If you are looking for a modern patio look with a fun, mid century twist, then you want a Palm Springs style patio! And nope, you don’t have to live in this desert paradise to bring a bit of that funkiness to your outdoor space. All you have to do is to check out our very own Palm Springs patio spaces for tons of great ideas you can use yourself! When we were lucky enough to buy our new townhouse in PS, it came with not one, but two awesome patios. And since the desert is all about indoor/outdoor living, we knew we had to make it really special. So check out how we took a pretty modern patio space, added some mid century modern furniture, a few funky colorful touches, and gorgeous desert plants to make our space seem like a resort that we can escape to every day! And this whole post is full of tips on how you can make this happen for your own patio as well. So follow along as we share our special space, and pick up some ideas to use to create your own little desert PS paradise, even if you live in Ohio or Vermont. :)
Palm Spring Modern Patio Ideas
Mid Century Modern Patio Before and After
The before and after of our modern patio design is pretty awesome, and we are really proud of it. This is our downstairs outdoor space that has a bit more of the mid century modern patio ideas than the upstairs space. AKA, a little less serious and serene, with a little more fun and color.
Mid Century Patio Design
We basically followed the same patio design principles in creating this space as we did for our indoor spaces. Color, flooring & walls, mid century patio furniture and decor, lighting, and desert plants. Your first glimpse of our patio through our courtyard gate lets you see all these things at once. I’m going to tackle the first three right here, and you can read more about the garden plants and lighting further below. They are that important!
1 – Color on the Patio
Just like indoors, we used the colors Palm Springs is famous for to add some real pop to this modern patio space. Aside from the pool blue outdoor rug, we simply ordered some outdoor throw pillows, and then spray painted some existing side tables we already owned a bright canary yellow. The rest of the color comes from plants! Don’t be afraid to be bold with your color choices. We have all four of the colors we used throughout the home here on this patio, and they work! Make it deliberate, and then choose one color to be dominant with 60% of the accent color, then the other colors in gradually lessening amounts. In our case, different shades of blue were our main accent color, followed by yellow, pink and orange.
2 – Flooring & Walls
You may not think of flooring when you go to design your own patio space, but you should. One of the reasons a resort style outdoor space feels luxurious is because the details of design are similar to what you would find indoors. Indoor/outdoor, remember? We had our concrete laid with spaces left between that we filled with smooth river rock. It’s a really simple detail, but it makes a modern patio design that is thought out and looks high end. If you are ready to change out your patio flooring, check out our post on Patio Flooring Ideas or DIY Concrete Patio Cover Ups and find out how you can upgrade yours, DIY style!
Walls in a patio space give a sense of privacy, security and of grounding. We were lucky enough to have existing block walls already installed. There are lots of ways to add garden “walls” without calling a contractor. Check out our posts on our Modern Plant Wall, DIY Patio Privacy Screens, and Privacy with Plants to get tons of great ideas on how to enclose your space.
3 – Mid Century Patio Furniture
So we bought a pretty basic patio set for this space, but got it in Palm Springs white to make the other colors pop. (God help us, right?) The covers are removable and washable, and since we splurged for Sunbrella fabric, it cleans really easily. Then we introduced the prettiest element of mid century patio furniture I know… the Acapulco Chair. The modern lines of this piece really set off the entire patio design, without having to buy all mid century pieces. And we got it in black to give it some elegance, and to tone down some of that bright color in contrast. Make sense? If you start feeling like you have too much of one thing, tone it down with its opposite. This works with furniture, color, pretty much any design principle.
Palm Springs Style Garden
My favorite part of any patio, modern or not, is the garden. And a Palm Springs style garden is super special. It really is truly a desert paradise! Having a PS style garden adds to the mid century modern patio design, of course. But more than that, it helps to create the feeling that you are on vacation in your own backyard. We used modern outdoor planters because the simple lines showcase some really amazing focal point plants, like cacti and agave. Our bougainvillea are really the stars of this space though. Think you can’t grow plants that make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise? Think again, my friends. First of all, don’t be afraid to invest in one really cool flowering tropical and grow it as an annual. Yes, it might cost you $20 instead of $3 for a six pack of petunias, but the payoff. Second, look for alternative plants to give you that “in the tropics” feel, but that are hardy in your area. Check out our post on Hardy Tropicals You Can Grow. Third, consider just bringing out your plants for the summer season, then moving them back indoors come fall as houseplants. Palms, cacti and agave are great candidates for that.
