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Sense of Place: Palm Springs

Bring some Palm Springs home—even if you’ve never been there!

pink cabana restaurant at sand hotel
The Pink Cabana at Sands Hotel got a refresh from renowned designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard that includes paying homage to the town’s bright and pop-y past.

Bright. Colorful. Optimistic. These three words best describe Palm Springs, says Peter Moruzzi, author of Palm Springs Holiday and Palm Springs Paradise, visual chronicles of the city’s mid-century boom.

Much of this Southern California town’s vibrancy comes from its history as a desert playground for both average Joes and celebrities. In the early 20th century, Palm Springs drew visitors from both coasts who were hoping to improve their health with the promise of clean desert air. But it wasn’t until the 1940s that the city exploded as a vacation spot for Hollywood royalty.

colorful poolside lounge at parker palm springs
Poolside at the reopened Parker Palm Springs
cacti at sands hotel against pink wall
Cacti at the Sands

At the same time, a handful of modernist architects—William Cody, Donald Wexler, and E. Stewart Williams among them—were on hand to build second homes for vacationers. “Because it wasn’t their primary residence, owners were willing to experiment with a different look,” says Moruzzi. “Even Frank Sinatra, who wanted a Georgian-style mansion, eventually agreed to a modern retreat—with a piano-shaped pool!” And so, Palm Springs became synonymous with modernist design.

Vista Las Palmas modern home
Sleek modern home in Vista Las Palmas

Moruzzi’s favorite hotel in town is the hip Del Marcos “because it’s original to 1947 and it’s still beautiful.” He’s also a fan of the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, a classic ’60s building that got a 21st-century face-lift. Sands Hotel & Spa is another retro rehab, but with Moroccan flair. Its iconic restaurant, the Pink Cabana, is covered in blush hues and banana-leaf wallpaper. Palm Springs style is trending hard right now, so get in on the bright, colorful, optimistic action with our Palm-inspired picks.

palm trees above pool at rancho mirage
Rancho Mirage, just outside of town

Bring the Palm Springs Look Home

teal scalloped outdoor umbrella

Upgraded Umbrella

Be the envy of the beach crowd (or in your own backyard) with this Opalhouse chic scalloped umbrella ($90) in the perfect shade of teal.

colorful soup and dinner plate set

Leveled-Up Dishware

This La DoubleJ colorful rimmed soup-and-dinner-plate set ($95) is the perfect antidote to a boring tablescape.

flower edie parker striped soaps

Chic Suds

Fancy up your bathroom sink with these Edie Parker stripey scented hand soaps ($16).

yellow tile agave scott living art piece

Pretty As a Picture

Get some tropical vibes on your gallery wall with Scott Living Yellow Tile Agave ($84).

hot mesh watermelon lounge chair

Color Punch

Looking to cheer up your outdoor space? Just add this Blu Dot stackable watermelon-colored chair ($349) for an instant hit of happy.

bromeliad aechmea plant in pot

Best Bud

The Bloomscape bromeliad aechmea plant ($79) checks all the boxes: hard to kill, a long-lasting bloom, and pretty to look at.

palm springs illustration

By Amelia Mularz | Feature photograph by Jaime Kowal | Pool lounge photograph by Justin Coit/Trunk Archive | Cacti photograph by Jaime Kowal | Vista Las Palmas photograph by Rebecca Kimmons | Rancho Mirage photograph by Trevor Tondro/Otto | Product photographs courtesy of the brands | Illustration by Samantha Hahn

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