What is the Coastal Grandmother Interior Design Style?

"What is the Coastal Grandmother Interior Design Style?" over a bed with blue and white sheets.

If you dream of lounging on a beach in an oversized white sweater while reading a book and drinking white wine, the Coastal Grandmother interior design style may be your next obsession. It shares some common details of “coastal” styles, but at its center are comfy elements that are so classic that they never go out of style.

And, no, you don’t need to be a grandma to enjoy it.

Sometimes, decorating with a coastal theme can make your décor feel tacky or too much like a vacation home. You aim for something Martha’s Vineyard and suddenly have a home filled with word signs and knots (lots and lots of knots). But the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic feels like something you can really live in and not something that’s just on display.

Designers often point to Nancy Meyer movies when presenting inspiration for the Coastal Grandmother Style. She’s responsible for feel-good rom-coms and family movies, like Something’s Gotta Give and Father of the Bride, the former being the primary model for this topic. Whether you’re an older woman with grown kids (like in the movie) or chasing around 3 under 5, what’s great about this design style is that you can totally make it work for whatever life stage you’re in.

Want to try it out? Here are some of the key elements of the Coastal Grandmother interior design style:

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Warm Ocean Color Palette

Like other coastal themes, blue and white are part of the main color palette, but what you’ll see more of in the Coastal Grandmother Style are warm beiges. While teal is also a coastal palette favorite, the blue shades in this style lean more toward indigo and cobalt than blues mixed heavily with green.

Coastal Grandmother Color Palette

Coastal Grandmother Color Palette

Woven Textured Fabric

So much in the Coastal Grandmother Style is about comfort. Sofas are round and cushy. So are dining room chairs. And having an armchair you can comfortably lean in while reading a book is even better. That’s why you’ll see a lot of woven textured fabric and upholstered chairs, as opposed to bare wooden seats and armrests.

Natural Fiber Fixtures and Furniture

Coastal Grandmother Style has some elements of hygge in it, specifically the desire to become more grounded using natural materials. That’s why rattan frequently appears in the form of light fixtures and furniture. Roman shades made from bamboo are also a style favorite, and you may even see wood elements in the kitchen in the way of wooden bowls and spoons. After all, what else goes well with the comforts of a well-styled home but the comforts of a well-cooked meal?

Grasscloth Wallpaper

Even though grasscloth wallpaper could fall under the natural fiber category, I decided to put it in its own section due to its appeal being primarily its texture, which can make a room feel very cozy. Traditional grasscloth wallpaper is handmade and has a natural beige color, but today there are faux grasscloth wallpapers in a variety of colors. So, fans of Coastal Grandmother Style could choose a light blue or dark blue to match the color palette.

White and Natural Wood Tables and Dressers

When choosing furniture in the Coastal Grandmother Style, look for nice white finishes and natural wood with a light stain. Weathered furniture, like something you would see in the Farmhouse Style, has been popular in beach homes in recent years. However, furniture in Coastal Grandmother Style has cleaner lines and nicer finishes and looks like it’s influenced by modern design.

Chinoiserie Porcelain

Interestingly, Chinoiserie Porcelain is very popular amongst fans of the Coastal Grandmother Style. This European invention, originally intended to very loosely replicate Chinese pottery, seems a weird feature of a coastal aesthetic, but it fits well with the grandmother portion of this mashup. The pottery is often decorated with scenes that look like they are telling a story and the common blue and white coloring fits well with the style’s color palette. Just remember to use these pieces sparingly, because the patterns can quickly become overbearing to the eye.

Wide Glass Vases

Are you already missing those glass ball fishing floats? They’ve dominated the beach house landscape for a long time but aren’t as common in this coastal style. Well, here’s your chance to mix in some blue glass, because at the heart of the Coastal Grandmother Style is a retired woman who spends her days walking on the beach, tending to her garden, and cooking magnificent meals with the food she picked up at the local farmers’ market. So, of course, she needs a place to put her cut flowers – and those tend to be wide glass vases. If the vase looks like it’s been recycled, that’s even better.

Neutral Rugs

When choosing a soft spot for your feet, make sure you go neutral. Rugs shouldn’t have any wild patterns or colors. The Coastal Grandmother Style usually features solid beige and light-colored stripes. Sometimes you can get away with an impressionist pattern or fun shapes like fish if the colors are neutral and subdued to keep a relaxing feeling in the room.

Brass or Nickel Fixtures

If you’re considering updating your home’s fixtures – whether they be lights, handles, hinges, or faucets – pick a metal color brightens up the room. Brass and nickel fixtures are the most common for the Coastal Grandmother Style, because they reflect light and complement the color palette. Darker metals, like oil rubbed bronze or black matte (brass), disrupt the light and airy aesthetic of this style.

Want more inspiration for Coastal Grandmother Style? Visit our Pinterest board.

What is the Coastal Grandmother Interior Design Style?

What is the Coastal Grandmother Interior Design Style?

About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.