Picture this setting: A flat-roof house with an intriguing door, a few large windows, and a surrounding garden made up of cacti and succulents. Inside, the walls are white stucco, much of the furniture is wood-based, and the overall palette is neutral, but accented by printed textiles, southwest motifs, macrame accessories, and an abundance of botanicals. This is modern desert style in a nutshell.
Born from mid-century modern design, modern desert style is a contemporary spin on the same features and ideals that make the mid-century trend such a staple of interior design. Home to an expansive collection of mid-century modern architecture, this style is celebrated in Palm Springs during Modernism Week; an annual festival that honors the cutting-edge modern designs that emerged in the area throughout the 1940s-60s. With over 100 events and tours devoted to the appreciation and preservation of mid-century modern style, Modernism Week is happening now through February 21st in Palm Springs.
After a brief hiatus during the 70s and 80s, mid-century design reemerged over the past two decades and has been taking over the world of interior design ever since. Stemming from the incredible popularity of desert-based music festivals like Coachella, both fashion and interior design have adopted a unique aesthetic that mixes modernism with a free-spirited, bohemian vibe.
Countless boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and even hotels have popped up all around the world with interiors that take on a modern desert style. The most fashionable individuals have embraced the look in their own homes and it’s become the signature style of well-known interior designers like Emily Henderson and Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors.
The desert landscape in and around Palm Springs is home to a diverse mix of modernism, indigenous history, and distinctive plant life, and when put together in a space, the style is often categorized as bohemian or eclectic, but the mid-century modern aspects cannot be ignored.
With its white stucco and brick walls, Navajo printed textiles, and mid-century decor, the Ace hotel in Palm Springs perfectly exemplifies the modern desert look. A room with a gilded mid-century chandelier or a sconce positioned beside a macrame hanging planter are both items you may find in a modern desert style home. Place a colorful, native printed pillow and a fur throw on top of a pin-legged Eames style chair and the look is made.
Decades after movie stars and producers began relocating to Palm Springs, the modernist style that permeated the area and the desert landscape that inspired artists, architects, and designers alike, is still a booming trend in contemporary times. There’s something irresistible about the bright and lively aesthetic of modern desert style, and with events like Modernism Week and the ever-popular boho-chic trend, it’s safe to say that this eclectic interior look is not going anywhere anytime soon.