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.

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Fashion Translation: Bohemian Florals

When the word ‘bohemian’ comes to mind, I feel like it can go in one of two directions: bohemian florals or bohemian global. This applies to both fashion and home, so today I want to talk about the floral version of the boho trend. I feel like bohemian florals tend to have an old world, found kind of feeling… sort of like you found a super special gem in your grandmother’s closet or sitting room.

In terms of color, I think picking the right hues is of utmost importance. Darker grounds like burgundy and rich aubergine feel modern when popped with pale pastels and sagey shades of green. I also love when the florals are neutral on neutral, making the statement way less impactful and easily incorporated into any living room or bedroom.

Photo Credit: Erdem Resort 2016 via

Bohemian Florals Shopping Guide:

Surya Kate Spain allium pillow
Nourison julian ruby rug
Nourison Fantasy pale pink rug

The scale of floral motifs is also important, too. I suggest thinking within extremes — either super large scale or smaller scale that covers the entire surface of your rug. The idea is to think of it as an extension of your favorite floral maxi dress for summer; pale colors, bohemian botanicals, and all. Because this look can get quite overpowering, I also urge you to keep the rest of your space fairly neutral. Think of how lovely these rugs would be with a simple linen toss back sofa, some neutral pillows, and black and white photography hanging on the walls!

Photo Credit: Zara lookbook via Fashion Gone Rogue.

Bohemian Florals Shopping Guide:

Jaipur Rugs hacienda rug

Rizzy Home dimensions rug

Safavieh Chelsea rug


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Fashion Translation: Desert Hues

Can you even believe it’s July? I, for one, cannot. It seems like just yesterday I was carrying around an extra sweater to take away the chill in the morning and once the sun goes down for the day… but now the days are longer and the colors are reminiscent of the desert, both in my home and in my wardrobe.

There’s something about desert hues that just feels so right for summer, especially as the months get hotter and longer. Spice tones are a great accent for both fashion and home. When I think of this theme, I’m especially drawn to rope details, kilim patterns, even textural monochromatic neutrals.The vibe is really casual and relaxed, with lots of layering but in a light, airy sort of way. For example, I’d totally pair together both of these great patterned pillows from Surya. Or even asymmetrically layer the oval rope rug over the more pattern-dense kilim. This look is definitely all about the layers.

Photo Credit: Vogue UK via Honestly WTF.

Desert Hue Shopping Guide:

Surya Beth Lacefield Pillow

Surya Candice Olson Pillow

Jaipur Rugs Bedouin rug

Homespice Decor Hudson rug


There’s also something about this trend that feels very bohemian to me, too. Maybe it’s all of the global, vintage-inspired patterns or the dusty, neutral tones, but this is exactly what I envision when I daydream about having a yurt in the middle of Joshua Tree one day.

Photo Credit: Mango via Fashion Gone Rogue.

Desert Hue Shopping Guide:

Karastan Panel Kirman rug

Anji Mountain jute collection rug

Loloi Xavier rug


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Get the Boho Chic Look

Laid-back, flea market-inspired bohemian style is a look that’s easy love, and easy to live with. Think of wicker swing chairs draped in fluffy sheepskin, layered rugs and textiles, and eclectic accessories and artwork. Achieving this look might seem tricky, but it’s actually quite simple, because it’s all about collecting what you love. Building on a base of simple budget basics and hand-me-down furniture, you can easily layer on treasured finds from vintage shops, garage sales, and yes, flea markets, for a unique look that’s all your own.


To break it down, here are a few trademark boho chic “essentials” to keep an eye out for as you are strolling the Sunday flea market (or online marketplace) with your chai latte and french market bag in hand:

-Colorful, ethnic-inspired rugs

-Sheepskins and flokatis

-Vintage wicker and bamboo furniture

-Midcentury modern teak furniture

-Colorful pottery

-Paper lanterns

Textiles in general, and rugs in particular, are key to the boho chic look, so don’t be shy in picking out a bold pattern or color … or two or three!

Rug Shopping Guide: (clockwise from top left) Safevieh Belize Shag rug in ivory; Tayse International Trading Concept rug in teal and taupe; Surya Zahra rug in hot pink and burnt orange; Rugs Direct Gallery Sienna rug in black; Safavieh Kilim rug in pink and ivory; Jaipur Rugs Desert rug in Mojave.

Photo Credits: (from top to bottom) Refinery 29Armelle Habib for Inside Out magazine; SF Girl By BayBrittany Ambridge for Domino magazine.

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