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California Dreaming: How to Get Cool, California Casual Style

Known for its laid back, carefree style, California casual is all about good vibes and well-balanced spaces.  It’s no surprise that this relaxed take on minimalism has been steadily growing in popularity.  California casual has been taking over Instagram feeds and has many dreaming of putting together their own fresh, breezy interiors.  It looks easy and effortless, but there’s still some things to keep in mind before getting started.  Important to remember when putting together a West-coast inspired space is that comfort and ease of livability are at the forefront of the style.  Here are some more basics of California casual.


Have an Earthy Color Palette

The casual California style is light, open, and airy.  Walls are often white or off-white and furniture upholstery is usually neutral as well.  California style is about merging indoors and out, so your color palette should take its cues from the tones found in nature.  When choosing pieces made from wood, opt for lighter woods.  Furniture made of darker woods or with a dark wood stain may feel heavy and out of place compared to the rest of the color palette.


Add Plants

A key aspect to California casual is incorporating plants into the decor.  A house plant will add life, color, and energy to your room.  Whether opting for a ceiling height tree with sprawling branches or a more contained tabletop plant, make sure to get a variety that will do well in the amount of natural light your space can provide.  Plants are also a great opportunity to bring in pottery accents, another popular feature of California style, through their pots.  Look for unique handmade planters to really up the visual interest of the decor.


Use Natural, Organic Materials

As already mentioned, California style strives to bring the outdoors in, so the use of natural, organic materials is important.  Natural materials can help a space feel clean and pure, which plays into the California casual aesthetic and philosophy.  Furniture made of raw woods, woven rattan, or with live edges are a good starting point.  You can also incorporate natural materials through accessories with things like sisal rugs, linen or wool throws and pillows, or even just by displaying objects found in nature.


Look for Mid-century Modern Lines

Palm Springs in California became a haven for mid-century modern style so it’s no surprise the elements of mid-century linger in current California interior design.  Look for pieces with sleek lines, wood frames, and tapered legs.  A mid-century modern inspired sculptural lounge chair is a great accent piece for living spaces.  A sleek bench is also a useful accessory in almost any room of the home.  If you’re worried about your decor becoming too retro looking, balance the mid-century pieces with some industrial inspired pieces.


Create Cozy Layers

Since the base of the California casual style is mostly neutral, color, pattern, and texture are brought into play through accessories.  It can get chilly at night in California, so woven accessories are a great way to add texture as well as provide warmth.  A great rug will help keep feet warm and inject color and pattern into the space.  Sheepskin rugs and furry throws are especially popular because they add warmth but their bright white color keeps the decor light and airy looking.  Ethnic textiles and weavings hung on the wall will add texture as well as pattern and color, and can create both visual and literal warmth to the room.  Since the California style is relaxed and casual feel free to mix different patterned and colored throw pillows and blankets.


You don’t have to live in California to appreciate the laid back style that’s been cultivated there.  California casual has a great combination of minimalist yet still relaxed and welcoming that’s appealing to people across the globe.  We may be from New York, but we can’t hate on California’s design instincts.

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