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Everything About the Coastal Grandmother Style

The trending Coastal Grandmother Style is quickly gaining popularity. Get inspired and learn how to hone this simple, cozy style. From wardrobe updates to a new, calming outlook, find out how to incorporate some slower, simper living into your life.

A wicker basket and sea-scented candle sit on a tabletop and exude coastal grandmother style to a tee.

Most of us have heard the term “coastal grandma” by now. After a TikToker coined the phrase, I did some research and discovered that even I, a 32-year-old woman with zero grandchildren, living in the Midwest, am quite a bit of a coastal grandmother…

There is actually quite a bit of overlap in coastal grandmother style and the cottagecore style. In case you didn’t realize, The Art of Cottagemaking blog you’re reading right now is heavily influenced by the cottagecore lifestyle. Cottage living, in essence, is about freedom. Freedom to roam, to learn, to cultivate, to create a simpler life… a life worth living and being present for. Less distractions and noise are hallmarks of this lifestyle. 

These two styles are not just about aesthetics. They are ways of life. 

We may depict them online through various staged scenes, outfits, or newly renovated homes, but at heart both cottagecore and coastal grandmother are lifestyles

I’m going to let you in on the secret to living a coastal grandmother lifestyle…

DIY flower arrangements sit on a table near a wicker picnic basket.

What is a Coastal Grandmother?

Picture it: You’re a newly retired woman in her sixties. Your kids are grown, your bank account is fat. You’ve established quite the life for yourself. You decide to move to the coast to a seaside town most are only familiar with from stories. It’s probably a historic town where antique stores and bakeries line the cobblestone roads. You acquire a beach house, maybe even a cabin or cottage. Your grandkids come to visit you during the summers, where you laugh and play and feel like a kid again. When they’re not around, you spend your mornings tending your garden and walking along the shoreline in search for the perfect seashells. Wine is a part of your daily diet and although you’re mindful about what you eat, you’re still all about extravagance. You have a penchant for high-quality meals, wear cozy neutral linens (and maybe even a sunhat some days), and you have a new, carefree attitude toward life.

You resemble Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give, possibly because you’ve watched it one too many times. Your home is perfectly curated with neutral colors, plenty of teak, and wicker baskets galore to create a calm, peaceful effect for anyone who steps inside. On a good afternoon, you spend your time reading Old House Journal magazine or the latest Outlander novel with your loyal pooch cozied up beside you. The kiln can wait until tomorrow you think to yourself. The evening approaches, and there is a sense of curiosity and purpose in the air. Will you go out for a night on the town with your closest girlfriends? Or will you have a spontaneous evening with your lover? Whatever you decide, there will be drinks, intellectual conversations, and smooth jazz music to lighten the mood. You finally feel like you have arrived at the greatest chapter of your life. You are a coastal grandmother. 

A woman dons her coastal grandmother style at a mini golf attraction.

Do I have to be a grandma to be a coastal grandmother?

In short, no. You do not have to live on the coast or have grandkids to live the coastal grandmother life. It’s more about creating a similar style with what you already have. Coastal grandmothers are all about appreciating what they have. 

They like the art of slow living, something that can be created wherever you go. To be quite honest they’ve been doing it long before it became trendy, too.

So, you see, being a coastal grandmother is really more about honing a lifestyle than an aesthetic. 

White window blinds are the star of this photo after learning how to paint window blinds.

What is the Coastal Grandmother Style?

The coastal grandmother style appreciates simplicity, even when it comes to decorating the home or creating one’s personal wardrobe. Coastal grandmas love neutrals, tans, grays, creamy whites, pastel blues and greens, and more. The softer the hue, the better. 

In a home, this may be present in their numerous wicker baskets stacked full of homegrown veggies and from weekend farmers’ market hauls. Collected antiques hold a special place in their heart and are carefully selected before being added into their New England/French country interiors decor. They have minimal electronics to minimize distractions in the home, but will watch an Ina Garten cooking show in a heartbeat if tempted. They take the approach of “less is more” when it comes to interior design. 

A coastal grandmother's style consists of antiques, rustic woods, and wicker baskets.

When it comes to clothing, they love sandals and flats because they’re practical and like to be comfortable at all times. Long, flowy linen dresses and skirts are perfect for summers, while you’ll catch them in snuggly wool sweaters when the cooler months approach. The coastal grandmother style can never go wrong with a 100% organic cotton button-up shirt and a handwoven rattan purse from Etsy. Who needs fast fashion when you can be sustainable?

Peace and quiet are of utmost importance, so there is no room to fuss over bold, bright, or gaudy colors or styles. Coastal grandmothers prefer to exude a classic, timeless style over trendy looks any day. 

