacy during the daytime.

9. Elevate the Outdoors

If you’re ready to spruce up your space, take the coastal granny style to your patio. Remember, using natural fibers is the key to balancing elegance and comfort.

Use a mix of floral and stripe patterns in throw pillows to give the perfect summer coastal vibe. For a space where everyone can gather and have fun, add Adirondack chairs around a stylish fire pit.

Bring the Coastal Grandma Aesthetic to Your Space Today

At the end of the day, your home should feel comfortable and familiar, not like a screenshot straight out of trending TikTok videos about the coastal grandma aesthetic. Select decor that matches your personality instead of pieces that look good to make your space uniquely yours.

Want to capture the cozy coastal grandma vibe in your home? Download the DecorMatters app to easily decorate rooms and have fun with design games. Start creating your dream beach house vibe today with our app!

This article was written exclusively for DecorMatters by Evelyn Long. Evelyn is a writer passionate about simplifying interior design for homeowners and renters alike. She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Renovated Magazine where she shares her expertise on interiors.

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