Cali-cool design school – Part 1: Laid-back and liveable interiors

3/08/2016 11:50:00 am HELEN STILES 0 Comments

Last week was a pretty hectic week at Hide & Seek HQ! Aside from finalising the room schemes for my current interior design clients (and buying lots of lovely vintage furniture and lighting on their behalf), I took delivery of some amazing new stock, planned my stand for the Country Living Spring Fair (9 days to go and counting) and had the photoshoot for the store's spring/summer collection with the lovely Carole Poirot (sneak preview above). Let's just say it certainly feels like I've had enough to keep me on my toes....

Last week I blogged about California-cool interiors and the key elements that make up the look. I promised to expand on each of the 8 points in a series of blog posts, a mini Cali-cool design-school if you like! So here comes post one for creating that cool California vibe at home:

Laid-back and liveable.

If there's one thing that really defines the Cali-cool look, it is laid-back, inviting. Cali-cool rooms actually look like someone might use them now and again: you won't find anything too uptight, too symmetrical or too immaculate. The key is to allow your home to look like real people actually live there (cool people, with great taste, obviously!) Here are my top tips:

Allow some imperfection; add a little patina and dishevelment! Choose handwoven fabrics, well-worn leather, vintage rugs, furniture with the odd scuff (provided it has good lines) – a little wear and history will keep things from looking too 'show home.'

Allow the items you use to be part of the show (books, newspapers, pretty cups and glasses etc). The detritus of daily life can be beautiful (if you're prepared to only buy what you really love and edit your belongings once in a while!) Empty kitchen surfaces look glossy in magazines, but also a little cold and unloved – so why not display all the utensils you use in an oversize pot next to your oven? Or make a feature of your funky tea-towels? Frankly, life is too short to keep things immaculate, so take a relaxed attitude to what is left out.

Choose comfy furniture – a sofa that you can curl up on; a cosy chair for reading; a huge bed; upholstered ottomans to rest your feet on; dining chairs that you are happy to sit in for hours (OK, don't get my husband started on that one, he HATES our dining chairs and it's been on my to-do list for about 2 years to find something better. I'm being a bit commitment-phobic about choosing new ones, but I feel 2016 is the year!) Poufs and side tables are a must too, these smaller pieces are great for bringing in different shapes and textures (not to mention giving you somewhere to put your drink down). You get the picture, your furniture should help you relax – the odd beautiful but impractical chair is allowed, but it's pretty hard to create a laid-back room if you have to sit bolt-upright or slouch awkwardly ALL the time.

Mix things up and don't get too 'match-matchy' – whether its with your furniture, cushions, bedside tables or lamps.  Buying co-ordinating sets seems easy, but cleverly curated pieces look far cooler. A pair of chairs is allowed, provided they don't match the sofa; a pair of bedside tables can work fine if you mismatch the lamps etc. Mixing things up isn't too hard – just ensure there is some underlying link between pieces, whether it's colour, pattern, scale or material.

Overlap things – whether it's rugs on the floor, pictures leant on a shelf or collections of lamps/trinkets/candles/flowers. Don't line things up and don't leave gaps between everything! Style things to overlap and collide a little and you'll be amazed how much cooler they look.

Via SFgirlbybay

Who doesn't want a relaxing home to come back to? Laid-back Cali-cool style is here to stay in my view! Let me know what you think.