Grandmillennial vs. Coastal Grandmother: What's the Difference?

coastal grandmother

Karina Lameraner

By now, you've likely heard chatter online about the Coastal Grandmother style, coined by TikTok creator Lex Nicoleta (we previously spoke with her all about this aesthetic and what makes it so special). But if you've previously heard the term "grandmillennial," which came about a few years ago when design writer Emma Bazilian utilized it in a House Beautiful article, you may be wondering if there is any overlap between the two phrases. Well, it turns out that the answer is both yes and no.

As grandmillennial blogger Veronika Javor puts it, "Coastal grandmother leans more relaxed and airy, whereas grandmillennial leans a little more formal and maximalist." She adds, coastal grandmother feels like a walk on the beach in a loose fitting white button down and sun hat with some gardening later in the day, while grandmillennial feels like a refreshing cocktail in a formal living room in the South, where a table is always set with perfectly crisp linens, real china, and monogrammed cocktail napkins."

Despite some having some obvious differences, which we'll detail below, these two design styles definitely a few overlaps—and if you wish to combine them, that's A-OK, too! "The beauty of home design is that anyone can make their home anything and mix and blend the styles they love most," Javor says. "I think we're so quick to put a label on everything, but the truth is, your home should be filled with things you love and that bring you joy, regardless of whether it falls into a certain aesthetic."

Read on to learn more about the defining differences between the grandmillennial and coastal grandmother styles.

They Focus on Different Small Details

grandma spaces

From left: Read McKendree / JBSA for Lilse McKenna // @annawpage / Instagram

Blogger Karina Lameraner, whose style leans coastal grandmother, says that one of the main differences between these two aesthetics is in the small details. "Grandmillenial styles tend to anchor on more classic silhouettes and decorative accents, while the Coastal Grandmother style veers more traditional," she says. Lameraner says that specifically, grandmillennials will often decorate with more chinoiserie and botanical-inspired decor. Coastal grandmothers, on the other hand, are more into striped pillows, throw blankets, and checkered rugs, the blogger explains.

They Prioritize Different Design Schemes

As Lameraner puts it, concepts including balance, symmetry, and cohesion are key areas of focus for the coastal grandmother, while grandmillennials are more drawn to maximalism, visual layers, and eclectic touches. "The grandmillenial style often prioritizes ornate detail, while the coastal grandmother style is more focused on comfort and plush material," she adds. Katie Pellegrino, a grandmillennial home design influencer, agrees. "Coastal grandmother is a little more relaxed with almost a rustic touch with more natural wood materials," she says.

grandma design shelves

From left: @veronabrit / Instagram // Karina Lameraner

On that note, grandmillennial spaces, being more maximal in nature, have an emphasis on nostalgia, explains Lindsay Lewis, another Grandmillennial home design influencer. "Generally, grandmillennials enjoy decorating their homes with items that bring on a familiar ambience," she shares. "Some item may include old photographs, heirlooms, and ornate frames." Javor agrees. "Some people think of grandmillennial as ruffles, scallops, fringe, chintz and needlepoint (and it is all of those things!) but I really think that true grandmillennial style has to have a balance of old and new to make a space feel fresh and thoughtful."

In the coastal grandmother home, though, you'll find less "stuff." The style is "minimal, clean, uncluttered, and incorporates high quality neutral pieces," Lewis notes. "Furniture tends to be higher end, white or beige and clean in appearance," Lewis adds, noting that coastal elements including ships, anchors, and other related decorative objects often make an appearance.

Grandmillennial Spaces Feature Color More Prominently

coastal grandma homes

From left: Lindsay Lewis // Karina Lameraner

Whether you love spaces with lots of color or strongly prefer neutral rooms may affect which design style most resonates with you. "By nature, a coastal grandmother uses color to add a pop," Lameraner says. However, she adds, most coastal grandmother spaces feature neutral palettes—think creams, whites, earth tones, some blues blues. On the other hand, grandmillennials are all about color. "You’ll see entire rooms ornately decorated in shades of rich pastels and crisp, bright neutrals," Lameraner explains.

Still, Both Styles Share Some Commonalities

coastal granny side by side

From left: @jenniferbeekhunter / Instagram // @daniellemoss / Instagram

The grandmillennial and coastal grandmother styles are by no means total opposites, though. "Both are very feminine with a focus on beautiful long lasting pieces and lots of vintage," Pellegrino explains. "Both styles incorporate a lot of blue and white pieces as well!" Lewis expresses similar views. "Both are classic," she says of the styles. "The usage of preppy and traditional decor are used in each style. Neither style is too trendy and both can last a lifetime."