Coastal design is not a new aesthetic. In fact, in the interior design world, where trends appear and disappear constantly, the coastal style has remained popular. Coastal kitchens have been big, along with coastal baths, which lend themselves to clean, beachy design. People are even creating custom coastal-themed backyard retreats. Coastal grandmother style, though, is new, and you don’t have to be a grandmother to adopt it. And if you’ve seen a Nancy Meyers film recently, you may have even already admired it.
In fact, this trend originated in the most unlikely of places—the wildly popular online video sharing app TikTok. The term was coined by content creator Lex Nicoleta, who calls herself “The Coastal Grandmother.” Lex’s TikTok videos go beyond interior home design to even define (with a good dose of humor) what coastal grandmother style means for food and drink, clothing, and other lifestyle choices. Clearly, Lex is not a coastal grandmother herself (she’s in her mid-20s), but she’s managed to earn more than a hundred thousand followers, many of whom include Gen Zers.
So how did Nicoleta dream up this aesthetic? Well, she lends credit to the American filmmaker Nancy Meyers. Nancy’s films, which include Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated, showcase interiors that meld that clean neutral palette of modern design with the comfort of traditional style. Think of an overstuffed linen sofa in a light-filled space with crisp white walls.
Coastal Grandmother Style Basics: Color, Texture & Fresh Elements
If you want to incorporate the coastal grandmother style into your space, focusing on the basics of color, texture, and fresh elements is a good place to start. Whenever you’re taking on a decorating project, it’s helpful to get a plan into place first. The traditional way to organize a design plan is to put together a physical project planner. Professional designers find that having a binder to keep materials like quotes, proposals, and fabric swatches is helpful for project organization. There are also a number of free room planning apps that allow you to figure out the space in advance—because the last thing you want is to order that custom overstuffed sofa coastal grandmother style sofa and find that it doesn’t fit in the room!
There are a variety of elements that go into coastal grandmother style, and watching a Nancy Meyers film with a notebook and pen may be a good (and enjoyable!) way to start picking out which features may work in your home. In this article, we’re going to focus on three major pieces of this design trend: color, texture, and fresh elements.
Coastal Grandmother Style Basic #1: Color
Coastal grandmother style colors are light and bright. White and off-white are the classic base colors, with tans, grays, blues, greens, and other neutrals as complements. Nancy Meyers designed the main living room on the set of Something’s Gotta Give with layers of creamy ivory, from the walls to the grandfather clock to the sofas. The elegant home, featured in Architectural Digest, was originally supposed to be a beach cottage before Nancy Meyers decided to set it in the Hamptons with “the feeling of the ocean everywhere.”
Coastal Grandmother Style Basic #2: Texture
Texture is an important factor whenever you’re looking to capture a certain aesthetic. Coastal grandmother style calls for natural textures like linen, seagrass, natural wood, and knits. This is significantly different from the “grandmillenial style” movement, which is more about heavy printed fabrics and accents like ruffles and fringe. In addition to being natural, you want to choose fabrics that are durable and casual. While coastal grandmother style is an elegant aesthetic, it’s also comfortable, and nothing about your furnishings should feel fussy.
Coastal Grandmother Style Basic #3: Fresh Elements
A defining element of the sets in Nancy Meyers films is an abundance of fresh flowers. Big arrangements of blooms sit on tables, kitchen counters, and even in bathrooms. To really embrace the coastal grandmother style in your own home, flowers are an important touch. Silk flowers are a good alternative if you find that fresh flowers are impractical or expensive. The particular types of flowers are important. You don’t want bright, modern arrangements—rather, flowers like hydrangea, peonies, and lilies give that lush yet casual feel. And of course, you’ll want to stick to mostly white, though touches of green and light blue also work. Other fresh elements like a bowl of lemons, driftwood, or houseplants will also help enhance the coastal grandmother style.
The Nancy Meyers Coastal Grandmother Lifestyle
Most fans of Nancy Meyers films know that her classic main characters are stylish, sophisticated, independent women in their 60s. While the characters, the most famous of which are probably played by Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep, may be grandmother-age, they are not the type of grandmother you would find knitting potholders or playing Bingo. Coastal grandmother style can extend to the women inhabiting the homes, who can embody the aesthetic in their clothing, their music, and even their choice of food and drink.
The promotional poster for the Nancy Meyers film It’s Complicated depicts Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin tangled in only a bedsheet, which could be considered the utmost in coastal grandmother style attire—clean, minimal, and white. You won’t find coastal grandmothers in loud prints or trendy styles. Rather, they live in linen pants, crisp button-down blouses, knit sweaters, and suede loafers. Like the design aesthetic, the clothing choices are elegant, casual, and comfortable.
Coastal grandmother style may be a new trend, but it’s likely here to stay thanks to its classic and neutral elements. Whether you embrace coastal grandmother style in its entirety, with a Nancy Meyers film mindset, or you’re looking to work in elements here and there, this aesthetic will lend your home and your lifestyle a clean, fresh feel.