California style can be vexing to achieve—it looks so effortless but requires a decent degree of discipline in terms of material and color palette to effectively achieve it. Here are the 10 must have essentials to acheive this breezy, laid-back style. After all, California isn't just a style—it's an ideal.
- White walls. The white walls are the starting point for solid California style points. Not only do they bounce light beautifully, but they serve as the perfect clean and crisp backdrop for the other essential elements. Bonus points if you're painting not only drywall white, but white brick and whitewashed wood. (Pro tip: Our favorite white paints are Dunn Edwards White, Dunn Edwards Droplets or Benjamin Moore Super White).
2. Vintage rugs. Beautiful, hand-knotted vintage rugs are a signature element of classic California style, whether used as a runner in a kitchen or hallway, or layered with a classic sisal rug in a the living room. The more worn and faded the better, as these rugs just keep getting better over time.
3. Accentuate architectural details with pops of black paint. We're looking at you window mullions. We also love matte black plumbing fixtures, hardware and signature light fixtures to add contrast to those aforementioned bright white walls.
4. When in doubt, add leather. This can come in many forms, from a mid-century leather camp chair to simple leather drawer pulls, tan leather can take your style from Maine to Malibu in a snap.
5. Built-ins make the world go round. Because what's a California-style home without beautifully styled shelves? If in doubt, go with all white built-in and add color with contents, such as beautiful books, smaller pieces of framed art or other beautiful objects.
6. Embrace your green thumb. From succulents and cactus to big leafy Monstera, plants are key to great California style. We love simple terracotta planters, as well as mid-century case study and bullet planters as accents. Extra credit for any large scale cactus.
7. Go big. In terms of artwork that is. Large scale photography is always a favorite (we love Jerry Uelsmann, as well as more colorful works from Max Wanger and Gray Malin), as well as bold, graphic artwork.
8. Up your textile game. Opt for a durable cream slipcovered sofa paired with a mixture of subtly patterned pillows and throws for a look that is perfectly imperfect.