Summer is just around the corner and for many of us, that means planning a much-needed vacay with some fun in the sun! But with everyone’s busy schedule and long to-do lists, actually getting out to the coast can seem like just a pipe dream. To feel the sun shining down on our skin and breathing in that refreshing salty air . . .
So if you can’t find the time to make it out to the coast, why not bring the coast to you!
When you think of California, the words casual, chill and totally laid-back come to mind. Surprisingly sophisticated and always inviting, rooms designed with that same mentality are some of my favorite. And the ‘California Cool’ vibe is definitely having a moment in 2017’s design world.
To help you snag that oh-so-popular Bohemian luxe aesthetic, I’ve broken down some key elements to incorporate into your home for instant Cali vibes. From colorful textiles to organic pieces of furniture, add some of these coastal twists to your home. Add the best part? You can pull off the look even if you’re hundreds of miles from a shoreline.
Decorating Ideas: Bring The ‘California Cool’ Vibes Into Your Home
Welcome White Basics
The bright and airy vibes of Cali-styled homes works best with white as your base color. When done right, crisp white rooms are arresting in their purity and simplicity. But don’t be daunted by the expanse of white space and branch out a bit. Layers of cream, beige and khaki evoke the subtlety of shifting dunes. A coat of white paint on your walls give the eye a place to rest when there are multiple layers of colorful accents. White matched with indigo accessories and organic materials in particular are a huge part of the Cali style — the contrast of indigo, hints of wood and bright whites add depth and character to your space. Just be sure to layer in pattern and texture throughout the space to create visual interest.
Decorating Idea to Steal: Bring in varying shades of a single color, such as coral. Or add hints of classic nautical hues — navy and white, for example, looks as fresh as a sailor’s just-pressed uniform. The key is to stay consistent; too many color schemes in different rooms add up to too many personalities for a single house.
Light might be the single most important — yet completely overlooked — element of coastal style. Think about it: When is the last time you entered a beach house that felt dim and cramped? That’s one reason white is the hallmark color of coastal interiors: It spreads and amplifies light rather than soaking it up. Coastal interiors do a great job at blurring the lines between indoors and out. Plentiful windows, glass doors and skylights allow sunshine to flood in. So if your home is skimping on these elements, consider how you can add them. Window treatments should be light-weight and simple enough to muffle the glow.
Decorating Idea to Steal: Consider a mirror mounted opposite a window or a glass-topped table in a sunny breakfast nook for added sunshine. Just be sure not to bring in so many high-gloss pieces that you lose the cozy ambiance.
There is one key element every Cali-styled home needs: organic materials. Look for ways to evoke the outside world indoors with warm, organic and easygoing pieces of woven materials and organic fibers. Sea grass accessories are always welcome, as well as sisal rugs and driftwood signs. The mix of timber and jute looks great in a more contemporary setting. The key though is to keep it simple without looking too perfect or too cheap.
Decorating Idea to Steal: Break up organic surfaces with contrast. A wicker coffee table next to a rattan lounge chair on top of a sisal rug might be a bit much. A few touches of rope, driftwood and sea grass add a lighthearted appeal yet stay true to the coastal theme.
House Plants Are A Must
Though incorporating natural and organic materials is essential for the perfect Cali coastal look, there’s no substitute for the real thing! That’s why the vast majority of these spaces feature a houseplant or two . . . or five. Welcome the outside in with plenty of leafy plants and vases full of foliage. Surrounding your home with lush plants and coastal shrubbery (like a boston fern or monstera) will transport you to the coast without you ever having to set foot outside! Plus, the hassle of upkeep is minimal compared to the aesthetic reward.
Decorating Idea to Steal: Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are the ‘it’ plant for Cali-style; place a ceiling-high fig in your living room.
(*This post contains affiliate links. Which basically means, if you click on or purchase something from this post, I have a chance of making a small commission — at no extra cost to you. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t personally use or find to be of value to my blog, and only refer to brands I trust and use.*)
Leather sofas, chair and ottomans tend to make a space feel comfy and classic. It’s no wonder why they’re a popular choice for Cali-cool styled homes. A hint of masculinity and worn leather works perfectly in a coastal laid-back space. But too much bulky leather can make a space look dark and heavy. Whether a cozy lounge chair or a buttery soft sofa, leather pieces can warm up an all white room and provide a relaxed, lived-in feel. Plus, they work wonderfully with other essential Cali-style elements.
Decorating Idea to Steal: Don’t be afraid to add some fun colored throw pillows to go with your leather furniture.
Dip Into Indigo
Rich, dark and full of drama, indigo blue is a California coastal classic. This color continues to inspire designers with its rich and complicated quality, and there’s no danger of overkill. Indigo retains a delicacy that refuses to overwhelm — no matter how many surfaces it covers — when it’s mixed in with natural textures and bright whites. Plus, any whiff of seaside cliche is removed by the indigo hue itself — which is more complex than the lighter, clearer blues usually chosen for beachfront living. Just be sure to create a few light, bright spots for visual respite.
Decorating Idea to Steal: Add contrast to your Cali-style bright interiors with indigo accents and don’t be afraid to mix it with bold, bright colors (think light pink and bright yellow) to create an energetic atmosphere. Also incorporate shibori accents — such as patterned blankets, pillows and tapestries.
Mix Up Different Patterns & Textiles
California is relaxed and laid-back so a collection of patterns in different colors and scales recreates that same feeling. Sprinkle bright hues throughout your home using a Suzani-fabric chair, a few Turkish kilim throw pillows and a lush Persian rug. No matter the pattern or style, incoporating textiles from a variety of cultures and regions gives that collected, bohemian vibe. Don’t be afraid to mix up different style and materials, but try sticking to the same color palette for a consistent, contemporary look. And remember that your pieces don’t necessarily have to match, they just need to comfortably sit alongside each other.
Decorating Idea to Steal: I love the timelessness of traditional elements paired with the brightness of coastal colors, and then mixing in one-of-a-kind pieces to create a warm, unique and inviting space. Combined with the simplicity of modern materials and you can create the perfect mix of decorating styles. A few key pieces in a lively pattern are all that’s needed to make a statement.
Pile Up With Layers
Adding layers upon layers makes a room feel perfectly eclectic, but not over-the-top. A variety of fabrics yields the relaxed atmosphere synonymous with the Cali-cool style. Use funky patterns and prints against neutral colors and worn woods to help boost the visual interest of your space. Bring in a few rugs made of hemp, sisal of sheep skin with textured designs to help zone out different areas of your home. And using layers is the perfect way to mix in different styles and patterns.
Decorating Idea to Steal: Keep the look calm and cohesive by choosing a tonal color palette.
As with any theme, it’s important to not go overboard in your decor. The most important thing is to keep your design flexible and relaxed. Nothing should feel trendy. All your materials should be chosen because they are comfortable and durable, and do as much as you can to bring the outside in!