Dollie Nicholson, REALTOR

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Modern Desert Home Style Explained

by Dollie Nicholson 01/10/2022

Photo byNate Hovee from Pexels

Throughout history, humans have continued to find new and innovative ways to build homes according to the surrounding environment. While styles certainly change, there are some elements and concepts that you can still see today in modern structures. One particular example of this is modern desert home architectural design. Combining elements of mid-century modern design and the American Southwest, the modern desert style is popular with builders and potential homeowners in some of the planet’s harshest conditions. Here we will go over the key elements of the modern desert style for a better understanding of the design concepts and features.

Open Floor Plans

A major aspect of a modern desert home is the floor plan. Builders go for single-level, sprawling open floor plans that allow maximum airflow and efficiency. The placement and orientation of the windows determines how much light and heat will enter the home and stay inside when it gets cold at night and in the winter. Windows often have tints or other treatments to filter the light entering the home without obstructing the view from inside. Combined with insulation and orientation in the landscape, an open floor plan is essential to keeping a desert home comfortable.

Tile & Metal Roofing

While the style may vary, modern desert homes typically make use of tile or metal roofing. Both are popular and efficient choices because they reflect heat back out away from the home and also keep it trapped inside during the winter. Roof tiles are made of concrete or terracotta which are both excellent insulators and heat-repellers. While tile shingles are heavy and require a pitched roof shape or additional support, metal is a popular choice for homes with the ultra-modern flat roof design. Metal roofs are lightweight enough to lay flat and also allow for easy attachment of solar panels if desired.

Nature-Inspired Neutrals

Modern desert homes use color palettes that create harmony with the surrounding environment. Neutral shades of beige, cream and brown are common for exteriors, with white being popular for metal roof color. On the inside of the home, the modern desert style celebrates more rustic and natural finishes alongside neutral tones. Modern desert interior design focuses on comfort and practicality, but without the mid-century minimalism. Bold patterns and prints on thick woven textiles and tile add character to a room otherwise dominated by neutral colors. White and cream are the most common choice for interior walls and large furniture pieces as they reflect light to create a feeling of openness and even help reduce the temperature. Playing with the contrast of elements like exposed wood and painted tile alongside bright white walls and ceilings will help achieve the modern desert style and give you the freedom to experiment.

Like all architectural styles, desert modernism borrows from other styles that came before and continue to develop today. You can see aspects of traditional homes of the American Southwest in even the most trendy and modern homes. No matter the details, modern desert homes will always prioritize comfort and protection from the extreme elements as well as honor the natural landscape.