Style profile: California modern

You didn’t think I’d only be talking about one design style this month, did you?

I’ve picked out a few different ones and scattered them out over the next couple of weeks, because there’s just so much that can be accomplished in Final Fantasy XIV’s housing. But today, I’m going to share one of my absolute favourite styles: California modern.

What is California modern?

California modern is a relatively casual style that comes from the bigger modern rustic style. It’s all about achieving a balance between comfy and classy, and it’s got just enough of an eclectic vibe that it’s incredibly easy and approachable for any level of designer.

Fun fact: You might recognize this style from a few of my recent builds!

What are the core elements of California modern?

Comfort: California modern is as easygoing as the state it’s named after, so its first order of business is comfort! Though you’ll often see highly modern lines and styles in California modern spaces, they’re usually combined with fabrics, finishes, and tones chosen for their comfy levels.

Rustic vibes: It doesn’t quite reach the point of driftwood everywhere, but California modern certainly has some raw elements. Its rustic roots often come through in features like raw or lightly finished wood, soft tones, and an emphasis on the outdoors. It also likes to feature more unique decor and furniture, and lends itself well to its designer’s own taste.

High-contrast neutrals: One unique feature of California modern is that its palettes often focus on neutral colour palettes that use a lot of contrast. Much like modern farmhouse, you’ll typically see a lot of bright whites and light greys with black accents.

How to use California modern design in FFXIV

Much like Japandi, California modern is a relatively flexible style, so it can be incredibly easy to apply to builds in FFXIV. Its biggest advantage here is that it does have plenty of room for customization, and it loves to help you express yourself!

Think about what feels comfy to you.

This style is all about comfort, so before you start building, think about what spells comfort for you. It could be certain textures, styles of furniture, or even the layout of your rooms! For example, for me, this usually means light tones, a mid-tone natural wood, and lots and lots of natural light.

Oh, and lots and lots of soft surfaces. So you can imagine how much I loved the new matching cushions!

Look for ways to incorporate your own taste.

The thing about California modern is that, unlike many design styles, it’s more of a set of guidelines than anything else. It pretty much wants you to go out there and make it your own, and for that, it leaves a lot of room for your favourite knick-knacks. Personally, I love adding in things like the yarn basket, various glass jars, and other trinkets that look like what I’d really have around my home.

For a bonus, make sure these are your favourite colour! They don’t need to match your high-contrast neutrals perfectly.

Choose your colours wisely⁠—and apply contrast sparingly.

California modern uses a lot of bright light colours, and will often mix in some natural wood tones for good measure. It also is known for its use of black for stark contrast, as I mentioned earlier—but the key with this palette is to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

Save your contrast colours for key areas that you want to highlight. Maybe you want to draw attention to a window, so you make the frame a darker tone. Or maybe you’ve got a unique accent piece or wall that you don’t want people to miss.

These are actual dyes from FFXIV, too. From left to right, they’re shale brown, snow white, soot black, pure white, gobbiebag brown, and ash grey. Though pure white typically looks much cleaner for this kind of build, it can be pretty expensive—so snow white is a great alternative.

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