When creating a colour palette for this 1960s home Shelley used Resene paint to fully embrace Desert Modernism – here are her top tips.

1. Play with tints and shades

(post) A Palm Springs paint palette

This architecturally designed home was built in 1960 and has a distinct Mid-century form characterized by glass, clean lines and an open-plan layout. The house is surrounded by a large palm grove, giving it a distinct Palm Springs vibe. Mid-century homes feature plenty of natural texture thanks to building materials such as brick, breeze block, plaster render, crazy paving and timber battens being used in innovative ways. The intense climate in Palm Springs calls for a fresh, cool and uplifting colour palette, therefore I chose to keep my Resene paint palette light and breezy to let the building materials shine and achieve that summer holiday feel. This house features large windows exposing it to the sun, so while I favoured a white interior I wanted to avoid creating glare with bright whites. While full-strength Resene Rice Cake was too creamy for this home, Resene Eighth Rice Cake is a tint that includes more white for a soft look that complements the warm timber features.  

2. Use paint for temperature control

(rooms) Living

The upstairs of this home is warm and bright, so Resene Eighth Rice Cake creates a cool look minus the glare of bright white. However one downstairs room in particular is a lot cooler, so I used Resene Half Rice Cake to create a warmer look that’s still in keeping with the rest of the home. Understanding the warm and cool undertones of paint helps you to select one that affects the visual temperature of the space.  

3. Include a ‘holiday’ white

(rooms) Exterior

Breeze blocks were used extensively in Palm Springs architecture because they create privacy yet still allow breeze through in hot climates. They also add a beautiful decorative element to design, with each individual block combining en masse to create an everchanging shadow play depending on the sun’s position. I commissioned a large breeze block wall at the back of the pool area to create one focal point that acts as a backdrop to the entire house. I used Resene Concrete Primer to reduce staining and surface imperfections. Then I used two coats of Resene Alabaster, a soft but bright white which together with the blue pool creates a holiday feel.  

4. Add a pop of colour

(rooms) Exterior

Palm Springs features an array of homes famed for their coloured front doors. These pops of pastel team perfectly with the vivid blue sky and green palms, creating a joyful and uplifting street appeal. For this project the front door, back door and garage door is painted in Resene Ashanti, a beautiful dusky blue with a hint of grey. If you’re a fan of minimalist white but want to be braver with colour, painting your front door in a subtle and sophisticated colour could be the answer. 


More Palm Springs-inspired paint colours to try:

For more colour inspiration visit www.resene.co.nz. Photography by Helen Bankers and Matt Queree.