Front entrance of a mid century house as an example of one of Palm Springs' doors.
The bright pop of yellow beneath dark blue trim optimizes every angle of this house.

In Palm Springs, the minimal lines of Mid Century Modern designs and the monochrome colors of the area’s natural desert climate cause many homeowners to use bright colors on their doors to give their homes a unique touch. In fact, Palm Springs “door tours” spring up around the theme of checking out these vibrant colors. Designers Howard Hawkes and Kevin Kemper of H3K Design are based in Palm Springs and share how you can bring the look of Palm Springs’ doors to your home, no matter where you live.

Replicating Palm Springs’ Doors

Cool Turquoise

“Owning a retail store in Palm Springs, you find that there is an insatiable appetite for orange and turquoise in the desert. Those seem to be the trademark colors,” Howard and Kevin explain. Choosing an accent color for any part of your home requires observing your surroundings and deciding what would complement the natural features in the vicinity.

One of Palm Springs' doors, a house entrance door with light blue trim around a large glass window.
A delicate light blue trim frames the lovely home behind the glass. Palm Springs’ doors never cease to excite and inspire.

In this case, the tropical turquoise shades provide a cool place for your eyes to rest from the warm tones in the desert. “It’s sort of reminiscent of swimming pools, and it’s such a contrast to the earth tones of the desert, so it really pops,” they say.

Desert Sunset Orange

While looking for contrasting colors can be a great option, complementary colors work just as well. Warm tones, such as various shades of orange, can create different moods—bright, neon orange can conjure up images of sunrises, while deeper shades will remind you of desert sunsets.

One of Palm Springs' doors, a simple but vibrant orange house door.
This deep orange hue looks like it was freshly-plucked right out of a California grove—a shining example of the life behind Palm Springs’ doors.

“Even a burnt orange can work on a lot of different styles, so it doesn’t always have to be a bright sunshine orange,” Howard and Kevin tell us. At the end of the day, doors can be easily repainted without a lot of risk or expense, so it doesn’t hurt to be a little spontaneous with the decision.

Lively and Mod Yellow

The mid century style in Palm Springs emphasizes minimal front yards while celebrating the interior and backyard instead. By adding a pop of color on the door, it adds a much more exciting element to the house. Yellow is already a popular choice in mid century design, and Howard and Kevin believe choosing the right shade doesn’t have to push you too far out of your comfort zone.

Front entrance of a mid century house as an example of one of Palm Springs' doors.
A bold pop of yellow looks fabulous when paired with cool colors like this dark blue trim.

“If you’re nervous, you don’t have to do a bright sunshine yellow to get started. Maybe opt for a nice mustard yellow that’s a little more subdued to get you into the water of painting your front door,” they say. Ultimately, making a statement with door colors requires reflection on the homeowner’s personal style. “If you’re writing a sentence, you always want to think about the … punctuation you’re going to use at the end. That kind of goes for your front door color too—how do you want to punctuate your house?”

Atomic Ranch Best of Style 2021For more of H3K’s work in Palm Springs, stay tuned for our forthcoming Best of Style issue! Preorder your copy here

Ready to liven up your walls? Check out our favorite mid century wallpaper picks!

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