Dream Big and Treat your Home to a Californian Makeover!

Where do you take inspiration from when it comes to your home decor?

Do you look at magazines? Maybe you go window shopping on the high street or the internet? Or perhaps you look at blogs and places like Pinterest to collate your ideas and inspirations.

Like me, maybe you create your own home look from a combination of them all, as well as looking at real homes and real places.

I think one of the best ways you can gather inspiration for your home interiors is from your day-to-day surroundings. Drawing on the environment, culture and society to create an interior design can be powerful, individual and very personal. And I’m sure lots you of you do it without even realising.

If you’re not sure how this can work, here are some examples of what I mean.

The Inspiration:

Ok, so firstly you need to be inspired by a place or area. Perhaps a significant event strikes a chord with your creative side, and you want to be reminded on a daily basis of this wonderful time. For me that would be our honeymoon just over a decade ago in California. Wow, what a few weeks we experienced, creating stunning memories that have remained with me constantly over the years.

We visited the amazing Yosemite National Park, and experienced nature at its finest. We took picture after picture (not digital I hasten to add) of the wonderful surroundings, waterfalls, ancient high sequoias, valleys, meadows and wilderness.

Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.


We drove the Highway along the coast and saw immense wind farms, towns such as Clint Eastwood’s Carmel, all the way up to Monterey and its wonderful Monterey Bay Aquarium.

We visited San Francisco twice so we could take in the incredible Gay Parade, and the truly stunning Fourth of July celebrations.

We shopped, we ate (boy did we eat!), rode trams, and saw California Sea Lions, but really only experienced a fraction of this incredible state.

There’s lots of inspiration there, but in the time we had we really didn’t do the whole state justice. What else would I discover if money and time were unlimited, to help me create my Californian inspired interior decor?

Dream Big Californian Home Style:

So, if the sky was the limit, what would I do in California to bring me the perfect inspiration for my interior decor and home style. Oh, the choices are incredible, and even though we have the children to consider now, there are still an amazing array of family friendly ideas.

Yosemite National Park:

I would definitely revisit Yosemite; we really didn’t do it justice last time. I want to go on an Ansell Adams trail and discover all of the places he photographed. If you don’t know, Ansell Adams is a renowned photographer who spent much of his career photographing the stunning scenery in Yosemite, usually in black and white. We have a copy of the ‘Cathedral Spires and Rocks’ print and it sits on our den wall alongside other modern prints. It has sentimental significance too, as it belonged to my departed mother-in-law.

Ansel Adams inspirationAll Images from anseladams.com

I love the idea of taking the girls on one of these trails, ending in Yosemite. We would get to experience a Hyde Street Cable car, the Jelly Belly factory tour, museums, Hilmar Cheese Company and wonder at some of the world’s largest, oldest trees in Mariposa Grove. What an experience, and what incredible inspiration.

Yosemite gives us beautiful scenery, colours and light; all important elements to incorporate into any interior decor, but the rest of California is pretty inspirational too!

Best of the Rest:

From Hollywood to San Francisco to Napa Valley and the wild Northern Coast, you can’t help but be drawn into the colours, vibrancy and warmth of the Golden State. Visiting these places, if money were no object, would offer such incredible inspiration for any home decor.

California inspirationAll Images from visitcalifornia.com

Bringing it Home:

When I look at these Californian images, I see colour, light, vastness, vibrancy, excitement, and diversity. All amazing elements that can be the basis of your home decor, Californian style. But how would you do that, and what would it look like?

Well, here are some ideas based upon California Home and Design’s Showhouse in Hollywood taken from an Apartment Therapy House Tour. A huge property, with each room designed by a different interior designer. For me, these images capture the essence of California and encapsulate it into decor. What do you think?

CA Home Inspiration

CA Contemporary Home

Californian home

I love the contemporary styling, the eclectic collections, the bright colours, and the rich hues. This kind of styling isn’t for the faint hearted, you need to think big and be brave with your choices. But the end results are s0 worth it. Much like your experiences of California.

So that’s my Big Dream. To tour California, taking in some of the most amazing sites, incredible scenery, and exhilirating experiences it has to offer. Let’s not forget Legoland, Disneyland and Whale Watching!!

