Palm Springs is desert oasis town a couple hours from Los Angeles in California. It’s long been the playground of the elite and Hollywood movie stars for weekend escapes in between film shoots. From as early as the 1920s and ’30s, holidaymakers would head out to this palm-thronged haven to soak up the hot springs and dry martinis and bask by the pool. With the silver-screen starlets came their money as architects were enlisted to design luxury holiday homes, which were soon followed by stylish hotels, golf courses and day spas.
Set against a desert background cradled by the mountains, this style is all about elegant mid-century style with a cheeky twist incorporating palm trees, cacti, vibrant gelato colours and a generous splash of Hollywood glam. For many of us, the Palm Springs design trend conjures images of the iconic photography of Slim Aarons capturing poolside parties in desert homes surrounded by the beautiful and bikinied. This decorating style has had a revival in recent years and it’s not hard to understand why.
Incorporating crisp architectural lines, a key element of the style is the seamless transition of indoor and outdoor spaces. Floor-to-ceiling windows and living spaces that open completely to outdoor terraces and swimming pools are trademark, as are the breeze blocks that screen for privacy yet invite in a little wind. As the desert landscape doesn’t have a lot of colour, the use of vivid bursts of sky blues, minty greens, sunburst yellows and flamingo pinks have also come to define the Palm Springs style.
1 Mid-century architecture
2 Lush palms & succulents
3 Seamless indoor–outdoor flow
4 Vibrant pops of colour
5 Metallic & glass accents
You can easily recreate the look in your own indoor and outdoor living areas with the creative use of colour and some bold anchor pieces. Generally the style embraces a backdrop of white on white, yet with the use of plenty of bright pastel hues to make the spaces pop. Consider, for instance, a pastel feature wall or large coloured rug. Be adventurous with your furniture to pair, say, a mid-century sofa suite with some brightly coloured armchairs in velvet. You can easily add colour and texture with cushions, plush throws and mood-setting artworks.
Rich and organic tones and textures are also hugely prevalent in the Palm Springs style, like the stacker-stone surround of a fireplace, porcelain tiled floors, polished brass and dark timber beams or furniture. If you don’t have these mid-century architectural features in your home, capture a similar ambience with dark timber buffet or coffee table to anchor the space. You could even try your luck in secondhand shops to find a vintage accent piece. Keep it eclectic and be brave with your colour selections. Much of what we know and love about these interior-design styles is that it’s a colourful fusion of eras — from the 1920s to the 1970s and beyond — atop a staunch mid-century foundation.
Top if all off with some glamorous touches in the Hollywood genre, like table lamps made of metal and glass, polished brass details and travel souvenirs or miscellaneous talking-pieces picked up from markets or overseas travel. With a big emphasis on outdoor living, hardy plants like palms and succulents have also become trademark of the look. Incorporate plenty of plants both indoors and out to unite the spaces and amplify the holiday vibe.
We’ve got plenty of Palm Springs style furniture and décor online and in your local Early Settler furniture store for you to get the desert chic meets retro glam vibe. With some bright pops of colour, potted palms, velvety finishes and indoor–outdoor flow, you’ll be California dreaming in no time.