From Los Angeles all the way east to New York City.
The Defining Interior Style of These 5 Major American Cities
From Los Angeles all the way east to New York City.
You know when you look at a photo and can tell almost immediately where it’s been shot? The way an image of adobe buildings sprinkled around a desert landscape instantly stands out as New Mexico or a beachside bungalow flanked by palm trees screams Venice in California. There’s something to be said about this kind of signature look, and when it comes to America’s most iconic cities, there are common threads to be found within each interior style.
Ahead, dive into the defining aesthetic of major American cities, from Los Angeles all the way east to New York City. Plus, discover some of our favourite home tours in these epicentres along the way to inspire your next home decor refresh.
1. Los Angeles
A city beloved for its year-round good weather, Los Angeles has an interior style that speaks to the laid back, open-air nature of living. Often dubbed as “California Cool'', a home in LA is likely awash in sunlight, with plenty of plants and natural textures to complement. Take this dreamy Brentwood home, for example, that highlights tactile pieces such as woven baskets and driftwood in a neutral-toned living room that instantly reads zen (the Bed Threads pillows and throws don’t hurt, either).
If you need a few visual cues to start your LA moodboard, bookmark the interior designers the city is best known for. Kelly Wearstler immediately comes to mind, as does newcomer Jake Arnold who has worked with everyone from Katy Perry and Rashida Jones to Chrissy Teigen and Sophia Bush. You can also look to fashion brands such as Jenni Kayne that epitomise California ease with their casual aesthetic, often shot amongst a calm California backdrop. When in doubt, earth tones paired with natural textures and materials are the simplest way to channel the LA design aesthetic.
2. New York City
On the opposite coast sits New York City, known for its world-class culture and historic architecture. And while homes tend to be smaller here than in other cities such as LA or Austin, they make up for it with incredible design sensibilities. In Brooklyn where brownstones abound, interiors often reflect this cosy vibe with details such as original wood flooring, shutter windows, and beautiful crown moulding. In Manhattan and other boroughs such as Queens, you can find both small spaces and larger lofts depending on the character of the neighbourhood.
For example, in this florist and photographer’s charming BK abode, she translates the cottage aesthetic to her interiors with fresh florals, vintage furniture, and lavender-and-lilac-hued linens. Over on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, designer Susan Alexandra takes a rental to new heights with “superficial” upgrades such as covering her kitchen cabinets with coloured contact paper. Ultimately, NYC is full of creatives from all backgrounds and so the interiors are usually defined by an eclectic mix of art and accents, made to fit in unique city spaces.
There's a saying in the state capital of Texas to “Keep Austin Weird,” which trickles down to the interior style of the city through pops of colour and eccentric artwork. Since you’re in Texas, the style often nods to the natural surroundings with aesthetics that elevate the farmhouse look (think wood panelling, open floor plans, and natural textures). There are also industrial influences in the city’s architecture, with metals and concrete coming into play.
Camille Styles's home is one of our favourite tours that epitomises the casual-cool aesthetic of Austin. She stuck to earth colours that reflect her love of the beach and mountains, and built on that with organic textures that translate the contemporary farmhouse feel: raw clay tiles in the bathroom, woven light fixtures, rattan furniture pieces, and wooden cabinetry.
Distinct for its Art Deco influence and sophisticated glam, Miami is a city where splashy colour palettes and tropical fauna thrive. The proximity to the ocean plays a defining role in many home interiors, such as Crown Affairs Founder Dianna Cohen’s waterside abode. Her clean and chic home is layered in calming blue, green, and neutral tones that create a crisp, fresh vibe.
Of course, there are more flamboyant interiors to be found in Miami that speak to the Tropical Decor aesthetic, with playful wallpapers, rattan accent furniture, and bold artwork cementing the look. While this mixing and matching of colour, print, and texture might feel overwhelming in other cities, Miami’s floor-to ceiling windows and bright light create the perfect canvas for an energetic interior style.
World-renowned for its design and architecture, the Chicago skyline is widely regarded as a masterpiece. Naturally, these iconic buildings create the perfect bones for interiors to really shine with details such as exposed brick, visible piping, and massive windows being front and centre. And because these industrial elements often set the tone for Chicago’s interior style, it’s common to spot dark, neutral colour palettes, minimalist lines, and leather furniture in the city’s most cherished spaces.
The ethos of form and function are one is also felt throughout Chicago, with Frank Lloyd Wright having spent the first 20 years of his career there and leaving his mark on the city. This translates to contemporary designs through materials such as concrete flooring or warehouse-style ceilings that can be warmed up with personal touches.