California Inspired Home Style Guide

California Inspired Home Style Guide

Tara Dickinson
4 minute read

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Northern California Style

It might almost sound cliché, but Northern California style is defined by certain elements that are dead-giveaways reflecting back the living style of the region, which is inviting and casual, with a thread of elegance running through it all. Combining eco-conscious choices using natural materials, neutral colors, and lots of light; where light is almost a color itself. A streamless line between the indoors and out. Because of chilly weather in this region, bringing light and warmth into the home is ideal. Natural lines leading to open wood decks, reclaimed wood hot tubs, large chairs with cozy textured fabric throws. It's a deep appreciation for nature, almost an obsession for the outdoors. Not a beach style coastal; it’s more modern but with just a perfect touch of hippie flair. 

Elements of a Northern California Home Style

  • Allow in as much light as possible; skylights are signature in NorCal homes.
  • Bare windows or add your boho touch here with scarf curtains.
  • Natural wood everywhere, from structures to furnishings.
  • Rough flooring, polished concrete and reclaimed woods are good examples.
  • Create simple opulence with exposed materials topped with layers of fabrics.
  • Backgrounds and even textures in shades of whites.
  • Open ceilings.

CaliforniaThe NorCal style is a bit eclectic, incorporating ethnic accents with layers of colors. Furniture is a mixture of modern and casual, coming off as intentional but not overly decorated. A touch of bohemian grounds the luxury look and balances this design style.

California Coastal Style

Perfect year-round weather and inspired beach views create the California coastal vibe of bright, open, and airy homes with nature-inspired decors. It’s the marriage of casual, laid-back comfort and easy put-together elegance. Like its northern neighbor, California coastal design style has no boundary between indoors and out. Bringing the elements of a breezy, relaxed beach inside to achieve a serene comfortable elegance. This is where you might find stereotypical West Coast style accents that create a laid-back, casual feel. Feel free to use a mixture of existing furniture or collectibles; the goal is to create joy in your custom space.

Elements of a Coastal California Home Style

  • White foundation with accent color pops inspired by tones in nature.
  • Pillows without piping.
  • Slip-covered sofas.
  • Rough-hewn wood surfaces.
  • Sisal accents.
  • Natural textured furniture-wicker, rattan, weathered, distressed, or white-sashed woods.
  • Textured accents using jute baskets and driftwood.
  • Drapes in light linen or cotton fabrics.

California Modern Style

Welcoming, calm, pulled together comfort and elegance, California Modern is a style that’s made to be lived in. Featuring a mix of natural, rustic, organic, and modern elements all working to exude an easygoing and personal style. The grounding color palette in earthy and neutral tones merge with the rustic furnishings. These eclectic elements are paired with modern mainstream pieces for a refined look. Like all homes, adding your unique and personal touches make the home yours. To finish off, darker accents are used as a visual contrast.

Elements of a Modern California Home Style

  • Overall the main color is white, but a warm and soothing earthy palette is secondary.
  • The decor goal is simple but intentional.
  • Create contrast.
  • Focus on comfort.
  • Textural accent chairs
  • Decorate with collected objects.
  • Throw rugs to warm up the space.
  • Greenery or seasonal foliage adds color and life.

The furniture is where the modern part of this look comes in. However this furniture in the European-inspired type of mid-century modern is a little less cold, has more use of organic elements and sculptural shapes. To contrast the natural side of the materials, furnishings with metal accents are added.


To summarize the Californian style, any of these essential elements run through all the different decor options and can be used to bring the feel of the east coast into your home.

  • Choose colors that echo the sea, sand, and mountain forests. Sandy beige, crisp whites all to reflect the magical natural light of the Californai coast.
  • Layer textures in natural tones using sisal and jute with cottons and linens.
  • Clay patterned tiles came with the Spanish and Mediterranean style design influences.
  • Furniture is simple and functional.
  • Accents incorporate pottery, botanicals, wood, and sea elements.
  • ​Light textiles in rooms celebrate the relaxed vibe of California style.

Mixing patterns, prints and solids are design elements used in many California homes. Get creative and have fun!


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