Desert Modern Is Out & Southwestern Style Is In — Here’s Why We’re *Obsessed*

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WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on April 13, 2022

From the binge-worthy show Yellowstone to the fashion world’s fixation on all things ranch-inspired (shackets, embroidered button-ups, actual cowboy hats, the list goes on…), it’s clear that the Wild West look is having a moment

And true to form, there’s a specific geographic area that has our design hearts racing these days: the Southwest. Replete with earth tones, bold patterns, natural accents, and a stray cactus or two, Southwest decor is organic, understated, and a touch luxe. Plus, it pairs perfectly with a cognac leather shacket and cowboy boots. 

Ahead, our designers share the details about this trending aesthetic, plus how to bring Southwestern style into your home.

But First: What is Southwestern Style?

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Simply put, Southwestern style is that Insta-famous look that’s equal parts adventurous, naturalist, slightly rugged, and straight-up cool (picture a luxury resort in Sedona or Joshua Tree). Its magic is in the mix — it combines a number of distinct influences for a rich and storied aesthetic, including Spanish architecture, Native American textiles and motifs, and rustic, Western ranch life.

Crisp white walls (bonus points for textured stucco), honeyed wood floors, or even terracotta tiles set the stage for warm minimalism, while bold patterns and organic accents like plants, wood, leather, and iron add a raw touch. The color palette leans earthy and balanced, with spicy pops of rust, sienna, and clay. Yes, you might see a horse painting or two, or potentially a (faux) animal hide, but this look is more curated than cliche.

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Lumbar Pillow // Bench // Framed Artwork

Why we're loving it

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Honestly, this look checks so many design boxes for us — it boasts earth tones, wood accents, and warm neutrals in spades. But southwest decor has always been effortlessly cool and individualistic — now it just has a (well-deserved) spotlight on it. It boasts design-forward elements like statement lighting, terracotta accents, and rich textiles, plus a wild, brazen edge. It’s both balanced and daring; intriguing and welcoming; bold and natural.

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Bowl // Accent Chair // Pillow

Havenly design packages

Southwest Style Edit: The Key Elements

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To bring the Southwest spirit into your home, pick and choose from the below design elements:

  • Start with a minimalist backdrop with whitewashed walls (bonus points for stucco).
  • Show off wood floors and if you’re lucky, wood beams.
  • Embrace terracotta clay tile (handcrafted zellige is everything these days),
  • Stick to a balanced earth tone palette and weave in spicy pops of rust, clay, and sienna.
  • Spotlight rich and dynamic Southwest-inspired textiles and motifs, starting with a truly breathtaking rug (think The Citizenry).
  • Add in large, geometric patterns via artwork, throws, and pillows.
  • Lean in to ranch-inspired textures like leather and iron (a slingback leather chair is perfectly Southwest).
  • Vintage furniture is more than welcome!
  • Embrace nods to the Wild West with horse, longhorn, or landscape photography (a little goes a long way).
  • Juxtapose naturalist elements with modern silhouettes for a more nuanced look
  • Plants, plants, and more plants (a little cacti never hurt anyone)!

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Artisan Vase // Pillow // Side Table

Looking for a way to overcome your unique design dilemmas? Work one-on-one with our expert interior designers for just $129 per room. Get started today with our style quiz.

Words by Kelsey Clark