We’ve had ‘granny chic’ — an interiors trend which saw us embrace floral fussy prints, patterned wallpapers and clashing furnishings.
Now, it seems, it’s all about Coastal Grandma — an elegantly understated style which is surging in popularity among those who believe that neutral tones are far from over. Indeed, they’re the future.
This trend — which is fast turning into a lifestyle — is all about cream, white, beige, rattan, pale woods and cashmere throws.
California dreamin’: The relaxed, textured decor style of Coastal Grandma
You need not be a grandparent or to live by the sea to embrace the aesthetic, as the actress Anne Hathaway, one of Coastal Grandma’s biggest fans, has said on Instagram.
But it should suit you if you love the Californian beachside settings and huge light-filled houses that feature in Something’s Gotta Give, It’s Complicated and other films by the U.S. film director Nancy Meyers.
Such properties also star in the Netflix series Grace And Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
The principal characters in these dramas are affluent individuals in later life, with messy relationships, but great taste in furniture and furnishings.
Their homes have low, squashy sofas in ecru (light beige), baskets of logs, carefully chosen antique and quirky contemporary pieces, ceiling fans and coffee tables adorned with bowls of hydrangeas — the quintessential Coastal Grandma bloom.
The spacious kitchens in these homes are lined with matte white cabinets, shelves full of tableware and racks of every type of copper pan and utensil required for serious cooking — an essential part of the lifestyle.
The high priestesses of Coastal Grandma include the U.S. TV chefs Martha Stewart and Ina Garten, author of the Barefoot Contessa books. Garten actually resides in the Hamptons, that expensive seaside enclave beloved of New Yorkers.
Oliver Bonas’s Seagrass Storage Basket which comes in white and black patterns (£17.50, oliverbonas.com)
Other key influences include the videos posted on TikTok by the 26-year-old Californian stylist Lex Nicoleta who is credited, by the Wall Street Journal and others, with the invention of the name Coastal Grandma.
Nicoleta’s videos focus on kitchens and include guides for creating a seasonal tablescape, finding matching cups and saucers and how to make the perfect iced tea.
Andrew Dunning, of the London Contemporary interior design group, says: ‘This look is for those who like the colours of the sea and beach: blue, cream, green and white, but do not want the cliched version of seaside decor with its miniature lighthouses, anchor motifs and starfish patterns.
Clients are telling us they want to avoid all that tacky stuff.
‘Coastal Grandma is a relaxed look, but it is definitively not the shabby chic that was so big a while back. There may not be many vibrant colours. The interest lies in its textural qualities, with the linen and the woods.’
Natural materials such as wicker and seagrass are key to the trend. Try piling logs in Oliver Bonas’s Seagrass Storage Basket which comes in white and black patterns (£17.50).
For some of its real enthusiasts, Coastal Grandma is a way of life.
But the majority of those inspired by the trend’s association with the sea and its laid-back vibe will select a few elements. For one thing, British summers are seldom hot enough for ceiling fans. Also, the profusion of lighter shades means a lot of laundry.
The linen-covered Marks & Spencer Nantucket four-seater (£1,299) is the sort of sofa on which you relax from a long walk along the beach.
This sofa is named after the island off the coast of Massachusetts where the rich flock in the summer. The £495 Jed white rocking chair from Andrew Martin has the same East Coast vibe.
The Laura Ashley chunky dove-grey throw (£75) is just the thing to be nonchalantly draped over either type of seating. Coastal Grandma purists will, however, insist on a £595 pure cashmere throw from Johnstons of Elgin because this trend is all about subtle luxury and things that are bought to last.
Barker & Stonehouse’s Maison coffee table (£199), with its light sage green legs and subtly distressed wood top, supplies the weathered touch. A £55 tall sculptural candle holder from Made.com would be an ideal accessory.
Fresh hydrangeas are best — Coastal Grandmas are passionate gardeners — but fake is acceptable. At Wayfair you can buy a seat of three stems for £47.97.
Let’s not forget the bowl of lemons which an essential part of what Nicoleta calls the Coastal Grandma ‘starter pack’. The Kinta blue-green bowl from Heals (£17) is just the thing.
Linen is the key fabric. At Dunelm, 100 per cent linen duvet covers cost from £80 to £120. Linen may crease and wrinkle very easily.
But for Coastal Grandma aficionados, this is not a drawback. Wrinkles on fabrics and face are a sign of a life well-lived — and the height of chic.
Savings of the week! Bistro set
The Parisian bistro is a place to enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine and watch the world go by.
The bistro, in turn, gives its name to the popular garden furniture set: a table and two chairs. Some can be found at bargain prices.
The black Norfolk Leisure Delano set at Robert Dyas costs £209.99, down 25% from £279.99. It’s perfect for enjoying a coffee on a balcony
The Milano set (black rattan chairs with a steel-and-glass top table) from T.J. Hughes is down 50 per cent from £140 to £70.
The black Norfolk Lei-sure Delano set at Robert Dyas costs £209.99, down 25 per cent from £279.99. It’s perfect for enjoying a coffee on a balcony.
The £139.99 black, brown and grey set from The Range has two cushioned rattan armchairs plus a table. It is reduced by 7 per cent from £149.99.
You can save £50 on the elegant Frampton grey rattan set with round table and two chairs from the Cotswold Company which was £695 and is now £645