You know that feeling when you’re traveling somewhere and you can’t believe the entire place is photogenic? Like, every corner of town to the pawnshops and parking lots? That’s what we thought of Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. Yes, the mid-century architecture, magical otherworldly national park, abundant palm trees, and vast Mojave Desert are undoubtedly majestic. But what really makes these destinations beautiful is that everything is perpetually flooded with sunlight, and better for that. The sun is an integral part of the Palm Springs and Joshua Tree experience, and it seems like everything was designed with the bright, warm sun in mind. If you consider yourself a color lover, you have to witness it firsthand. Today, we’ve teamed up with the Sherwin-Williams® ColorSnap® Visualizer app to bring you our second installment of our color-obsessed travel guides. And it’s all about sun, sun, sun and the jaw-dropping color palettes that sunlight creates in Southern California. Let’s go!
Welcome to Palm Springs, home to some of the most exquisite architecture, resorts and desert landscapes in the world. Like San Francisco, Palm Springs isn’t afraid of color. There’s no shortage of neon front doors, aquamarine pools, and tall, bright green palm trees — all of which blend brilliantly with the blue, desert blue skies. It’s a color lover’s dream.
Look at all the palm trees. There must be tens of thousands of palm trees in Palm Springs. Bold green actions line streets, cluster in front of hotels, and connect magnificent one-story structures to ever-blue skies. They’re usually hard to miss – turn on any random road and you’ll see a perfect line of them like this. You can go home with a sore neck just by saying.
Brunch at a hotel restaurant. If you haven’t figured it out already, hotel hopping is a solid pastime in Palm Springs. There are plenty of open-air restaurants by the pool at the fancy hotels located in the area. The designers of these hotels put a ton of effort into their color palettes, often using nature as a guide, so be sure to find as many as you can for inspiration. (Nothing wrong with brunch twice in one day, right?!)
Get inspired by the clothes of resident pensioners. Kaftans, kimonos, blouses, oh my! We can thank Palm Springs for making our grandma’s patterned clothes cool. Stop by some of the city’s iconic vintage stores and dress in pastel chic 1970s attire.
Feast your eyes on the wealth of mid-century architecture. There’s a lot to be said for the mid-century details of Palm Springs – heck, you could have your whole trip around visiting them. As we mentioned earlier, it seems like every building was built with the sun in mind. We love that shadows serve as an architectural feature, and often the vibrations of structures actually change with the time of day. In addition to highlighting the awesome design of the place, these shadows create color stories worth suffocating.
Take a dip in a swimming pool. It can get very hot in Palm Springs, so book a hotel that has a pool, then relax for hours in epic sun loungers. If your hotel doesn’t have one, make a few calls to see where you can get a day pass.
Take an Instagram of #ThatPinkDoor. On an unassuming suburban street is the internet’s most famous front door: #ThatPinkDoor. Sure, her celebrity story is a bit of a mystery, but we think she epitomizes Palm Springs’ architectural genius perfectly: pastel tones, clean lines, play of shadows, and brilliant execution. It’s like a giant pink chocolate candy bar, and we’re not crazy about it 🙂
Get your cactus fix at the Botanical Gardens. Cactus lovers, here it is: Palm Springs is home to the world’s first (and only?) cactarium. It is a dream oasis for plant lovers. Run by the same family for decades, the property boasts over 3,000 varieties of plants and is a mecca for desert earth tones. We happily spent the afternoon in this amazing greenhouse to rest and restart before our next stop.
Grab a refreshing specialty cocktail at an outdoor bar. As you tour the hotel, be sure to save time to post in their outdoor bar. Grab their cocktail menu (or mocktail) and whet your whistle with a special mixologist. Fancy drinks are perfect fodder for some Instagram-worthy shots.
TREE OF JOSEUA
To be continued, the capital of eccentricity in Southern California! Joshua Tree is home to some of the funkiest outdoor art structures we’ve ever seen, as well as breathtaking desert scenery. It is an ideal retirement destination for artists and nature lovers. If you are already in Palm Springs, the hour drive to this area is 100% worth it.
Take a hike in Joshua Tree National Park. This one is a no-brainer. Joshua Tree is a sprawling national park filled with otherworldly trees, rock structures and cacti as far as the eye can see. As is the case in Palm Springs, the park’s color story changes wildly from sunrise, noon, to dusk, and each palette is more beautiful than the next.
Check out the rare and beautiful red cactus flowers. As you explore the vast Joshua Tree National Park, keep an eye out for these blood-red beauties. It’s amazing that such muted earth tones can bring such a vibrant hue to life. But it’s just that nature is cool and mysterious, isn’t it?
Check out all the funky little businesses. Drive through the town of Yucca Valley, adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park, to discover wacky and unique shops and restaurants. There are so many beautifully curated vintage shops with stellar exteriors.
Take a moment to appreciate all the purple cacti (!). And just when you thought green cacti were perfect plants, this purple species had to go get them. All of you purple cacti exist in majestic Joshua Tree, and we officially have a new obsession. And also a new must-have color palette 🙂
Finally, lose track of time at an open-air desert museum. Scenery and hotels aren’t the only gems to behold in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. The desert offers a strange but beautiful landscape for open-air museums. Artists and enthusiasts come from afar to see homeless installations with a setting like no other.
LET PALM SPRINGS INSPIRE YOUR DECOR
The ColorSnap Visualizer app allowed us to bring the Mojave Desert vibes home. All we had to do was take one of our vacation photos and upload it to the app, which captured the colors and matched them to the Sherwin-Williams paint colors. From there, it was very simple to create a custom color scheme for our interior design. Hours of furniture assembly and a few coats of paint later, we had our very own Palm Springs oasis at home. Check it out!
We are quite impressed with the results. We painted the walls Goldenrod SW 6677, Something Blue SW 6800 and High Reflective White SW 7757, then refinished a mid-century entryway bench with Direct Green SW 6924 to pay homage to vibrant palm trees. Finally, we updated a metal planter with a coat of Electric Lime SW 6921. Easy, peasy!
That’s it, friends! I hope I’ve convinced you how imperative a trip to the Mojave Desert is for your home renovations, not to mention your Instagram account 😉 Bon voyage!
Are you using this travel guide on your next trip? We want to see! Share photos on Instagram and tag #britstagram so we can take a look!
Color palettes: Maddie Bachelder + Karen Pham
Direction + Styling: Maddie Bachelder + Cassidy Miller
Cinematography: Brittany Griffin, Chris Andre + Lucas Saugen
This position has been authorized by Sherwin-Williams®.
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