California Cool

Do you lust after pictures in home decor magazines or Instagram and wonder how they created that look?  Do you love clean design and minimalist pieces warmed up with natural touches and textures?  The new California look is a laid-back mix of Scandinavian, Mid-Century Modern, Zen, with a bit of surf and sunshine on the side.  It is easy to achieve because it is based on comfortable, simple living.  California has always been at the forefront of health & fashion, and this coveted style is based on chilled-out blue skies and year-round warm weather.  If you want to achieve an updated, modern look, but aren't sure what to do first or how to begin, Sophia Wood, owner of NorCal's chic home & lifestyle store MUSE CALIFORNIA will share her inspirations and some of her favorite styling tips with you.

How to achieve this look:

1.  Declutter your space.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Get rid of the excess clutter either by donating it, recycling it, or selling it.  Make sure you start with clear surfaces and a clean slate, and don't hesitate.  Read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Say goodbye to yesterday, and to anything that no longer suits you.  

2.  Bring in the sunshine.  Clean your windows, add window screens, and let the most light and air as possible.  Fresh air is good for your health, and gives a good vibration to your newly cleared-out space.  Think about adding only the most minimal window coverings to bring the focus on the outdoors.  Stay away from: heavy, complicated window coverings.

3.  Use a light palette with wood accents.  Start with white walls and hardwood floors and simple cabinetry.  Think mostly white with either neutral brown, grey or black accents.  I personally love the look of nude light-washed wood, but other shades of wood work well.  When choosing wood furniture, choose clean, simple silhouettes.  Modern, Scandinavian styles incorporate well into this look.  Stay away from complicated design, or too many heavy rich pieces.

4.  Add leafy plants & cacti.  Focus on modern shapes.  Some of my favorites are tall Cacti, Snake Plant, Monstera, Banana Leaf, Sago Palm, Pothos Ivy, Blue-Green Succulent, and of course the Fiddle-Leaf Fig.  Modern, minimalist containers like concrete planters work well.  Stay away from: red, glossy foliage and complicated plant combinations in the same container.  Again, keep it simple. 

5.  Add modern texture & statement.  When adding rustic or ethnic details, try to pick the most modern looking of the bunch.  An African Juju hat, geometric Moroccan rug, Mexican blanket, Turkish rug, Western animal skin or woven wall hanging can look light and fresh if chosen wisely.  You should add big, colorful pieces but remember that using restraint actually helps define the space and keep the focus clear.  Stay away from: multiple heavy, multicolored objects.

6.  Add tasteful elements that relate to the coastal lifestyle.  Maybe a custom surfboard, a shell from a beach trip, or a large print of the Pacific Ocean.  These elements will help you tie everything together to create that California vibe.  Stay away from: glittery beach-themed decor with cutesy sayings.

Hopefully these steps will help you create your own version of this look.  Remember, stay true to yourself, and be inspired to create a beautiful life!