Modern Desert Interior Design: How to Bring the Outdoors Inside

Desert interior design is an earthy style that uses colors and materials native to the United States’ deserts. It’s similar to Southwestern interior design but with a more streamlined look.

If you prefer nature-inspired decor and enjoy uncluttered spaces, modern desert interior design is a good fit – and you don’t need to live in the southwest to enjoy it. Here’s how to get the look.

The History of Desert Style Interior Design

Characteristics of Modern Desert Interior Design

Desert-style interior design originates in the southwestern United States. Rather than being a style accredited to a period or single designer, it comes from settlers who made homes using local materials. 

The first immigrants in the US desert regions came from Spain and Mexico and used traditional adobe methods to construct homes. These houses had a sun-baked look, and dwellers decorated the interior with local materials, which included leather, clay, and wood.

Today’s desert style has a more minimal and modern look. Architects build desert homes with the view in mind, which also inspires the interior. So while the same earth-toned colors are abundant, furnishings are sleek, and rooms are uncluttered. 

What is Boho Desert Decor?

Boho desert decor is a fusion of the two styles – desert and bohemian. The style features neutral colors and lots of texture. For example, a boho desert bedroom might incorporate a macrame hanging planter with a vining plant, light wood floors, a cane headboard, and warm-colored bedding. It combines the funner style of boho with the calming tones and textures of desert home decor.

Characteristics of Modern Desert Interior Design

Modern desert interior design is a mix of modern and rustic. Here are the elements of desert decor.

A Warm Neutral Color Palette

The base color palette for modern desert interior design includes whites, sandstone, and greige. Accent colors include terracotta red, cacti green, warm orange, and yellow. Any color you can find in the desert or sunset is an appropriate tone for your interior.

Natural Finishes

Desert interior designs often boast wooden ceiling beams, stucco or stone fireplaces, and stone countertops. Typical floor finishes include hardwoods, stone or clay tile, or concrete. A mixture of natural finishes establishes a nature-inspired room and adds texture without clutter.

Modern Furniture with Clean Lines

While southwestern interior design relies on oversized leather sofas, the furniture in desert interior design is sleek. Look for simple furniture in neutral colors. You can search for “modern” or “minimal” furniture online to find suitable options. But be sure that whatever pieces you choose work with your color palette. 

Add Texture Through Rugs, Pillows, and Accessories

Desert interior design is texture-rich. You can achieve this by layering in rugs, throw pillows, and lamps of different fabrics. For example, consider a simple geometric, southwestern, or jute rug—also, layer in neutral pillows with different patterns and materials.

Decorate with Greenery

Succulents and cacti play a significant role in desert decor. They’re also easy to care for, making them appropriate even if you have a black thumb.

Add Abstract and Geometric Artwork

While modern desert decor is minimal, you can still add artwork. A typical wall hanging is a simple abstract or geometric print. The artwork can be neutral or add a pop of color to the space.

Keep Your Home Minimal and Uncluttered

A key theme of this style is minimal beauty. Keep clutter pared down and flat surfaces, like tables and counters, cleared off. Edit out your excess furniture and decor.

Examples of Desert Interior Design

Here are some examples of modern desert interior design.

Modern Desert Living Room

Modern Desert Living Room
Lion Builder Construction Inc

Everything in this living room is neutral and easy on the eyes. The furniture is minimal, but several different textures give the space a sense of warmth.

Modern Desert Kitchen

Modern Desert Kitchen
Dane Cronin Photography

The designer chose a rustic wooden-base cabinet with modern, light-toned wood opened shelves. The mixture of rustic and contemporary gives this room an earthy look, while the clay pottery acts as functional decor.

Boho Desert Bedroom

Boho Desert Bedroom
Joybird Furniture

The boho style mixes well with the desert decor since they share many common traits. In this bedroom, the light wood bed, great use of texture, and greenery play together for a boho desert-inspired room.