And don’t forget, when you’re styling your home, Dream Big too. Think more creatively than you ever have before, bring new elements into your plan, and push your boundaries. Remember, if it doesn’t work you can always paint over it and start again!

This is my entry into the Visit California Bloggers’ Competition.

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an interiors writer and blogger and has an insatiable love of home style and decor

Find me on: Web


  1. Penny A Residence
    July 18, 2014 / 10:56 am

    Oh I love the idea of using places as inspiration in the home as you know! The den is Moroccan and the Living room has gone quite Greek. I love the bright colours, i think my home could do with more of that energy! i love the Adams photos too, great idea.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:35 pm

      I love that mix of styles Penny, very colourful!

  2. Antonia Ludden
    July 18, 2014 / 1:02 pm

    What an amazing honeymoon you must have had! I’ve been to the USA several times and have family over in Connecticut, I’ve stayed in New York, Boston, Miami and the Keys, but never California. My parents have been to Yosemite and it blew their mind πŸ™‚ Great home inspiration, as always πŸ™‚

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:36 pm

      It was stunning Antonia, sounds like you’ve had great adventures too though.

  3. Katie Albury
    July 18, 2014 / 6:00 pm

    What a great idea, I’d never thought of taking places I’d traveled (or hope to someday) for home inspiration…but if I did I’d love to style our home like a California beach house. I’ve never been before but would absolutely love to one day…! Your honeymoon sounded fantastic, I can see why you’d want to go back as a family and create memories with the girls back in the place where your new life together first began. Fab post! x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:37 pm

      Thanks Katie, I think you’ve said it better than me, that’s exactly what I’d like to do x

  4. Miriam
    July 19, 2014 / 1:07 pm

    I love the bold colours!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:38 pm

      They’re really inspiring aren’t they Miriam!

  5. Helen Neale
    July 19, 2014 / 3:07 pm

    Your honeymoon must have been wonderful – I have always wanted to visit Yosemite and this has hardened my resolve even more! Now what to do with the kids πŸ˜‰ xx

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:39 pm

      You must go Helen, it’s life changing!

  6. Manneskjur
    July 19, 2014 / 5:35 pm

    Such colours – I love this Jen, inspires me for my impending extension! x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:39 pm

      Aah thanks Annie, hope you blog your extension!

  7. Trish
    July 19, 2014 / 7:46 pm

    This is a much better way of taking home souvenirs from your holidays – take inspiration instead, especially when there’s no space in the luggage. We seem to be influenced by Scandinavia at the moment: brings those happy memories back home.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:40 pm

      Such a good point Trish, a lovely way to look at it!

  8. becky
    July 20, 2014 / 7:44 am

    OOh good luck Jen I adore Ansel Adams photos too

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:41 pm

      Thanks so much Becky, I thought you might πŸ™‚

  9. otilia
    July 20, 2014 / 2:37 pm

    you know i never thought about home decor like that. I choose simple and child proof at the moment but the colours above are just beautiful!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:42 pm

      Child proof is good Otilia, and essential! Thanks x

  10. Cass Bailey
    July 20, 2014 / 7:28 pm

    Ooh I love that last photo especially.

    I’m currently working through my house room by room and giving it a bit of a colour injection so this is fab inspiration x x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:43 pm

      It’s beautiful isn’t it Cass, glad you like it

  11. Jane
    July 21, 2014 / 12:19 am

    The colours are incredible, I wish I could design rooms like this

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:44 pm

      Thanks Jane, the colours are great inspiration aren’t they.

  12. Amanda
    July 21, 2014 / 10:11 am

    It’s on my list of places to see too!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:45 pm

      Oh you must go Amanda!

  13. Lucy
    July 21, 2014 / 11:03 am

    I just love the California style. Cool post.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:45 pm

      Thanks Lucy, back atcha x

  14. Emma
    July 21, 2014 / 7:56 pm

    Ooooh, I love California! What a great place to use for home inspiration!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:46 pm

      It sure is Emma, thanks so much x

  15. Polly Davies
    July 22, 2014 / 5:20 pm

    what a great idea for decorating! I’d love to visit California, my big brother lives in Pasadena!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 22, 2014 / 9:47 pm

      Thanks Polly, hope you get to go at some point x

  16. Lori
    July 22, 2014 / 11:08 pm

    This would totally be my inspiration too! i love all the vibrancy and colours, and all the raw earth and rock. Beautiful selection. x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 12:29 pm

      Thanks Lori, glad to find another colour lover πŸ™‚

  17. Jenny Paulin
    July 23, 2014 / 11:03 am

    ooooh some fab ideas here to inspire home decor! your honeymoon sounds just amazing and I would love to go on a road trip around America and taking in the coastal areas including California one day!! good luck in the comp x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 12:29 pm

      It’s been lovely to spend time thinking about our honeymoon Jenny, seems so long ago!

