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California Modern

Tour a Dream Home Designed In California Modern Style

Do you love the idea of a relaxed, approachable home that feels both personal and pulled together? Then you might want to explore California Modern interior design.

California Modern style is an easygoing style that’s welcoming, calming, and personal. A style subset of Modern Rustic, it features a mix of rustic, natural, organic, and modern elements, styled with an eclectic edge. That’s where the personal touch comes in; this style feels collected, with pieces throughout that could be vintage or have come from a flea market. But these more unique and eclectic elements are paired with more mainstream pieces like a comfortable but streamlined sofa, for a refined look.

California ModernThis style definitely takes on the relaxed, laid back appeal of West Coast living and features a coastal-inspired palette—which is where you’ll see the rustic shine through. This look is grounded in earthy, neutral tones reminiscent of the Pacific coast and a welcoming mix of wood tones. But saturated, darker elements in the accent pieces to add some visual contrast.

The modern comes through in furniture shapes and specific decorative elements. However, this is a more eclectic, European-inspired type of mid-century modern that’s less sterile and more undone, with organic elements and sculptural shapes throughout.

Ready to explore this California Modern home? Keep reading for visual inspiration, tips on decorating modern homes, and how to get this look—plus a full 3D walkthrough of the home!

California ModernCalifornia Modern Entryway

While simple, this entryway is warm and welcoming. The rustic, farmhouse-inspired console helps set the tone for a relaxed and comfortable home that’s ready to be lived in by its inhabitants and warmly welcome guests.

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The Key Elements:

Keep it simple. Nothing in this space is overly flashy; in fact, the whole vignette is quite simple but intentional. The round mirror is practical, but also adds a modern decorative element. The base of the console adds some visual nuance and interest to the space, but decoratively it’s more pared back and styled with care.

Decorate with collected objects. An entryway console is a great surface to display some unique collected objects. We gave the decor a slightly modern spin, which you can see come to life through the feet on the clay bowl and the mod shape of the vase. But both of these pieces, along with the etched lamp, have a global-inspired feel—as if they could have been collected over time, either at flea markets or during travels. The clay bowl also offers a practical element, as it could double as a catchall.

Opt for a warm and soothing color palette. The warm wood of the console table plays with the earthy tones of the lamp, bowl, and vase. The rug, while neutral, has slightly olive undertones which helps further warm up the space. A pop of greenery or seasonal foliage helps insert some color and life to the space.

California ModernCalifornia Modern Living Room

Comfort comes first in this California Modern living room, with the foundational elements of this space being comfortable and cozy. The high-contrast color palette and mix of materials helps bring to life the mix of modern and rustic elements in this space. But there’s a beautiful balance between the two styles, so neither style dominates the look. Eclectic elements give this space an approachable, personalized vibe.

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The Key Elements:

Focus on comfort. California Modern is a style that’s made to be lived in. This living room should be a space where a family can gather and relax, where friends and family can come over to enjoy drinks and a game night, and where one can kick back and relax at the end of the day with a good book. The comfortable sofa provides a great foundation for this vibe, and the textural accent chairs definitely support this focus. Upholstered in boucle fabric, they’re very soft and plush, while still having a mod silhouette that elevates the look of the space.

Create contrast. While, overall, the color palette leans more neutral and earth toned, dark elements throughout add a slight sense of dramatic contrast. This is seen in the use of dark curtains, the black frame around the mirror, and the black metal side table. This side table is also a great example of contrast through materials. While much of this space has more organic-feeling or natural materials, the metal side table adds some welcome contrast.

Use furniture to create thoughtful moments. Floating the sofa away from the wall and placing a console table behind it creates a unique and considered surface to help adorn the living room with personalized, collected objects. The blanket ladder on the opposite wall of the living room is an intentional way to use the wall space that offers both practicality, contrast, and a decorative element. The bench is also a thoughtful element. While it offers additional seating, it’s also an eclectic way to zone an open living room/dining room to help break up the two spaces.

