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No More Blank or Boring Walls..

Achieving the ‘California Casual’ Style: Wall Art

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After a very long and very wonderful holiday weekend we are back today with another in depth look as to how one is to achieve that “effortless california casual” style as we have dubbed it. And in case you missed where it all began, click through to our intro to the style and where we broke down the key furniture pieces in said style. Today we are moving onto the walls of those stunning rooms that you are seeing all over your feeds and going through which types of pieces work best when trying to achieve this style. And yes, while we get that art is totally subjective to every single person and that you might not want to hang a massive floor to ceiling rope weaving on your living room wall that vaguely resembles an owl like they did in the home below, we wanted to show you all sides of the spectrum when it comes to this style and what exactly works for each category, so let’s get into it.

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Let’s start with woven and textile art. Versions of it have been around in the design game for quite some time, and we have seen versions of this recently popularized with the ‘boho’ trend (should we cover that style next in our breakdowns?). Although when it comes to incorporating this type of art on your walls in the ‘effortless california casual’ look you can get away with a few different styles and opportunities for woven art on the walls besides the ever popular and go-to macrame.

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So below we have rounded up a handful of our favorites. Anything with black, white, and cream are always good contenders, and you will also see some that are mixed with more modern metal elements like #8 and #17 which help them from going to boho and feeling a bit more modern. You also will find some with more graphic patterns, and simple weavings. And if you have a big wall to fill we have got you (and your walls) covered with the large scale items like #4, #5, and #15 which we love for the price and the size.

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1. Hand Woven Black and White Wall Hanging | 2. Mandala Wall Hanging | 3. Penny Woven Macrame Wall Hanging | 4. Jumbo Jute Macrame Wall Hanging | 5. Louise Grey Quilt No. 1 | 6. Woven Wheel Wall Art | 7. Hapao Basket Wall Art | 8. Fringed Wall Art | 9. Large Triple Macrame Wall Hanging | 10. Ojai Fringed Wall Art | 11. Meda Metallic Macrame Wall Hanging | 12. Rossa Woven Wall Hanging | 13. Quiet Noise Wall Hanging | 14. Black Woven Star Basket | 15. Besso Textured Fringe Tapestry | 16. Suncircle Wall Hanging | 17. Edra String Hoop Wall Hanging | 18. Cream Woven Wall Hanging

Up next is framed art. Typically in this design style you find pieces that are large and graphic, with hits of black throughout like the piece below. Framing them in a light wood frame always helps, but is not required (black and white are also acceptable). Yes, you could go out and spend a small fortune on finding an original that is going to fit the bill and probably be worth every penny, but there are so many great prints these days that can also work to achieve the look on a budget.

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If you aren’t into the monochromatic scheme then you could pull in a little bit of color while still keeping it neutral like the print below that has hints of nude and neutral coloring while still being modern and graphic which are a requirement for this style. Another popular type of print that you’ll see below is anything that has landscaping, black and white photography, or anything that feels like you took it with your vintage polaroid camera while visiting Joshua Tree on a meditation retreat with your two young children named Dasher and Meadow – maybe that is a bit too specific but you get the idea. This art is all about evoking that casual and relaxed feel to blend with your light wood furnishings and textured and cozy textiles, so landscapes, seascapes, and graphic abstract photography that is simple all work well.

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1. ‘Dance’ Print | 2. ‘Layered Colors II’ Print | 3. Still II – Black & White | 4. Framed Abstract Paper | 5. ‘Chelsea 01’ Print | 6. ‘Sgraffito 752’ Piece | 7. ‘Lineup ‘ Print | 8. ‘Path of Life’ Print | 9. Seventy Tree Tropical Art Print | 10. ‘Shapes Print 2’ Print | 11. ‘Hovering Union’ Print | 12. ‘Ocean Lullaby’ Print | 13. Joni Majer 1 Art Print | 14. ‘Mountains of the Judean Desert’ Print | 15. ‘Logic of Stripes’ Print | 16. Still I White | 17. Shape Up 3 Collage | 18. ‘Celebration of the Three Graces’ Charcoal Drawing | 19. ‘Quibe Kiss’ Art Print | 20. ‘Oceano’ Print | 21. Framed Faceted Wire Cubes

Next up are mirrors. No “cali casual” room is complete with out at least 1 oversized mirror. And while huge leaning mirrors like the one below have always been popular in this style, if you really want to get the look then an oversized round wall mirror has become ubiquitous to this style.

