5 Ways to Effortlessly Pull Off Coastal Grandma Style

Learn all about this easy, breezy aesthetic and how to bring it home.

By now, you've probably heard the internet buzz about the coastal grandma style. If you haven't, picture the tastefully-casual heroines of Nancy Meyers movies, like Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give, or Meryl Streep in It's Complicated, in all their neutral-cotton-sweater-and-linen-pants-clad glory. But did you know this pop culture revival moment is also related to a rising look in home decorating? Coastal grandma style is a state of mind, a lifestyle sensibility, and a decor trend all rolled into one.

Is coastal style new? Not really. Beach-inspired style has always been popular, but this current take is more modern and pared-down than in the past and completely clear of themed kitsch, like shells, anchors, and whales. It's less "Ahoy, matey" nautical and more an airy, effortless chic that's informal but polished.

breakfast nook with built-in banquette and white table
Joyelle West

Here we break down the essentials of this trend, so you can catch the coastal grandma wave and introduce elements of the style into your own home, land-locked as it may be.

Mood and Inspiration

To put yourself in the right mindset, envision the clear and cool natural light you encounter on an early morning walk on the beach. Coastal grandma style has a duality: Relaxed yet refined, casual but elevated. It conveys a warm, inviting, laid-back luxury without being overtly cozy. The lines are clean, and the designs are unembellished and minimal.

Palette and Pattern

Coastal color is a range of subtle simplicity. Start with 50 shades of white, ivory, and cream, all mixed together. Then layer in neutral tones borrowed from nature—stone, sand, sea, and sky: Tan and beige, taupe and greige, and pale, watery blues. Introduce accent colors like deeper blues and shell pink with a light hand. Use little to no pattern, and keep it simple and abstract if you do.

Materials and Texture

Natural fibers like cotton and linen are the go-to choice for fabrics, from light, gauzy sheers to heavier twills and canvas. For accents, think touchable—chunky knits, nubby bouclés, maybe even some tailored fringe. Various weaves of natural fibers like rattan, jute, sisal, raffia, and seagrass come into play for accessories, furniture, and rugs.

Add seagrass baskets (like this set of two Better Homes & Gardens baskets, $30, Walmart) to hold throw blankets or pillows. Woods take their cue from driftwood—light, bleached and whitewashed. Hardware in metals like brushed nickel keeps the feeling soft and sophisticated.

Make it Your Own

white living room with natural and blue coastal accents
Joyelle West

Whether you're ready to commit to coastal grandma style with a total room redo or simply wish to join in on the trend by adding a few elements to your existing decor, here's a cheat sheet to get the look.

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wooden candle holders on table
Carson Downing

Fill the air with a fragrance that follows the feeling for an uplifting interpretation of coastal grandma style that requires little work. Scented candles, like White Waves and Salted Sands, hit the mark in more ways than one. Fragrance oils in scents like linen and sea spray release slowly over time via a diffuser; you can get a similar effect with scented wax cubes like Better Homes & Gardens Line-Dried Linen ($2, Walmart) melted in a wax warmer.

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creamy white paint lids
Adam Albright Photography, Inc.

A quick color change conveys a coastal mood without much expense (a gallon of paint can be less than $30)—paint a whole room or tackle a smaller project like the inside of a linen closet or a single accent wall. Or try transforming a piece of furniture with a new color to fit the trend.

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Indoor Decor

white living room with wood floors and fireplace
Brie Williams

Gauzy window coverings and rugs in natural jute or faux natural fibers are a good way to ground the room with breezy color. A few carefully chosen coastal-inspired accessories can easily fit right into your home. Lush flowers always feel right. Arrange mounds of hydrangeas in a vase or bowl or peonies in a pitcher (all in white porcelain, of course).

Accessorize a tabletop or sideboard with family photos in frames with rope or rattan details and pillar candles in clear glass hurricane holders. Toss a throw in a luxe knit-like chenille (this Better Homes & Gardens blanket is just $23) and some new tactile pillows on a couch or chair—look for neat cotton fringe or substantial knits in a chunky or sweater style. Around the room, you could add a mirror in rustic wood or wicker, weathered wood lamps with linen shades on end tables, or woven baskets for on-trend storage.

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coastal dining table sisal rope vase candles
Nicolas Gourguechon

Coastal meals are easy and fuss-free, served on a mix-and-match selection of white platters, bowls, and white dishes set at each place. Coastal grandma style is perfectly complemented by a nice California chardonnay, or a Long Island rosé savored from simple wine glasses.

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Bed and Bath

seafoam, white, and silver elegant bathroom
John Bessler

For the breeziest bedroom and bath, think white cotton. The utter simplicity of coastal style calls for luxurious, textured materials. So for towels, choose the plushest cotton you can find, and while you're at it, swap out your shower curtain with a tone-on-tone white design.

For sheets, go with a high thread count, like Better Homes & Gardens 400 Thread Count Hygro Cotton Sheets ($45, Walmart). To finish the look, update your bedframe with an upholstered linen headboard and add a cotton waffle blanket to the foot of the bed.

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