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Nail the Look: Desert Modern

A little bit midcentury, a touch bohemian, and a whole lot of warm Southwest texture and textiles makes up this popular look. If your dream home is a cool adobe in Joshua Tree with a pottery studio out back, you’re in the right place. Read on for interior inspiration and practical get-the-look tips to bring desert modern style home, no matter where you live.


Emily Henderson

Furniture: This is where the modern in desert modern comes in. Think vintage mid-century modern pieces in warm wood tones, like the bookshelf shown here. Sofas and chairs with simple, straight shapes work well, as do campaign furniture (like the folding leather stool seen here) and woven pieces.

Accessories: A few small accent pieces can go a long way towards creating a great desert modern look. Poke around in thrift shops, mineral stores, and antique fairs for hunks of crystal, cool rocks, and vintage pottery. Use your finds to perk up bookshelves, hold down a stack of papers on your desk, or add interest to your coffee table.


Design Sponge

Textiles: Bring warmth to simple, clean-lined modern pieces (like the sofa and pendant light shown here) with rich, colorful, southwest-inspired textiles. A great big rug in the living room is a great way to ground the space and set the color palette.


Style Me Pretty

Lighten up: What sets desert modern style apart from straight-up southwest or desert style is a lighter touch. Instead of bringing in lots of heavy, rustic wood furniture and painting the walls in earth tones, lighten things up with airy wire furniture legs, crisp white walls, and delicate vases of flowers.


Apartment Therapy

Cultivate your desert garden: Thankfully, cacti and succulents make excellent houseplants no matter where you live! Bring in little terracotta or handmade pots and fill them with a variety of cacti to create your own mini-southwestern indoor garden. Don’t have a green thumb? Consider picking up an art print or photo featuring desert-inspired plant motifs instead.

Desert Modern Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Surya Scion Tribal rug; Safavieh Aspen rug; Rizzy Home Tumble Weed Loft rug; Nourison Tribal Decor rug in red.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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