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Amber Lewis perfectly shows us how to do it below what with that 4 foot wide wall mirror reflecting the cali casual lifestyle in the rest of the room. When it comes to mirrors you will want to steer clear of anything too ornate, carved, or with a lot of detailing. Simple, clean, and refined are key to the mirrors in this category. The size and the large shape will do the talking for the piece so there is no need for any fancy adornments or details on the frame of the mirror. Either a light wood frame, a simple metal frame, or a frameless mirror are great options to get the look.

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I believe this one below from Chrissy McDonald’s entry area is from Target and for the price cannot be beat if you are trying to get the look on a budget, and extra brownie points for have some adorable woven purses and bags styled along row of hooks like she does.

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1. Modern Hanging Mirror | 2. Anni Oversized Wooden Circle Mirror | 3. Fairmount Wide Oval Mirror | 4. Large Sophia Mirror | 5. Acacia Wood Floor Mirror | 6. Round Wood Wall Mirror | 7. Norm Oval Wall Mirror | 8. Averly Mirror | 9. Metal Framed Wall Mirror | 10. Round Captain’s Mirror | 11. Day Mirror | 12. Asymmetrical Wall Mirror | 13. Metal Framed Oversized Round Mirror | 14. Holler Design Mirror | 15. Bentwood Rounded Rectangle Mirror | 16. Stave Mirror | 17. Turn Mirror | 18. Copper Round Mirror

Last but not least, we have three dimensional art. These are the pieces that typically are so unique that they can be used on your wall without having to clutter the rest of the wall space with a bunch of other accessories or art, like that little guy on the left in the picture below.

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This category can get a little out of hand or abstract as you technically could hang a piece of driftwood or a strand of sticks on your wall and call it a day like the below living room, but there are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to three dimensional art.

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Keep it tonal, simple and in a lighter color. It could be accented with black, rope, or wood but anything that feels too bright or colorful doesn’t work well in this look. Michele Quan’s handmade bells below which I used in my old living room (she also makes those simple wood hooks), and have now found a perfect spot for in my new living room (pictures coming soon) are a good example of the three dimensional art that is simple, refined, and so beautiful that it doesn’t need a lot of other stuff going on around it.

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You could also opt for an all wood version in the three dimensional category like these below, that bring in a lot of texture and visual interest without any color and keep things very tonal.

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Here are a few of my favorites at different price points and sizes.

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1. Small Wide Black Striped Bell | 2. Phases Rock and Rawhide | 3. Coiled Hanging Incense Stick | 4. Medium Apple A Mobile | 5. Wall Hanging Wood and Black Metal | 6. Sunrise Wall Hanging | 7. Phases Redgum Eye | 8. Trent Wind Chime | 9. Full Moon Ornament | 10. Small Round Carved Constellation Bell | 11. Crop Circle Metal Mobile | 12. Xixa Bell | 13. Hanging Wall Basket | 14. Indigo Rings Eye Ornament | 15. Ceramic Arrows

So are you into the look? Do you think you could get away with hanging a bushel of sticks on your wall or your more into the framed art? Let us know if you have any questions on how to get the look below and if you have any more resources or artists that we haven’t included in the looks above be sure to link up their sites below so that people can continue to use this post as a resource for this style. Until then I will be staring at my bells and prepping out the roundups for lighting and textiles which we have coming up next.

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  1. Not wild about the “all neutrals” look — way too much beige. I need color. But I do like the mirrors.