California ModernCalifornia Modern Dining Room

This dining room is definitely dominated by the dining table. A clean-lined but heavy table, the dark, rough wood creates a definite rustic feel, which is supported by the complimentary wood tones of the dining room chairs. (The two wood tones flow together nicely since they’re both in the warm wood tone family.) But mid-century modern shapes keep the look from veering too rustic.

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The Key Elements:

Create balance. The various mid-century modern chair forms balance out the rustic nature of the table. The light wood dining chairs have that classic mid-century, wishbone-inspired shape, while the chairs at the eat-up counter are also very mid-century in form. However, the spindle style also brings in a touch of that traditional sensibility. Meanwhile, the slipcovered chairs have clean, modern lines, while giving a nod to classic and rustic styles.

Keep the color scheme neutral. The natural materials that dominate this living room keep the color scheme fairly neutral. This helps drive home that comfortable, approachable vibe that’s inherent to California style. But moments of dark contrast help balance out the rustic elements. They also tie in with the black accents in the living room, helping weave together the two spaces.

Add touches of character. A dining room light fixture is a perfect place to add some character. We opted for this metal pendant light to add an eclectic touch to the space, but you could also layer in a flea market find! The ladder chair to the left of the cabinet also adds to that collected sensibility of California Modern style. That collected element could also come through in true vintage rugs rather than vintage-inspired styles.

California Modern Hallway

Hallways don’t have to just be pass-through spaces. In fact, they can create an intentional, thoughtful moment in the middle of your home. This hallway features a built-in cabinet that could be used as a linen closet or just for additional storage. While we used the built-in bench more as a decorative moment, you could also get a full-length cushion and use this area as a reading nook!

As it is, a framed piece of abstract art in coastal colors adds a pop of color to this hallway and coordinates with the shibori print on the throw pillow. The saturated, vintage-inspired rug, along with the eclectic stool and oversized vase add visual interest and natural texture to the space. We added a bit of contrast with the dark metal sconces.

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California Modern Bedroom

Since California Modern style is all about relaxed comfort, that should be a primary focus in the bedroom. So, we opted for an upholstered bed, cozy bed linens, and a plush, textural rug to set the tone. With its focus on comfort, this bedroom leans a little more rustic, but the furniture forms keep it balanced with modern. Overall, the larger furniture pieces ground this space in relatability, warmth, and comfort.

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The Key Elements:

Balance modern lines with rustic finishes. The nightstands and bench at the end of the bed both display the perfect mix of modern and rustic styles. The chest nightstands feature clean, modern lines, but in a natural wood finish that feels very rustic. The bench, too, has a rustic patina, but with modern tapered legs that give it a lighter and airier vibe.

Incorporate eclectic accents. A good dose of personality is brought into this room through an eclectic mix of prints. They show up in the throw pillows, curtains, and rug, which you could personalize to your own taste. The abstract line art above the bed also adds a modern and eclectic touch.

Try out antiques. Bedrooms are a perfect place to incorporate some antique furniture. While the dresser in this bedroom isn’t an antique, it does have a classic, vintage-inspired design. But you could opt for an antique store or flea market find for a dress, or even your nightstands!

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California ModernCalifornia Modern Home Office

Whether you need a shared home office for two or just need a little extra space to spread out, this is a great set-up. We arranged it as a co-working office space, perfect for side-by-side work or collaborating. The desk, with its smokey wood finish, has a rustic vibe—but the way its legs angle slightly outward gives it a more modern form. AKA, it’s the perfect combination of modern and rustic elements.

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The Key Elements:

Go bold with color. In a smaller space, it can be energizing to paint a darker wall color. So, rather than going for the light walls and dark accents like the rest of this home, we opted to inverse the color palette in this home office. We went for dark walls but light curtains, which creates amazing contrast, and opted for a bit of extra saturation in the vintage-inspired rug.

