If you were to ask me to describe my personal decorating style, California-coastal would be right there at the top. I like to think of my home as a feminine, Californian apartment – albeit thousands of miles away from the West Coast.
Today I wanted to bring together all of my knowledge of creating a Californian coastal interior and share how you can add elements, just like I have, into your home, regardless of whether you live by the sea, in the city and out in the countryside. The only obvious difference between here and Pacific Palisades is the complete lack of British sunshine.
There are three important elements to the California decorating style which can be incorporated into everything you buy and every room you decorate. Calming, natural and lived-in. There’s no space for harsh corners, loud prints and furniture only bought for show.
With that said, I wanted to delve into each room and share how I think you can add a little Californian flare of your own. Just don’t look out of the window just yet.
To get that authentic feeling of Cali-cool, use a mix of whites, taupe, and ivory, in a variety of textures to add interest and stop the space from looking flat. You can see from the examples above, texture comes in the form of fringing on the ceiling lamp, to the woodwork on the tables – don’t just assume it only stems to soft furnishings.
A deep sofa, perfect for relaxing, will be your centrepiece, and while white might not be the most family-friendly option, you could buy a grey cotton style with removable covers which is much easier to clean. Pile on complementing cushions (learn how to style your cushions in my ultimate guide to buying a new sofa blog post) and consider a Turkish kilim or Berber-inspired rug to go under feet – this LaRedoute Berber rug is perfect.
In terms of furniture, mid-century modern silhouettes work well, as do vintage finds. The key is not to be too matchy-matchy – think natural woods, stools as side tables, and a coffee table styled with table books, fresh flowers and a candle.
Decorative touches like coral, handcrafted wood bowls and vases, a jute floor cushion and rattan baskets to store away throws and magazines will tie the room together perf. And although we’re not aiming for minimalism, less is definitely more when it comes to Cali-coastal. (Image Credits: 1 | 2)
Kitchen | Dining Room
I’ve grouped the kitchen and dining room together, as many Californian homes have an open plan layout which works as one functional space.
Brass elements, meanwhile, can be used throughout, from the fixtures and fittings to bar stools – as you can see above they work perfectly in this Californian kitchen diner.
Storage is what really makes a Cali kitchen stand out. But we’re not looking to hide things away, rather display them proudly on worktops, open shelving and glass-fronted wall cabinets. Choose your finest pieces of glassware, crockery and other kitchen utensils and put them out for everyone to see. For that extra element of coastal charm, use a variety of coloured glass, and artisan ceramics.
Finally, for the dining space, light woods work well against contrasting chairs, and while the palette stays relatively neutral throughout the house, pops of black can be a great way to add a masculine finish to this room.
Statement lighting is key here, and while low hanging pendant lights work over an island, a wooden beaded chandelier over the dining table can create a dramatic centrepiece.
As mentioned before, California decorating style is renowned for being relaxed and calming. And this is certainly true of your coastal-inspired bedroom.
Starting with the bed, an idea is to layer your duvet set with a bedspread, throw and cushions all in similar tones – a trick to add depth to the room by using different fabrics such as linen, chunky knits and fringing.
Cushions provide the perfect platform for prints such ikat and stripes (how many P’s can you say in one sentence?), and texture again plays a vital role in stopping the room looking flat.
Add a rug to the end of the bed, peeking out half way to “ground” the bed frame (a good tip if you’re in a large space) and look for rattan details such as light shades, baskets and floor cushions.
The bedroom is the perfect place for greenery, especially if you have lots of natural light. Not only do plants add a pop of colour, but they will be hard at work purifying the air for you as you sleep.
Finally, a good tip if you’re wanting to make the room appear larger than it actually is, is to hang floor to ceiling curtains no matter the size of your window. This illusion tricks the eye into thinking you have tall ceilings and it frames the window.
What I love about the bathrooms above is the abundance of natural light. I do understand however that not every room can be filled with sunshine. Having a west-facing bathroom, mine very rarely gets light into it, but the trick is to add large mirrors to bounce any light you do get around the room and make it appear larger.
Painting your bathroom a warm white and regrouting any old tiles can give the space an instant uplift. But don’t worry about looking too clinical – the use of natural textures, like you can see above with wooden stools being used as side tables to store products etc on, warm the space.
Another idea is to add a Turkish rug instead of a bath mat. Turkish towels are actually some of my favourites because they soak up an insane amount of water in no time at all.
Favourite Places To Shop For A California Decorating Style
Can you see why I love this style so much? It’s such a serene, relaxed way of decorating and even though I couldn’t be further from the West Coast if I tried, I love adding little elements to my life that make me feel that bit closer.
Is the California decorating style something you’d like to emulate in your own home? Which is your favourite room from above? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.
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