    1. Lol – same here. A mirror will reflect the color I have elsewhere in the room:)

      Even though this isn’t my style, I still find a few things in every post that I like. I really go for a “collected” look which means pieces from lots of different styles.

    2. Looooove the look. But would never be able to restrict myself IRL!

      1. This is SO exactly what is going on now that it feel like a parody. It would be really fun if you tried to pin down things that are SO GOOD but completly un-trendy. This is so overdone in my feed that by the time I get in my car and drive to Target and hang a hideous macrame on my wall it will be out of style. I think it already is.

        I do appreciate you’ve stayed away from shiplap. Which I like, but already feels “so 2016” and will remain gorgeous in farmhouses forever, but makes me uneasy every where else. And it is literally every.where.else.

        Where are the designers who are pushing themselves? I’d totally appreciate someone doing brown in a current way, or espresso in a current way, or anything “timeless”. Let’s see some travertine, or NOT a persian rug. I just love insta and pinterest, but I feel it has made the world more generic if possible. Elle Decor and House Beautiful seem to be really mindful of this on their feeds and keep it more mixed than the others.

        1. I swear you just hijacked my entire sentiment about the current state of “decorating”…

          Anyone can copy a “look”. Let’s push some boundaries and make homes more interesting than just pretty.

        2. have you seen Emily’s new home? it is TIMELESS. A lot of the furniture, lighting and details are iconic shapes and styles from decades passed. this thread is simply a “how to” on achieving a very specific style.

          1. I guess I should have clarified…this wasn’t a critique on the post itself, just the style, which is also good, but so copied it has become a joke unto itself. I also think that attempting “timeless” is unique, but not sure if that is entirely possible with the rapid cycling of trends these day – I think that is worthy of discussion. Cement tile for example. A timeless material that is also “very 2017” So will they seem dated in 6 years?….That is all I was bringing up in the conversation. Even colors rapid cycle. Emily herself was ripping on things painted teal. Seems like the only truly timeless things in existence anymore are wood floors, but those often become dated because of plank size, and stain. This is why I love thinking about the “challenge” of mixing dated things with cutting edge things. For example, I think it would be awesome if a designer dared to still use chevron print, but make it current. Or still dared use teal…

        3. have you seen Emily’s new home? it is TIMELESS. A lot of the furniture, lighting and details are iconic shapes and styles from decades passed. this thread is simply a “how to” on achieving a very specific style.

        4. this!

          when something has trickled down to Target and UO its not timeless, its tired.

          1. If you don’t like something, don’t buy it. But a lot of people do like this style right now. Speaking only for myself (and my modest decorating budget), Target is a blessing. I can always find something I like there.

        5. Look at Lauren Liess’ work!! Definitely timeless, non-trendy style.

  2. Thanks for the roundup and all the good ideas. Having lived through the first incarnation of macrame (60s and 70s) and made poor hanging plant holders, that’s my least favorite aspect. Don’t those woven hangings collect a lot of dust?
    I’d like the St. Andrews quilt except for the weird belt through the middle. The mirrors and some of the artwork are my favorites.

    1. Too funny! I grew up in a house decorated with macrame wall hangings made by my mom in the 70s — and I juuuust picked up the new hanging macrame potted plant holders she made me upon request. I love the look of handmade macrame and have never gotten the chance to use it in my own home! (I’m in my late 20s.) Everything eventually comes back around, doesn’t it?

      I can’t stand the choker-as-a-necklace trend I see on a lot of teens and young 20-somethings because I was old enough to participate during the last go-around in the 90s!

      1. *high five* on the choker, and “space buns”! Gwen was doing it before Miley was even born.

  3. I’m loving this series! A big “yes” for boho style being next in line for being broken down.

    1. I second that!
      Yes I love this California casual style dissection series – I very much look forward to a detailed boho series!!
      Yes, yes, yes!