  18. Helen Actually...
    July 23, 2014 / 11:07 am

    What a lovely idea! It’s the colours that get me – so reminiscent of my first ever road trip πŸ™‚

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 12:30 pm

      Thanks Helen, everyone needs a bit of colour in their life πŸ˜‰

  19. Coombemill
    July 23, 2014 / 12:27 pm

    You can really see the inspiration behind the finished look. All looks wonderful and so colourful which I love.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 12:31 pm

      Thanks Fiona, glad it all hangs together πŸ™‚

  20. Sim
    July 23, 2014 / 3:45 pm

    I take my inspiration from anywhere – I am terrible. Though alas, I still have not updated my home! What I would love to do to my house, I unfortunately cannot as with a 5 year old and a dog who liked to jump on my sofa… my dream of a new sofa is far away! I do love the colour duck egg blue… such a stunning, simple colour!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 12:32 pm

      It’s good to know that there’s inspiration all around us! Good luck with the sofa! πŸ™‚

  21. Fritha
    July 23, 2014 / 6:04 pm

    oh wow! what a great place to go on your honeymoon! I think we are going to go to Paris again even though we went a few months ago as there is so much I want to do that’s not kiddo friendly and I’m not sure when we’d ever had a kiddo free op again! x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 12:33 pm

      You’ve so got to take the opportunity to explore if you have some child free time. Paris will be amazing! x

  22. Carolin
    July 23, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    I love the bright colours of California. The Yosemite style is a little to plain for me, but if you mixed both styles up and created a bright orange stag head, that would be really cool…

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 3:03 pm

      LOL, I love that idea Carolin!!

  23. Gill Crawshaw
    July 23, 2014 / 11:12 pm

    Oh, love this idea of being inspired by your surroundings and places you love! We’re nearly finished on all the boring bits of our house renovations so are moving on to the fun bits (decorating, obviously) so this has given me lots to think about x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 3:02 pm

      Fantastic Gill! I love it when the boring bits are done! πŸ™‚

  24. Vicky
    July 25, 2014 / 4:12 pm

    What great inspiration photos – I love the one with the collaged walls and the aztec rug; so quirky and eclectic!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 2:59 pm

      I think there’s a little bit of something for everyone isn’t there? A bit like California!!

  25. Pinkoddy
    July 27, 2014 / 12:03 pm

    What a great idea. I tend to get my inspiration from Ikea if I am honest. Now I am going to make more of an effort to take a look around.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 2:58 pm

      Ooh don’t knock Ikea Joy, their designs have been inspiring others for years πŸ™‚

  26. Nicky Wells
    July 28, 2014 / 10:58 am

    I love the bold colours and stripes of the Californian inspired rooms.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 2:57 pm

      Those stripes are my favourite too Nicky ;)Thanks for commenting x

  27. Jaime Oliver
    July 28, 2014 / 12:23 pm

    wow Jen some utterly stunning ideas here, i love the breadth of colours and if i am honest i love the fact that things that i would not have dreamed of putting together seem to work so beautifully x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 2:57 pm

      Fantastic! Thanks Jaime, so glad to have offered some inspiration πŸ™‚

  28. Andrea
    July 28, 2014 / 12:33 pm

    Love the way you have combined so many things to come up with your inspiration – I am useless at interior design, but love reading blog post for ideas πŸ™‚

