Some say it’s a fad, some say it’s a way of life, but one thing is for sure: the “coastal grandmother” aesthetic has taken the world by storm across fashion, interiors and beyond. Rest assured, you don’t need a grandchild or a seaside home to indulge in this viral trend, which was catapulted into the limelight via TikTok.
The look (or lifestyle, if you will) champions laid-back luxury and cosy-chic elements, with layers of linen, knits and chambray and a large glass of sauvignon blanc.
As for the peculiar name that social media has labelled this look, you can probably thank American filmmaker Nancy Myers.
“She has built an entire career on this aesthetic with the house in Something’s Gotta Give being the epitome of coastal grandmother interiors,” says interior designer Jono Fleming.
“The look is mixed with pieces and styles from our other favourite movies. The Spanish revival bungalow from It’s Complicated introduces raw timbers and hints of terracotta. It’s not just an exclusive Hamptons look, it’s a combination of these ’90s movie aesthetics with a modern twist.”
If Nancy Myers is the true mastermind behind the coastal grandmother aesthetic, then Dianne Keaton is the poster girl – think effortlessly stylish, put-together without trying, relaxed sophistication.
As we emerge into a post-pandemic world, we’ve got a renewed appreciation for the home and the home-made, and there’s a very wholesome fresh-from-the-garden appeal to the coastal grandmother lifestyle that resonates.
“We’re also seeing a shift away from minimalism and a want for more layered, detailed spaces. For millennials, in particular, it resonates as it holds ’90s nostalgia from their childhoods but also adds a ‘grown-up’ layer to their home life,” says Fleming, who also attributes the rapid rise in #coastalgrandmother content to social media.
“We’re seeing micro trends gain traction so quickly, even faster than before with platforms like TikTok. where we can have these explained to us concisely in 30 seconds.”
“In fashion, it’s all about minimal white turtlenecks and beige linen pants but in interiors, the coastal grandmother trend carries a little more detail,” explains Fleming.
“It’s less about seashells and sand and more about layering neutrals upon neutrals to create a textural yet formal space.”
The “coastal” half of coastal grandmother is an essential element to the interior translation of the trend, setting the palette of sandy hues, blues and sage green with a focus on texture.
“Think pale timber, wicker, rustic details, nautical stripes and floral prints,” says interior stylist Fiona Gould. “It takes cues from a Hamptons coastal palette, traditional elements from French provincial style and the cosy factor from the hygge trend, and also is an evolution of the very popular white-on-white soft neutrals looks we’ve loved in interiors for a long time.”
For those who’ve already embraced a pared-back palette in their home, channelling the coastal grandmother aesthetic will be as simple as bringing in a bunch of hydrangeas and decorative soft furnishings.
Fleming suggests “cushions in pale blues with French toile or chinoiserie patterns and traditional artworks featuring landscapes”, adding: “Layering patterns will help give that lived-in coastal cottage feeling but by keeping them neutral, it adds the formality to the space.”
On a larger scale, look to sofas, worn timber side tables and other antique pieces. Fleming says to go for “roll-arm, slip-covered sofas, and if they’re oversized and white, even better, [plus] antiques, heavily textured throws and wicker baskets.”