      1. Yes, please! Boho next.

    2. Yaaas! I love the boho style, even though my style is a little bit all over the place. I loved this round up too, reminds me of some of my own art. Keep up the great work!

  4. This is about as far from my style as you can get– I like clutter, colors, blankets, photos, and tons of books– very cozy! But I love learning about different styles, and I really appreciate the lower-priced items in these roundups for when I want to inject a little bit of trendiness into my house. These sort of education-y posts are right up my design-loving alley 🙂

    1. You are my new best friend and maybe online doppleganger. Me too: color, books, and definitely clutter!

  5. “anything that feels like you took it with your vintage polaroid camera while visiting Joshua Tree on a meditation retreat with your two young children named Dasher and Meadow – maybe that is a bit too specific but you get the idea.”
    ^This is hilarious!! Thanks for the sources!

    1. I know! I died! 🙂

  6. I think these are great examples of wall art for this style, but so many of the examples of textile art are from UO, which has a terrible record of stealing designs for art, t shirts, and jewelry from independent artists and not acknowledging them. There are SO many artists on Etsy and similar sites that make gorgeous wall textiles made by hand, which may cost a bit more but, in my view, are well worth it (I know part of the issue is that these posts are meant to show affordable ways to achieve this Cali style, so I get that’s a consideration). Of course, being an unknown indie artist myself, I may be a bit biased… (and on that note, if watercolors are more your thing, I happen to think my jackalope painting goes perfectly with this neutral Cali cool style, with an extra bit of humor… https://www.etsy.com/listing/210444684/fat-jackalope-limited-edition-print)

    1. I love your jackalope!

      1. aw, thanks Bethany! 🙂

    2. I came here to comment the same thing. Textile art and large-scale photos or abstract prints are HUGELY popular right now and there are a ton of actual artists producing them. UO and Target (sorry Emily!) are just selling mass-manufactured copies of what these artists are creating. I know Emily tries to have a mix of artisan and big-box goods, as she always replies to comments like this one, but I thought this post in particular missed the mark.

      1. Yes – I feel like these roundups usually do a great job of mixing smaller artisans with big-box store copies, but this post veered more toward the latter than usual.

      2. Thanks for saying that Jessica! Yes, so true. I’m one of them. 🙂

  7. This is such a fun series! I’m not particularly into this style for my own home, but it’s so helpful to understanding what I’m seeing everywhere! It’s also making it possible to turn Instagram scrolling into an awesome drinking game: Macrame wall hanging! Shot! 😂 Any chance you’d do this for some other styles?

  8. Another resource for stunning three dimensional art is Electric Sun Creatives. My house has too much colour to be effortless Cali casual but I’m still eagerly eyeing off theIr brass wall hangings. http://www.electricsuncreatives.com

    1. Ah lovee these! Thanks for sharing! I’m in the midst of trying to pull together a (very colorful) gallery wall but I’ve been curious about how I could infuse something a little more unique into it. One of these might be the winner. I know I’m biased as I’m an independent artist/designer myself, but I’m trying as hard as I can to only put art in my home that was made by individual makers, so I’m happy to know of new ones!

  9. Legend has it that my mom was the macrame queen in the ’70s. when we visited a long-time-friend in the late 90s and they still had one of her very large creations hanging – complete with giant wooden beads worked into it – i laughed my 17 year old head off, “oh, ew. look how outdated and 70s that is! I can’t believe you made that!” Joke’s on me!

    Actually – I think parts of this style are very hard for me to wrap my head around because of growing up at just the time when this went out of date. The macrame, the wicker, the enormous round things in the top picture that look like owl eyeballs are so close to ducks and geese and country blue on the decorating timeline, that it makes me a little nervous. It’s definitely nice in an updated way. But for me, personally, there is a very very fine line between current and beautiful and old and gross.

  10. I love this series, too, even though it’s not my style at all.

    How about a delving in to maximalism next? I need some color and pattern!