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 2:56 pm

      Thank you Andrea, I’m sure you’re not you know πŸ˜‰ x

  29. Hannah Ashton
    July 28, 2014 / 1:19 pm

    I have been lucky to have visited California a few times with and without children. It is the most amazing state. It has so many different experiences available to you. On one day we woke in Yosemite (in a tent) having been stranded there for a few days due to flooding and then drove to Kernville. The tent dried in seconds, it was so hot. The enormity of the area and the quiet roads are a breath of fresh air. On our last trip we went to Sequioa national park. We stayed over night in the park which allowed us to set off early and capture the early morning sun streaming through the trees near General Grant. What I love most in our house is light. My favourite room is the dining room. It has east and south facing windows so we get the sun until the late afternoon. My house has been mainly influenced by the coast/ sea. Having been brought up on the Isle of Wight it is unsurprising! I’m looking forward to what will inspire me in our next house.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 2:55 pm

      The enormity of the area struck me too Hannah, such vast spaces and stunning views. It’s made me quite emotional looking back on it all now nearly a decade later! x

  30. Mari
    July 28, 2014 / 2:08 pm

    Oh my goodness we went to Yosemite too in 2006 and it was amazing. I loved California, the colours, the variety and the wine of course!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 28, 2014 / 2:54 pm

      That made me smile Mari πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting x

  31. Mary Keynko
    July 28, 2014 / 3:05 pm

    I’d love to visit Yosemite! My parents went some years ago and their pictures are amazing. I love the very special light you get in the wilderness and mountains, nothing else quite like it!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 29, 2014 / 9:15 am

      You’re so right Mary, it’s wonderful how so many people have shared their experiences of Yosemite and California πŸ™‚

  32. Karen Jones
    July 28, 2014 / 5:37 pm

    wow, wonderful post and what a wonderful place it must be to visit. Must try and think past Florida if we ever get the opportunity to go to America again.

    You have inspired me xx

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 29, 2014 / 9:14 am

      Thanks Karen, hope you get to go back soon x

  33. Liz Burton
    July 28, 2014 / 6:15 pm

    Oh wow I can completely see why it inspired you. Fingers crosses for you. If you get to go again just think of the treasures you could come back with for your home!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 29, 2014 / 9:14 am

      Oh I’ve already got a plan Liz! x

  34. Janie
    July 28, 2014 / 7:34 pm

    Oh I love this…thank you so m ugh form the inspiration, we visited California 2 years ago & instantly fell in love with the place. I will definitely be inspired to bring some of those memories into our new home we are currently renovating…..

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 29, 2014 / 9:13 am

      That sounds wonderful Janie, good luck with the renovations x

  35. Patricia Smith
    July 28, 2014 / 7:59 pm

    Wow, fantastic inspirational pictures. The light, bright colours and space fantastic. Bringing the outside in….fabulous.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 29, 2014 / 9:12 am

      Thanks so much! Glad to have inspired πŸ™‚

  36. Catherine Hughes
    July 28, 2014 / 9:01 pm

    What a brilliant way to make the feel of a holiday last when you come home! We drove down the Big Sur coast 9 years ago and from all the amazing memories of that holiday the one that I always come back to is the quality of the light – I’d love to somehow recreate it in my home. Like you Jen we only scratched the surface and can’t wait to go back πŸ™‚

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 29, 2014 / 9:12 am

      Yes, there’s something about the light isn’t there. Such fabulous memories, thanks for commenting Catherine x

  37. Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer
    July 28, 2014 / 10:14 pm

    I once worked in LA and travelled around California a bit. Have never fogotten Laguna Bay and still have prints of whales and dolphins that completely dictate the theme of a room! I would love to go back and congratulate you on this post. It’s wonderful to be so inspired!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 29, 2014 / 9:11 am

      Sounds wonderful Anya, you’re already doing it!

  38. Michelle
    July 28, 2014 / 10:45 pm

    Brilliant!!! You’ve made me want a holiday in California and inspired me to redecorate the house!! Love your ideas and reading your blogs. Fab!!! πŸ™‚

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 29, 2014 / 9:10 am

      Thanks so much Michelle, lovely to see you here! xx

  39. Domestic Goddesque
    July 30, 2014 / 10:04 am

    We do a lot of home exchanges so I get some great decorating ideas form staying in other peoples’ homes. It’s natural to want to take something back with you to remind you of an awesome adventure. Pity you can’t bring the weather: when we were in Arizona two years ago it was baking hot. I could do with some of that today.

  40. Detox Girl
    May 29, 2015 / 1:54 pm

    i have lived for 6 months in California and I must say it is the best place on EARTH!!!

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