Showcase your inner collector. A home office is a great place to display some of your collected pieces—whether that’s a vintage rug, woven baskets from your travels, or pieces from your favorite artist.

Go big. The large, oversized table lamp makes a statement in this set-up, and it also lights up a big portion of the room. (So, you only need one lamp for both workspaces.) We also took up a large portion of the wall by showcasing a trio of art prints—though you could also opt for one large-scale piece.

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california casual

Dream Home Tour – A Collected Approach to California Casual

It’s no secret we’re fans of the chic modern spaces that capture the calm, collected California casual look. It’s a style we currently can’t get enough of – think blissful rooms with comfy furnishings, a blend of natural textures, and soft neutral hues.

With all that inspo in the air and summer just around the corner, our design team couldn’t help but imagine what our perfect California home would look like. So, we got to work designing this dream home to showcase that laid-back, West Coast style we just can’t get enough of.

Get ready to see lots of relaxed designs, a mix of classic and rustic elements, layers of textures, and lots of eclectic accents. We’ve thoughtfully curated every room to reflect our idea of the perfect California casual home, with pieces that you can find directly through us to recreate the exact look and feel in your own space.

Come along for a room-by-room tour of the home along with all the design tips and key design elements you’ll need to bring the look home.

The Entry

california casualSetting an Airy Tone

The entry introduces the overall laid-back vibe in the home. To make it truly inviting, a bit of symmetry can go a long way. Bring in a statement piece, such as a modern credenza, to anchor the focus, then round it out with classic designs for stylistic contrast. To polish it off, layer in lots of woven details and accents. It really is as simple as it sounds!

california casualThe Key Entryway Elements

Start with a showpiece. The contemporary credenza has a woven leather front that adds both texture and intrigue. A big piece like this is also great if you need to define a pass-through space, which flows into the living and dining rooms.

Mix in classic design notes. This look is all about playing with contrast. And nothing makes modern pieces stand out more than being surrounded by Old World-inspired designs, like this classic-shaped mirror and traditional patterned rug with European influence.

Natural textures are your friend. Natural woven elements and details help play up the California casual feel, so don’t be afraid to go big. We flanked our console with a woven accent chair and a basket planter, and we also brought in a woven pendant light to top it all off. These pieces not only help frame the space but also offer balance. Another note: Don’t hesitate to add a natural-fiber rug for even more texture.

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The Living Room

california casualLead With Comfort

For the living room, we envisioned a welcoming gathering spot with an open layout that’s unfussy, rooted in comfort, and suffused with light. We also worked in beachy accents, organic touches, and rustic elements that emphasize relaxed living (think seagrass-wrapped chairs, stone tables, and a hefty chandelier).

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california casualThe Key Living Room Elements

Foundational pieces first. It’s always good to start with furnishings grounded in comfort, such as a big sofa in a dark gray that is both livable and durable. Likewise, the cushioned armchairs and benches offer practical extra seating. Once you’ve settled on your main comfort pieces, you’ll find it easier to mix and match designs to go with them.

Play up vintage vibes. A little Old-World rusticity pairs nicely with foundational furnishings, be they a washed-out rug that adds soft color or a European-style chandelier that brings an antique element. Looking to start small? Try a dark-wood mirror or a vintage wood side table.

Keep hues easy on the eyes. Neutrals and nature-inspired hues are at the center of rooms with a relaxed style. Opt for contrasting warm and cool neutrals for a palette that calms and eases the senses. Think a gray sofa grouped with crisp white fabrics, light woods, and natural fiber tones.

california casual

Marry function and beauty. Livable design also means maximizing your storage. Whether that takes the form of baskets and bins, a credenza, or built-in shelving is up to you! These pieces offer both smart storage and style, and they’re part of what gives the California casual home its charm.

