How to create the old money coastal style in your home – one of this year's biggest summer design trends

Understated elegance meets coastal chic – here's how to make the look work in any space

Old money coastal style
(Image credit: Georgia Zikas Design/Jane Beiles)

If there's one design trend we expect to be seeing a lot of this summer, it's old money coastal style. Inspired by the luxurious homes you'd find in Cape Cod, this pared-back yet elevated look is going to be, and kind of already is, everywhere.

In the past, interior design trends have felt very 'of the moment', proving popular for a short amount of time before beginning to feel outdated. But as with many of this year's trending aesthetics, old money coastal style is one that will endure.

So, what exactly is old money coastal, style, and how can you infuse your space with it? We've turned to interior designers to weigh in on the aesthetic, and how you can best introduce this look into your home.

What is old money coastal style?

Old money coastal living room

(Image credit: Georgia Zikas Design/Jane Beiles)

Old money coastal style is a fusion of two design styles – quiet luxury and coastal decor ideas. These two themes are brought together to create spaces that feel both luxurious, relaxed and at home in a coastal area.

'In my opinion, luxury and wealth shouldn’t be loud or showy but rather are subtle and quiet. Kind of like if you know, then you know. Our clients in the Northeast, particularly New England and Cape Cod, prefer their homes to be lovely and accommodating with all modern needs, but not ostentatious,' says interior designer Georgia Zikas.

Luxury is at the forefront of this interior design style, but not in a shiny, perfect way. Georgia explains that it's more of an inherited, collected style that feels well put together but not too precious: 'For example, when we select outdoor furnishings, they are not squeaky clean, but rather have a little patina to them - like teak furniture that has silvered over time.'

5 ways to create old money coastal style in your own home

With a careful balance of pared-back luxury and collected style, it can be tricky to get old money coastal style right. Here, we share a few ways to introduce the aesthetic to your space that are tasteful and authentic.

1. Decorate with heirloom pieces

Old money coastal entryway with heirloom furniture

(Image credit: Georgia Zikas Design/Jane Beiles)

One of the key features of old money coastal style is the use of heirloom pieces – whether it's furniture or decor, decorating with family heirlooms gives an authentic lived-in and collected feel to a space.

'We find that heirloom pieces passed down from one generation to another almost always appear in our designs,' explains Georgia. This is a nod to the old money part of the style and introduces an element of inherited charm to schemes.

'Perhaps it’s wicker furniture that has been refurbished or repainted, or beautifully weathered and silvered teak furniture, or wrought iron pieces with refreshed cushions. Anything with history or “from my grandmother” is always special and appreciated,' she adds.

2. Embrace neutral colors and earthy hues

Old money coastal style window seat with a blue and white color scheme

(Image credit: Georgia Zikas Design/Jane Beiles)

While there is no right or wrong color palette in old money coastal style, there are a few shades that are more typically found and favored by schemes of the aesthetic. It's less about bright or saturated colors, rather introducing warm neutrals, earthy colors, and coastal influences. We explore how to decorate with a coastal color palette in our separate piece.

'Colors could be in huge variety,' adds Georgia. 'Some punchy pieces like pillows or tabletop decor, but mostly subtle colors and reflecting nature. Think soft blue-greens from the Atlantic Ocean, taupe and beiges reflecting nearby sand dunes, or pale greens from adjacent marshlands.'

The key is to ensure you choose room color ideas that feel warm and welcoming – stark whites and cool tones can feel cold and uninviting, something you want to avoid when it comes to old money coastal style.

3. Display cut flowers and plants from the garden

Entryway with white paneling on the lower third of the walls, and the rest covered in blue wallpaper. A vintage console table sits below a framed artwork, and a vase of eucalyptus sits on the table.

(Image credit: Georgia Zikas Design/Jane Beiles)

There are some more specific factors to consider when embracing old money coastal style. Along the same lines of introducing decor that feels elevated but not showy, when it comes to floral displays, stay away from huge, shop-bought bouquets.

'Almost all our projects incorporate vases of garden clippings sprinkled around from gardens on the property. Instead of buying flowers – grow them,' says Georgia. A lovely way to bring the outdoors in.

Introduce pretty vases, old and new, to display flowers around your home – perhaps the grandest arrangement in an entryway, and curate a bouquet of your favorite cut blooms to display in a living room or bedroom.

4. Mix old and new

Old money coastal dining room with a vintage dark wood dining table and chairs, a red and dark blue Persian rug, and contemporary light and curtains

(Image credit: Georgia Zikas Design/Jane Beiles)

Luxury interiors often elude to newness, but an authentic old money coastal scheme requires a careful balance of old and new, styled together in a curated but not overly styled way. Decorating with vintage is a great place to start.

'If authentic heirloom pieces aren’t in the family yet, then I will happily hunt for second-hand or vintage pieces that can be woven into a “new-ish” scheme. It’s fun when we can have the best of both worlds – modern comfortable outdoor sectionals, but paired with great dining sets with a little grit,' says Georgia.

This dining room is a wonderful example of how mixing old and new can create an elevated scheme that feels warm and inviting. The dining table and chairs and the rug give the room a sense of old, while a modern lighting fixture and curtains add a sense of new.

5. Carry old money coastal style outdoors

Old money coastal style pool-side patio with blue and white striped sun loungers, blue parasols, and an aged garden dining set

(Image credit: Georgia Zikas Design/Jane Beiles)

It's not just about your interiors – old money coastal style works beautifully outdoors, too. Particularly during the summer, we use our outdoor spaces just as much as, if not more than, our indoor ones, so making them feel stylish is key.

Carry your color scheme through to your backyard ideas – if you're working with a pool-side patio, add sun loungers beneath patio umbrellas, and a beautiful dining set with a bit of age and patination to it.

This space is a great example – the blue and white is a tried and tested elegant color pairing, and the color palette is cohesive with the style. Adding furniture made from materials like teak and rattan that have a bit of age to them also adds to the old money coastal aesthetic.

It's easy why old money coastal style is proving popular – this enduring aesthetic takes the best features from a fusion of design styles to create spaces that feel elevated and luxurious without being fussy and ostentatious.

Kitchens & Bathrooms Editor

I joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as the kitchens & bathrooms editor. My undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which I studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, I worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to timeless kitchen schemes and the best places to source pre-loved homeware.