What is Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic, Anyway?



If you’re active on various social channels, particularly TikTok, you’ve likely come across the term “Coastal Grandmother” and might be wondering what it’s all about. Though there is no single example to highlight this aesthetic, to put it simply, it’s a term that was coined by TikTok star Lex Nicoleta. Remember “norm core” or “cottage core”? Well, this is kinda like that… another “core,” if you will, but with a new look. The Coastal Grandmother vibe and aesthetic can apply to the wardrobe but also to decor. If we were to define it, we would say Diane Keaton and her Hamptons home in the movie, “Something’s Gotta Give”… or really most of Nancy Meyer’s films. In a nutshell, we’re talking sophisticated divorcee who doesn’t actually look like a grandmother but probably is, who wears a lot of Ralph Lauren, Brunello Cucinelli and The Row, and spends her summers at the beach or lake house, where she arranges flowers and cooks elegant meals in a kitchen that the Barefoot Contessa would envy kinda vibes. So with that, we present you with a few of our favourite Coastal Grandmother decor inspiration photos and suggestions on how to achieve the look in your second (or third?) home…

As we’ve already referenced it, we may as well begin with the set of “Something’s Gotta Give.” If you haven’t already seen it, it’s a wonderful movie with a great cast, a hilarious and touching plot and of course, a stunning set. Even today, almost 20 years later, the decor on the set is still relevant and hasn’t really dated. We love all the relaxed upholstered linen furniture, panelled walls, toile tie-on slipcovers and pillows, along with nautical and chinoiserie touches scattered all around. To achieve this look, it’s worthwhile to invest in simple and classic essentials (your sofas, cocktail and end tables etc) and then embellish and bring them to life with fun and colourful accessories. The key is to not be too precious when arranging these items so that you allow the pieces to tell a story. The idea is to create a feeling of authenticity- like the home has been in the family for generations.

In another part of New York, Aerin Lauder’s 1930s Greek Revival house, which she inherited from her grandmother Estée, is a stunning real-life example of coastal grandmother aesthetic. Once again, there is a heavy blue and white theme here but it’s done in a way that is tasteful and far from cheesy. In spite of the fact that the space is furnished with crisp off-white sofas, the room has a certain undone elegance to it with its unexpected mismatched tables and various chinoiserie plates and pottery scattered about. Instead of obvious nautical pieces in the form of sailboats, the layered sisal rugs and coral accessories are a subtle nod to coastal life.

Kitchens are another wonderful opportunity to embrace the coastal grandma vibe. In this fresh and bright kitchen, the owner has opted for light fixtures by Ann-Morris that feel antique with their brushed finish, along with vintage Frances Elkins stools that feel appropriate for the seaside. White cabinetry, hardware with a finish that feels antique and mismatched or unexpected islands and stools are the key elements to consider when trying to achieve the look at home.

As we do our fair share of nurseries and children’s rooms, we love how the coastal grandmother look translates into whimsical abodes for little ones. With the use of hand-stitched accent pillows, adorable nautical light fixtures and decorative objects with a vintage or hand-crafted look,  these spaces can be transformed into functional but magical rooms for your children. 

Other necessary objects...