Get beachy. You can’t have a beach-inspired home without textures that recall the coast, right? From the rattan floor lamps and seagrass-wrapped chairs to the woven benches and patterns on the pillows, we didn’t skimp on materials that bring elements of the beach indoors – and you shouldn’t either!

Nod to Nature. Keep to natural materials to add texture with minimal color impact. Designs like the stone-inlay table, woven rattan lighting, and natural-fiber details on the credenza facade, can help unify different furnishings in a room given their organic appeal. Similarly, stick to art that brings the outdoors in, such as botanical and fish prints.

The Office Corner

california casualPutting Style to Work

Home offices are great, but if you’re tight on space a vignette within a larger room can be just as effective. In large living rooms a small nook or corner dedicated to work not only expands your room’s function, but it also offers an unexpected focus area.

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california casualThe Key Office Elements

Lean traditional. Unless you’ve decided on a contemporary look, traditional furnishings, like a classic-style desk, a spindle bench, or a faded rug, perfectly complement comfy foundational pieces. A good rule of thumb? Pair a classic-style desk with a modern chair for an old-meets-new approach that is practically always a win-win.

Take note of gold. Accents in gold and brass are great buffers for adding a glint of polish and warmth to neutral spaces. A work desk is a great opportunity for layering in these shiny touches. This can take the form of a task lamp, a picture frame, or the hardware on the drawers.

Go for height. Distinguish your workspace by optimizing the vertical space surrounding it. Hang a large painting – we chose an abstract piece with undulating lines that recalls the beach – and pull in a streamlined bookcase that helps to play up a vignette and give it elevated focus without distracting from the rest of the room.

The Dining Area

california casualMixing It Up

Like the living room, the California casual dining space is anchored in comfort, so we imagined a room that combines a wide range of furnishings and styles that emphasize ease. A large table in light wood keeps the space from feeling cramped, while cane dining chairs make for casual and stylish companions.

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california casualThe Key Dining Room Elements

Get high-contrast. A collected dining space is all about uniting contrasting elements in a harmonious design. In addition to the light table and dark chairs, we opted for a dark metal sideboard and a dark wood cabinet to further anchor the space. The key is to layer in various materials and design styles that add warmth and personality to a space that’s normally considered for functional use only.

Think industrial. Since the centerpiece of any dining room is a large table, pulling in industrial pieces can provide good heft. Not to mention, industrial accents with worn finishes can add that Old-World touch – an element you’ll find in every room of this dream home – and balance out more coastal-inspired pieces.

Liven things up. It’s rare to find a room without plants or some sort of foliage in homes nowadays, and the dining space is no exception. It’s also a great place to try out trees and greenery with branches that can bring a little height and dimension to the space.

The Bedroom

california casualCreating a Serene Oasis

To conjure up the casual elegance that’s often found in California bedrooms, we created a space that’s enveloped in luxurious neutrals and textures. To get the look, consider plush seating, nubby textures, and a bed so comfortable you never want to leave. 

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california casualThe Key Bedroom Elements

Find calm in multiples. A balanced bedroom is a comfortable bedroom. You can achieve a calming look and feel with furniture and accents in pairs and multiples. Matching nightstands, table lamps, and artwork create symmetry that will bring a sense of order and serenity.

Opt for plush pieces. If we’re talking luxurious comfort, nothing beats an upholstered bed with a tall headboard, which grounds this bedroom. Extend that sumptuous look and feel by adding a sophisticated bench or armchair for extra seating that’s inviting and practical.

Texture, texture, and more texture. Whether it’s piles of pillows, a cozy throw, or a soft jute rug, the more fluffy, tactile accents you bring into the space, the more warm and welcoming it will feel. If you’re looking to give your bedroom a quick spruce up with big impact, start here.

 

Want to Bring the California Casual Look to Your Home?

Shop everything in this home in our California Casual design studio. Or start your own Modsy project and see the look styled in your exact room in magical 3D!

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