    🙂

    1. Ooh great idea!

    2. I just googled Maximalism. This is what I want!

  11. We’re about to move into a new house and this post is giving me a lot of inspiration. Do you think I can pull it off with two toddlers’ worth of plastic toys? Haha!

    ALSO, I am a ceramic artist who loves making bells and hanging planters. Check out my site here: sarahstearnsceramics.com

    1. I love your butter dishes! They give me a warm fuzzy, like my mother’s Hadley and Hallelujah pottery ….

      1. Thanks so much!

    2. LOVE your bells !!

      I am asking my husband if I can have a delayed birthday gift…

  12. I’m really loving the detail and specifics in this series! I’d love to see more styles done this way!!

    Maybe a boho, collected, modern, traditional (I really don’t know what that means nowdays btw)…etc

    Anyway keep doing these, they are awesome!

  13. I thought for sure you would include this round brass mirror from Target that’s on sale for only $44! Not quite as oversized, but it’s such a steal and it looks awesome IRL: https://www.target.com/p/round-mirror-brass-28-threshold/-/A-50301089

    1. Oh snap! Thanks for posting about the Target mirror! I just snatched it up!

    2. YES! I was just coming here to post that mirror. Every time I look at it in my house, I can’t believe I paid so little for it and love it as much as I do.

    3. I have this mirror and it looks GREAT for the price!

  14. Emily, I’d love to know which elements of this style do you think will be timeless versus trendy? I almost bought a textile wall hanging last week, but I stopped because I thought I would regret it later. I really try to be intentional when I’m buying things for my home and make choices that will last and be timeless. Love your work!

    1. Great question, I agree. I almost did the same thing, I was going to buy a wall hanging for above my bed from Target.

    2. I think the fact that you thought you would later regret it is indication you made the right choice (not to purchase). If you see one which makes your heart sing and you’ll be sad if you don’t have it, that’s an indication as to timelessness. When it’s personal (and provenance has nothing to do with it — high or low) and chosen with affection you will love it a long time!

    3. Agree! I’d love to have more insight about this, too.

    4. I am so with you. I do love this look but I feel it’s on the way out – then no one will want their UO/Target repro macrame anymore. And that makes me really sad. I’m a sucker for trends as much as the next person, but it troubles me to think what happens to all that stuff when those trends go out of fashion.

  15. I love the mirrors from Blu Dot. I have the drop shape in my entryway. The size and shape are perfect and the walnut peg is a nice touch. It was a splurge for me even on sale but I love it. http://www.bludot.com/modern-accessories/modern-mirrors.html

  16. So I enjoy the vibe of the “California Casual” and the posts are nice, well composed, good information, lots of options. But….. It seems like a lot of California Casual all at once. It would be nice to break it up with different styles in between, because being over here on the East Coast, I’m not getting a ton from these posts. Again, great content and I love seeing something different and thinking outside my comfort zone, but its been quite a bit of this lately. For me. Love you guys!

  17. I absolutely love this. -I wonder why mirrors are so darn expensive? I’ve been looking for a smallish round one with a wood frame for weeks, and they’re all over $200. No way!

  18. I am obsessed with your bells! I can’t wait to go and check out MQuan’s website and do some serious damage. All of her stuff is so beautiful.

  19. Love this round up and this soothing vibe. I would also add any work by artist Karine Leger to the mix, particularly if you should win the lottery.
    http://karineleger.ca/fr/karine-leger-artiste-visuel.php

  20. Thank you for all of the detailed info. Your blog is a dream.
    My question is about all of the vintage art/paintings that we see in nearly all of these “cali casual” home reveals. WHERE do we find these infamous vintage paintings that perfectly accents a gorgeous wooden console? Fleas? eBay? Etsy? I’ve searched but I guess I’m in need of a direction, a keyword (other than ‘vintage’), anything that could steer me in the right direction.
    Again, I adore your work….keep it up!! <3

  21. Serena and Lily has a lot of this type of style (the mirrors, art, etc.) although they are expensive. My feelings on this style are “that looks nice” when I see it in pictures but its not what I want for my home. It’s a bit vanilla. I think there are certain elements I’d like but mixed with other styles. It’s not a bad look, just doesn’t quite excite me like some other styles. Emily, what I think you do so well is take various styles, like this, and put your own spin on it, but its never boring.

