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Welcome to another installment of Style School, in which we explore the origins and defining elements of different regional aesthetics. Our topic today is the fun and frivolous mid century decorating, for which Palm Springs style is known. It's an decor approach that has gained steam in recent years thanks to designers like Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler, but when overdone it can become kitschy. Let's break it down into bite-sized pieces.
Palm Springs has a long history as a resort destination. In the first half of the 20th century, it hosted travelers in search of the arid climate and the area's hot springs. As the Hollywood scene grew in the 1930's—and especially in the years after World War II—the town became known for its glamorous hotels and luxe leisure offerings. At the same time, modernist architects including Richard Neutra were drawn to the striking environs and open-ended possibilities of desert development. In short, the Palm Springs sensibility juxtaposes the extravagant mood of an oasis retreat with the spare, subdued lines and textures of the surrounding sands.
Get the Palm Springs style by incorporating these key influences taken from mid century decorating. Keep coffee tables, seating, and other furniture low like the horizon. When it comes to color, build a foundation with neutrals such as stone and sand, then accent with vacation hues like pool blue and mimosa yellow. Finally, mid century inspired lighting has a huge impact; one or two ceramic gourd lamps go a long way towards bringing the look home.
Next week we'll at another regional decorating style, and be sure to check out last week's Style School on Farmhouse Modern and The Hudson River Valley!
Shopping Guide: 1. Arteriors Home Lacquered Wood Console 2. Midcentury Ceramic Gourd Lamp 3. Polished Nickel Drum Side Table 4. Striped Jute Rug 5. Midcentury Modern Linen Chair 6. Beige Contemporary Rug 7. Fringe Down Pillows 8. Bamboo Parquet Coffee Table
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