Desert Sanctuary: how to create an interior oasis

Desert Sanctuary Living Room -

The last thing we want our homes to be is prickly, but we love the rugged look of a desert, which is why we’re all about the luxury of a desert sanctuary home! This look is primarily inspired by Central American looks, with warm base tones and organic designs. Better yet, it works in any home, no matter your geographic location.

One of the defining aspects of this trend is that it’s very organic-focussed. There are some looks, like deco luxe, New York loft, or even contemporary trends that embrace industrial elements and don’t keep natural materials and shapes front and centre. This is not one of those trends. Think fresh cotton and linen paired with raw, unfinished oak as you begin your desert sanctuary journey.

Desert Sanctuary Colours

Desert Sanctuary Office Space

Thinking of a desert, we often turn to warm, neutral colours. Use these colours to conjure a sense of cosiness. Beige, cream, tan, brown, natural wood, even light grey are all great starting points in this style. If you tend to favour colours more than neutrals, soft pinks are a great look that can translate to other aesthetics later if you change your mind.

Once you feel confident with these base tones, you can look for feature colours. Stunning turquoise and deep berry red are bold colours that might feel like they need an expert eye, but trust your intuition. If you’re not confident with colour yet, use them in your softer features, like wall art, cushions & throws, and floral embellishments.

Desert Sanctuary Dining Room

Desert Sanctuary Textures & Shapes

The desert is full of rolling, rounded shapes. The way the wind picks up sand and debris, swirling it in the air, evokes a sense of weightlessness that we just oozes relaxation, and who doesn’t want to feel relaxed at home? The same goes for the natural formations of the sand dunes, hills and valleys with smooth slopes and soft peaks. Inspired by these shapes, the desert sanctuary look is full of smooth edges and dynamic bodies that convey a sense of motion, even as they stand still.

Desert Sancturary Nook

Round shapes are a great starting point. These are easy to find in wall art and cushions. For your furnishings, try to avoid sharper edges. They can feel a little too modernist in what is a highly relaxed style. Dining tables, coffee tables, and other pieces with rounded corners are what you want. (These shapes are even on-trend for an added bonus!)

Once you’re confident with round accents, you can move on to straight lines with rustic, unfinished edges. These shapes might feel harsher, but can also offer a sense of dynamism, plus these rustic features bring an element of texture and sensory appeal to your interiors that smooth lines just can’t.

Imperfect lines, fringe embellishments, natural linens with unique weaves, leather upholstery that will only soften with time, and wood details create a grounded, earthy feel that brings the beauty of nature inside the home.

Desert Sanctuary Bedroom

Desert Sanctuary Accents

The word ‘organic’ is really common as we talk about this aesthetic, and there’s a reason for it. This look is very nature-based. While we can’t bring all of nature into the home, we can bring in bits and pieces to solidify the look. It’s time to develop that green thumb.

Plants are an absolute must-have in this look, but if you’re not confident you can keep a plant alive (we’ve all been there) there are certainly easy options. Fake plants are going to be the easiest option, straight off the bat. However, if you like real plats, succulents naturally grow in desert-like environments, so why not grab a few for your desert sanctuary home? If that’s still more than you can handle, just a few fronds from a tree or a handful of natural wheat (or other grasses) can also be the perfect little detail to finish a desert sanctuary space.

Desert Sanctuary Living Room Close-Up

We also love metallic embellishments for this trend. Any kind—rose gold, true gold, bronze, copper, silver, it can all work here. Metallics and plants might not seem like they can go hand-in-hand, but that’s the beauty of this trend; it brings unlikely friends together. (After all, we don’t often think of finding sanctuary in a desert in the first place, do we?)

Desert Sacntuary Collage

So now you’re armed with all the information you need to create a desert sanctuary at home. Follow these base guidelines to get you started, but always be bold and brave in your styling choices. This look is all about creating your desert sanctuary where you feel at home.

If you’re still not sure if this trend is right for you after all, have a look at our quiz to help you decide what your perfect interior aesthetic is!

Paige Riddiford is a writer and editor from NSW with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong. When not writing, Paige is often found reading, baking cakes, playing video games, or binging whatever's new on Netflix.