How to Hone the Coastal Grandmother (Life)Style

Read more books

Read more. Listen to more music. Immerse yourself into all the cultures our world offers. You only live once, and a coastal grandmother only needs to live once. She’s already done most of  it all. And she plans on experiencing everything else at least once before she dies. She’s a free spirit at heart. 

A lighthouse figurine is placed on two classic literature novels.

Pursue creative outlets

A coastal grandma knows exactly what flow is. She experiences it all the time. Flow is when you’re so caught up in the moment, usually pursuing a creative endeavor, that you lose track of time. You may lose sight or sound of those around you because you’re in your own world. You’re so deeply enmeshed in a particular activity that you lose track of everything except for that thing you’re doing in the very present. No worries of yesterday or tomorrow, just completely tuned into creating. No wonder psychologists have found this to be a factor in longevity!

Try art classes, creating new recipes, redecorating your home. There are so many ways to be creative in this day and age.

A seed box lays next to a bundle of lavender on a side table.

Make physical activity an outdoor endeavor

Coastal grandmothers love to be outside. Whether they’re in the garden, harvesting herbs & vegetables and tending their hydrangeas, or going on an evening walk to the beach to savor the cool breeze as the sun sets. 

Although life is meant to be pleasant, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be mindful about adding in things that are good for us like physical activity. However, they should be enjoyable. Taking exercise outdoors can make it feel less like a chore and more about honoring what your body needs. Nature is known to have stress-relieving properties on people, and finding some sort of physical activity you enjoy can ensure you stick to a routine.

A tree is flowering pink florals in the spring.

Live to eat (and drink)

I am not suggesting you eat yourself into an unhealthy world of immobility and become someone who is obsessed with food. But let’s face it: Most women, or at least a lot of women, go through most of their lives trying to stave off hunger, deny themselves food, and stay as small as possible. It doesn’t need to be like this. 

Wise coastal grandmothers know that nutrition is essential to living a long, healthy life. But your diet shouldn’t be restrictive. Nutrition is about adding things to the diet, not taking things out. She decides to nourish herself with a wide variety of foods and doesn’t deny herself richer foods either. 

This easy muffin recipe consists of strawberry muffins that are sitting on a tiered platter on a marble countertop.

If you love to cook, look forward to creating extravagant homemade meals. Get excited about buying and savoring the expensive wine–yes, even during the lunch hour. Don’t be ashamed to say you love eating. No one will think of you one day and say She was the best at being thin. Please! …They will remember how you made them the best caramel sea salt chocolate chunk cookies and stayed up all night watching sappy rom-coms that one time, though.

Be more conscientious about what you consume

Coastal grandmas are all about fun, but they also deeply care about the world around them, too. They take their responsibilities seriously. Coastal grandmas are mindful about what they purchase, what organizations they support (whether a charity or a grocer), and what kind of media they consume. If you don’t keep these things in check, it can feel like a purposeless life. When you don’t stay informed, the rest of society will gladly make those decisions for you. 

A tv stand has a wicker basket, a pink jar, a blue candle, and a photo on it.

Stay close to your social circle

One way to hone the coastal grandmother style is to be more social. Some prefer to go to church, some may spend extra time with family, and others may simply work toward being more outgoing, so they can befriend more people over time. There is nothing wrong with nurturing the friendships you already have either. Whatever it is, coastal grandmothers know that friendships and being at least a little social are important to long-term health and happiness. 

A couple embraces in snow of the Rockies.

Spend time with children 

Even if you aren’t an actual coastal grandma, you can work on spending more time with the children in your life. If you don’t have children or grandchildren, maybe you have a niece or nephew you can spend more time with. Maybe you can babysit for a good friend or volunteer at a school or library. There are so many fun ways to spend time with children. Children keep all grandmas everywhere young at heart. This is an important lesson everyone should learn from. 

Be intentional about your words and behaviors

This doesn’t mean to self-censor everything you say. In fact, you should never be afraid to stand up for yourself or what you believe in. But there is a time and place for everything. Are you speaking because you have something to say or just because you have to say something? Life as a coastal grandmother is about being true to yourself and keeping integrity, but also being wise enough to know when to keep something to yourself. Manners do have a place in this world. Coastal grandmothers aren’t bothered by keeping some opinions to themselves anyway. This is the kind of maturity wise people have. They can’t be bothered with nonsense and arguing. 

Flowers dance together in a white vase.

Savor it all 

Above all, learn to savor life. There will always be to-do lists to get around to. But life has an expiration date. We need to make fun and relaxation a priority. We need to invest in ourselves and our own inner worlds and all of our silly, outrageous hobbies to be truly happy. Learn when to tune out of technology and tune into what’s already around you. Learn to listen before you respond. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Slow down. Take a long bath instead of a shower. Don’t always take the road of convenience. Stop to smell the hydrangeas on your walk to town. Smile. Cry. Appreciate it all for what it is. 

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