How to Use California Casual Style In Your Interior Design

How to Use California Casual Style In Your Interior Design



If you’re looking to use California Casual style in your home, and you need some pointers, you’ve come to the right place.  If you’ve been around here a while, you know by now: my bread and butter is a design style I like to call “California Casual.”  This is a design style that feels relaxed and airy, but filled to the brim with texture and organic materials.  It’s a style that feels effortless when you walk into a room designed in this way, but let’s be real: it takes a little bit of thought.  If you live in a place that isn’t anywhere near the beach – or near California, for that matter – there are still ways you can incorporate parts of California Casual style into your home.  And no, you don’t need to throw a huge surfboard into the room to pull off this look.  If you live by the beach, knock your heart out with the surfboards.  But if you live in the midwest, for example, you can focus more on the textures, colors and vibe of this style than using more literal interpretations. 😉

How to Design a California Casual Inspired Kitchen





When it comes to designing a California Casual inspired kitchen, light and bright is usually the name of the game.  So, if your heart is set on white kitchen cabinets, you’re in luck.  Balance out the white tones by adding in loads of texture: in the kitchen below that meant the bamboo shades, the wooden peg shelves, the plants, the basket, and so on.


If you have an eat-in kitchen or a nearby dining nook, carry the design over from the kitchen so the whole space feels holistic.  Here in this home below, we kept the white tones with the built-in seating and white table, but we added in texture with the light fixture, basket wall planters, woven rug, pillows, and chairs.  By adding in lots of texture in different forms, the space feels “complete” and airy, but not sterile.




Now, if you really want to go for it a bit more, I say bring some blue tones to the cabinets!  Here we evened out the blueish greenish paint color on the cabinets by pairing it with a butcher block countertop and fronting the cabinets with caning.  The paint color we used on the cabinets is “Underseas” by Sherwin-Williams.






And probably one of my biggest design rules with California Casual style (and really, any style): add a plant!  More than one if you can!




Some Decor to Keep in Mind



If you have some of these things at play in your own home, or are looking to design your space to be specifically California Casual, here are some aspects of this style to keep in mind:

  • 1. Light-toned wood floors – If you’re lucky enough to be choosing new floors, these really drive home that Cali Casual feel!
  • 2. Decor with organic textures – Think baskets, rustic pottery, woven rugs, a few things that look old
  • 3. Statement lighting – Something rustic, rattan, or with hints of brass or copper
  • 4. Wood accessories – Think cutting boards, wooden bowls, wooden spoons
  • 5. Chrome fixtures – Mix a chrome faucet with brass accents to get that mixed metal look!
  • 6. Open shelving – More space for styling Cali Casual decor!  Here’s some styling tips.
  • 7. Blue tones – Duh!  Coastal vibes = blue decor (or paint, or tile…)
  • 8. Marble or marble-look countertops and/or backsplash – Pretty and neutral with just enough texture

How to Design a California Casual Inspired Living Room




Alright, I’m just going to put this out there.  If you feel like it makes sense based on where you live, I highly recommend using a surfboard (if you have one!) in your design.  I mean, why not?!  It just looks cool.  If a surfboard isn’t practical for you, no worries – I’ve got some more tips.




A more neutral color palette definitely drives home that “light and airy California” vibe, but I like to bring pops of color through with decor.  Even a plant is a great pop of color and a good way to bring texture into the living room.  And speaking of texture… look at all the textures we used in the photo below!  I’m talkin’ blankets, different pillows, a lamp with a basket base, the wooden ladder, the pouf, the rug, and so on.




As you can see below all the colors are mostly neutral, but we layered in interest with the tongue and groove paneling and the tile on the fireplace.  Add some baskets, and you’re good to go.  And it doesn’t hurt to hang some beachy art!




Wood tones are big in California Casual spaces.  I also like to use bamboo shades to add another layer of texture and warmth.  Speaking of layers and warmth, feel free to layer rugs for added impact!




Keep it neutral, keep it textured, add in plants and a few pops of blue, and you’re on the right track!




Some Decor to Keep in Mind




If you have some of these things at play in your own home, or are looking to design your space to be specifically California Casual, here are some aspects of this style to keep in mind:

  • 1. Rattan furniture – Bonus points for California Casual style if you can incorporate some rattan pieces!
  • 2. Pattern – Add in pattern through tiles, a rug or even throw pillows
  • 3. Warm whites – If you need a good white paint color, I use Sherwin-Williams “Pure White”
  • 4. Beachy art – This is an obvious one, but it helps drive home that coastal ambiance!  Here’s one of my fave artists.
  • 5. Textured pieces – Think poufs, pillows and woven wall hangings
  • 6. Natural fiber rugs – I always find good jute rugs on Amazon!
  • 7. More art! – Baskets, hats, and yes, surfboards count as art!


  • Great Post! Thanks for sharing this amazing post with us. I really enjoyed reading this post and found some great information.


    on January 31, 2024

  • Love your style and want to buy things shown there! Hope they are on your website

    Jan Parmenter

    on January 31, 2024

  • I love your style and shows! What brand and color of luxury vinyl do you recommend? We are remodeling our fixer upper soon (post house fire that happened during renovation). We can’t wait to get out of an apartment so we want to choose our finishes now to get done quickly. Thanks


    on August 21, 2022

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