What Is TikTok’s ‘Coastal Grandmother’ Trend and How Can I Get It at Home?
If you have no idea why all the kids are talking about this home decor trend, let us break it down for you.
I got divorced at 25, so as far as the “coastal grandmother” trend goes, I was way ahead of my time.
If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea why the kids on TikTok are talking about this style, let me break it down for you: The coastal grandmother aesthetic centers on easy, breezy, beachy vibes—you know the kind, with all the neutral fabrics and wicker you could ever need. It’s buttoned up but effortlessly chic. It’s a white-washed Hamptons kitchen but comfortable. It’s ice in your red wine and a straw hat draped over your rocking chair.
Or, as Buzzfeed so aptly put it: It’s living like a “middle-aged divorcé.”
(Hence being ahead of my time.)
As so many of the coastal grandmother experts have said before me: Think Jane Fonda in Grace and Frankie. Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give. Everything Nancy Meyers ever does. Ina Garten and a massive Cosmopolitan.
The trend, widely credited as being coined by TikTok star Lex Nicoleta, “brings to mind cashmere sweaters, leisurely walks on the beach, and cocktails on the porch with family and friends,” says Carla Rummo, chief marketing officer at Sausalito-based home and lifestyle brand Serena & Lily. “We love to see this timeless, classic aesthetic have its moment in the sun. The look is nostalgic, and yet fresh. It speaks to a perfectly balanced laid-back, luxurious coastal way of life.”
Serena & Lily, for one, has an entire decor section dedicated to the coastal grandmother style, which Rummo defines as “chunky pale knits, a broad range of ocean blues, relaxed rattan, wave and scalloped details, furniture pieces with a sense of history and warm patina, and airy linens.”
Here’s the good news: You don’t need to live by the coast to achieve the look in your own home, says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams.
“At its core, this trend is rooted in the idea of home as a peaceful, comfortable sanctuary,” Wadden explains. “In the last few years, we’ve seen people gravitate towards the idea that home should feel like a retreat, and a big piece of that is incorporating nature into your space. In this case, the coastal look brings the outdoors in by combining the sea, sand, and sky with muted, airy undertones.”
While I can’t help you much in the cashmere sweater department, here’s how to get the look in your own home.
Start with Paint
You can achieve a cohesive coastal grandmother look by choosing three to five paint colors that stick to the sea, sand, and sky formula, Wadden explains.
The Sherwin-Williams director recommends light tones likes Sea Salt SW 6204 or Misty SW 6232, which “mimic the coast while still feeling neutral.” Wicker and rattan can “balance the space and mimic the feeling of being by the coast, wherever you are,” or you could incorporate earthy tones like Felted Wool SW 9171 or Accessible Beige SW 7036, Wadden says.
“Finally, ground your space by using darker hues, such as a navy and Basque Green SW 6426, in your furniture and décor details to tie it all together,” Wadden adds.
Add Open Windows
To get that easy, breezy look, you’ll want to make sure to create that indoor-outdoor feel as best you can. “Central to this home design style are large, open windows overlooking the water that allow for maximum natural light and nature views,” says Christine Marvin, chief marketing and experience officer at Marvin, a window and door manufacturer.
Another great option is a bi-fold door that seamlessly brings the outdoors in. At Sunset’s beachfront Malibu Idea House that overlooks the ocean, for example, LaCantina installed a folding door system that maximized square footage and matched the modern yet beachside vibe of the home.
Layer in Neutral Fabrics
“People are increasingly drawn to spaces that feel familiar and inviting, and this trend provides the perfect excuse to layer patterns and textures within a neutral palette to make your environment feel breezy, yet warm, refined and totally fresh,” says Sarah Dooley, director of upholstery at Sunbrella.
One of the “easiest ways” to incorporate the coastal grandmother trend in your space is with “throw pillows that reflect its characteristics—coziness, texture, and natural hues,” Dooley says.
For example, Dooley would pair Sunbrella’s Blend Linen with its Cast Petal shade for DIY upholstery. For a finished look, you could turn to Sunbrella’s Indoor/Outdoor pillow in the linen sand hue from Pottery Barn, Dooley adds.
Get the Coastal Grandmother Look
The final step? Getting your hands on the right decor.
To help you achieve the look, we put together a list of our favorite products from Serena & Lily’s new summer line, which features an array of furniture and accessories with all the blue stripes, scalloped edges, and wicker details your heart could desire.
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