We used a couple of mid century patio screens to block off our a/c units. The first one we used was a metal privacy screen from ‘Veradek’ that we bought from ‘Wayfair‘. We used these screens on both the downstairs and upstairs patios, but we ordered them in different patterns for each space. Steve and I are both in love with these screens, and apparently, so is everyone else we know. We have gotten more “where did you get that???” texts from family and friends over these screens!
We also did a DIY screen to bring in some real vintage flavor to the space. We found some “breeze block” concrete blocks here in Palm Springs (they are a PS design staple!) and used landscape adhesive to create a tower of two rows of five. Then we simply primed and painted them white with an exterior grade paint. We brought in the hand truck to move them from the garage to the patio ( they are concrete, after all!) and they block the ac unit from the street with total mid century charm!
Mid Century Modern Patio Lighting
Ok, lighting. No modern patio design works unless it has amazing nighttime lighting. Steve installed a low voltage set here, but we have a whole post on How to Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting from our house in eastern Washington. The hanging pendant light is a solar outdoor lamp. Seriously, nighttime is when the Palm Springs magic happens… but only with good lighting! You can use outdoor solar lights from the home improvement center or ‘Amazon‘ if you don’t want to install low voltage. It’s a really inexpensive way to make your space feel luxurious. Make sure to point your lighting at attractive trees or shrubs, or even create light patterns on walls.
Modern Patio Before and After, Part Two
Our upstairs patio design we did a little more modern, with a just a touch of mid century. We wanted a serene and luxurious feeling in that outdoor space, with a pop of Palm Springs color and lighting… oh, the lighting in this space is everything. But first, let’s start with our modern patio before and after, part two! Upstairs!
Modern Patio Furniture
It really isn’t hard to find comfortable modern patio furniture that isn’t terribly expensive. Again, we were leaning more towards a modern look here, so our choices were more streamlined. The chaise lounges are our favorite place to relax and watch the stars come out! We wanted to share where to buy them, but unfortunately they were sold out. We chose a metal coffee table to stand up to the elements, as this patio is not covered. You will see we once again chose Palm Springs white for the sofa… It’s Sunbrella fabric again, and it makes it so much easier to keep clean! This set also came with removable cushion covers so you can throw them in the wash.
Mid Century Patio Design Details
To give these modern patio ideas a little spice, we added some subtle mid century design details. The ‘Veradek‘ screens are an even bigger design feature here than downstairs, although we used a different pattern. We used a subtle geometric pattern on the outdoor rug, (geometrics always work with MCM design) and added some cushions and pillows in that famous mid century color choice, tangerine orange! Everything else we kept more modern and minimal to create a soothing space that feels like a private balcony at an upscale resort. We’d say mission accomplished.
Outdoor pots and desert plants are here too! Be sure to mix up color, size and shape when grouping containers to keep things interesting. But do keep them the same style, to keep things unified. And look close so you don’t miss our favorite Palm Springs buddy, our hummingbird! Paradise, right?
Modern Patio Lighting Ideas
The upstairs patio is the evening oasis in our Palm Springs home, so lighting was really key. However, we didn’t have an electrical outlet, so solar lights were the way to go. Just a few inexpensive solar lights tucked into planters make quite an impression when directed through the patterned privacy screen! And the large planters were made into focal points at night by lighting them up. The little lamp on the table is solar as well. Don’t underestimate how much lighting can do for your outdoor space. Not only does it make it possible to use and enjoy it as an additional room during the warmer months, it makes the space look amazing from the inside of your home too.
If you haven’t already checked out the indoor space of this reveal, hop on over to TBD and see How to Bring Desert Modernism & Palms Springs Style into Your Home!
Veradek Privacy Screens – Wayfair
Acapulco Chairs – Wayfair
Wide PolyTerrazzo Planter – CB2
Blox Large Square Galvanized Planter – CB2
Veradek Privacy Screens – Wayfair
Kinsey Indoor / Outdoor Rug – Wayfair
Tall PolyTerrazzo Planter – CB2