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.
This 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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
California 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.
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.
Want to bring some casual California Modern style into your home?