  22. I am living and breathing with these California Casual posts. We are updating our bedroom right now, and I have referenced the previous two posts from this series more than you know! I LOVE this style! My favorite aspect of this blog is how informative it is. Each blog post is mini interior design lesson, so incredible. Thank you for the wonderful content day after day!

  23. Keep these posts coming! Need bed linens in this style.

  24. Thank you for including my print “Lineup” in this mix! Even on the East Coast this “California Casual” style is perfect (especially on Nantucket) and I can’t wait to pick my favorites from this series of roundups! XO

  25. Love these posts! Would love to see something like eclectic with mid-century vibes as the next breakdown if that makes any sense… haha 🙂

  26. LOVE this!! Thank you for doing these round ups! Excited to see light and textiles next. This is def the look we are starting to go for in our house – always helpful to see these all together at different price ranges!

  27. I need to know more about the round wood coffee table in image 5?!? Any ideas on source?? thanks!

  28. THANK YOU thank you for this whole series. I love it! I’ve been feeling mixed about it — love it but not sure I could live that way. I’m letting it inspire me to move forward with a way that works for my family but definitely don’t want to copy it to try to be cool. Thank you!

  29. I was really hoping that Michele Quan was Michelle Kwan.

    1. ME TOO!!!!!!

  30. We’re moving in a few weeks and I’m loving all this decor inspo!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  31. I get it and I believe you that this is popular in California but I think it is just about the most boring style ever. I don’t want to spend any sort of time in any of these homes. I feel like the people who live there must smell badly.

    1. They might smell bad (although I doubt it) but if they smell badly (an adverb, not an adjective), it means their noses don’t work well.

      1. This was informative and made me giggle

  32. love this series! will you be doing a post like this for lighting, rugs and accessories?

  33. Great inspiring post! I am more into classic framed art, but I really love some of that three dimensional art! If you need more inspiration and resources check out this site
    https://society6.com/sierraf31?curator=sierraf31
    XO
    Anna From Italy

  34. This isn’t my personal style but I don’t even care, these posts are super fun! It’s like a peek into your designer brain. Would love if this became a series.

  35. This is not my style, but I love some of the items you have curated, and can totally use some of them in my home. I enjoy seeing all the roundups for inspiration and understanding of various decorating styles. Thanks for such a thorough job!

  36. I love that hanging wall basket from Mexico. Am I crazy? Would you just hang it empty or would you put something in it? Sorry severely decor challenged over here.

  37. Love this! I try not to do anything trendy (because I can’t keep up with trends😅) so I won’t be buying anything macrame but all the rest of it looks so clean and calm and fresh. I just realized I am channeling my cool mom’s vibe. I love that you are showing me how to get it done in a modern way. You rock!

  38. I would LOVE to see a round up like this with your current house as inspiration!

  39. I like the way you broke it down. I’m wondering if this will ever go out of style. I hope not. It is so calm and peaceful and I have always liked art filled white spaces!

  40. Where are the designers who are pushing themselves? I’d totally appreciate someone doing brown in a current way, or espresso in a current way, or anything “timeless”. Let’s see some travertine, or NOT a persian rug. I just love insta and pinterest, but I feel it has made the world more generic if possible. Elle Decor and House Beautiful seem to be really mindful of this on their feeds and keep it more mixed than the others.

  41. And yes, while we get that art is totally subjective to every single person and that you might not want to hang a massive floor to ceiling rope weaving on your living room wall that vaguely resembles an owl like they did in the home below, we wanted to show you all sides of the spectrum when it comes to this style and what exactly works for each category, so let’s get into it.