Mid-Century Modern Design Tips from West Elm’s Palm Springs House

Leave it to West Elm to revamp a 1970s Palm Springs mid-century hideaway in a show-stopping modern style that you can emulate. (And did we mention it’s also a rental?)

Kathryn O'Shea-Evans
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Be Bright from the Start

An unexpected pop of color at your front door or entry says “I’m here to play,” especially in a vacation home. Here, the West Elm team selected a turquoise that matches the blue of the pool and provides a dose of happy verve that’s necessary against all those exterior clean lines.
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Update the Mid-Century Motif

Joey Kell, West Elm associate store manager, was the lead interior designer on this project—and was sure to give it an au-courant edge, even for Palm Springs. “The whole idea was to keep it more on the Palm Springs aesthetic, special and elevated, and still remain true to the Palm Springs lifestyle,” Kell says. Here, that meant selecting an effervescent West Elm Frameless Asymmetrical Wall Mirror and unexpected Ombre Batik Rug.
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Think Rich

Just because you’re in inland California, doesn’t mean you have to upholster everything in cool linen. “We kept furniture neutral but in elevated, velvety fabrics,” Kell says. The West Elm Andes L-Shaped Sectional lures in steely blue.
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Go Sheer

Frequent sunny days demand one thing from window treatments: sheer curtains to let the light pour in. These West Elm versions, Bark Texture Jacquard Curtains, are opaque enough to block the harshest sun, but still allow it to flow. (Bonus: They’re patterned after—yes—tree bark.)
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Make Room

Since this is a getaway house, Kell made sure to create enough space for up to eight guests, with plenty of options for lounging and vegging (Palm Springs is prime Vacationland, after all). The West Elm Sputnik Chandelier dusts the dining area in a fairytale glow; bronze legs on the West Elm Arden Dining Table hew true to the mid-century era, but add a welcoming warmth.
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Make Your Plants Comfortable

Potted greenery supplies much-needed natural energy indoors. When plants are placed at hip level on a pedestal, you’re that much more likely to keep them watered and happy. The straight, symmetrical lines of the stand provide a perfect buttoned-up foil for a plant’s wild and whimsical aesthetic. The chair is West Elm’s Felipe Leather Sling Chair.
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Suit Yourself with Seating

A mid-century house begs for playful touches, like furniture that wows. This swivel chair is anything but business as usual, on a brass base that would allow for a few Presley-worthy hound-dog moves. (Fun fact: The King honeymooned in this town in 1967).
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Support Local Artists

Kell was careful to highlight the work of Palm Springs-area creatives, from Richard Prescott (whose graphic prints pop throughout the space) to Ryan Chesla’s black and white photography. “It helps make it unique to Palm Springs,” he says. “West Elm has local-artist sections within each store.”
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Maximize Outdoor Space

In a town like Palm Springs, al fresco party areas are all but required. Under the shade of a leafy tree, these West Elm Soleil Metal Bistro Chairs and Portside Expandable Dining Table beckon like a full bar cart. Turquoise and white hues are a nod to the Coachella Valley’s seemingly ever-present blue skies.
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Highlight Your Best Feature

The West Elm team matched the turquoise water of the pool to the accessories, such as throw pillows on the poolside lounges and demijohn vases, thereby maximizing the color’s calming effect. Because the West Elm Portside Textilene Loungers are perfectly weathered, they emit an especially chillaxed vibe.