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How to imbue your space with a laidback West Coast aesthetic.

| By Nicole Kleist | Interiors

7 Decorating Tips Californians Know That You Don’t

How to imbue your space with a laidback West Coast aesthetic.

Ah, California – a picturesque state that sprawls out nearly 900 miles north to south and boasts some of the most scenic spots in the world. It’s unlike anywhere else and offers diverse environments ranging from snow-capped mountain ranges to cactus-dotted deserts and – of course – extraordinary beaches. Understandably, living here is pretty spectacular and designing a space that mirrors the Golden State’s best attributes is a real treat.

When Californians decorate they work with what they’ve got – sunshine, access to nature, and a laid-back attitude.

Ahead, get the lowdown on seven tips from its most stylish homes on how you can infuse your space with a West Coast aesthetic.

1. Plants are the best roommates

Indoor plants aren’t exclusive to the Golden State, but they are ubiquitous throughout its stylish homes, from San Francisco down to San Diego. On a logistical level, Californian abodes tend to have more sunshine and natural light than other states, which as we all know makes plants happy. But beyond science, layering both lush plants and bold succulents throughout one’s space is signature to the region and helps define the overall aesthetic when looking at the way Californians decorate.

2. Natural light is a centrepiece

If you look at homes in colder regions of the country, the fireplace is often a design focus (we live for a stylish log holder!). But since it’s fairly warm all year round in California, fireplaces are rarely used and design focus tends to centre around sources of natural light. Whether that’s a ceiling-to-floor window in a loft, or a sun-drenched window in a kitchen nook, you’ll notice that Californians prefer to style their vignettes around the sunshine.

3. Natural materials and neutral colours mesh well

Almost anyone interested in interior design understands the synergy between natural materials and an earth-toned colour palette. But for Californians, it’s practically in their DNA. Step inside a stylish home in Santa Monica or Santa Barbara and you’ll discover a harmonious confluence of textures like wood, ceramic, and stones awash in calming neutral hues. And the best part of all? Everything mixes and matches with complete ease, making it easy to pile everything on top of each other without overwhelming the eye.

4. Mid-century modern is a versatile direction

Clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic are design pillars of the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic, which fits in well with a Cali home. This can manifest in a spate of interesting, stylish ways – perhaps a puffy marshmallow sofa or a lounge chair that channels the spirit of the movement’s iconic Eames design? Also consider light fixtures, like an arched floor lamp or a spherical lamp à la George Nelson.

5. The beach is indeed a design reference

Just as you would decorate a cabin in the woods to look like a cosy lodge, homes in California that are positioned near the coastline often take design cues from the ocean’s edge. This can be as subtle or overt as you wish, from tranquil shades of blue to channel the sea all the way to literal seashells used as decor accents. We also love spotting West Coast spaces that incorporate vintage surf culture into their design scheme, like a framed photograph of Malibu circa 1960s or an antique surfboard displayed in an entryway.

6. Contrast colours can liven up a loft or industrial space

While Californian homes are undoubtedly known for their calming, earthy colour palettes, that doesn’t mean a pop of colour is unheard of. Just look to larger cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco where residents inhabit industrial spaces like lofts. Here, Californians work with the environment by pairing sturdier materials with vibrant decor hues – not only does it liven up the space, it also creates an interesting contrast from the building’s bones.

7. Don’t take outdoor space for granted

If you’ve ever uttered the words “I’d kill for an outdoor space”, then you probably don’t live in California. Access to porches, gardens, and even – gasp – backyards isn’t uncommon even for renters, which is why residents know to take full advantage of their alfresco environments, shared or private. Outdoor showers and tubs are prized design amenities, as are thoughtfully curated lounge spaces and meditation corners surrounded by nature and beneath the sun.

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