Design Tips For A House in the Desert

Design tips for a house in the desert - Awan Properties

Designing a home in the desert requires understanding the extreme temperatures that range from 20 degrees in the winter to 120 degrees in the summer. This diversity, plus summer and winter rains, high winds, and sandstorms, necessitates home design that’s expressly tailored to the desert lifestyle. There are following design tips for a house in the desert are as follows

Design Tips For A House in the Desert

  • Temperature Control
  • Exterior Materials
  • Light
  • Interior Materials
  • Colors
  • Outdoor Spaces

Temperature Control

Shade is an essential element for a house in the desert. Outside, deep overhangs keep the interior cooler and provide an outdoor setting for days when the weather cooperates. Desert homes use tile or metal-clad roofing to provide temperature control. High interior ceilings capture heat, and ceiling fans set in “summer mode” pull the warmer air upward.

Exterior Materials

Stone and adobe are standard exterior finishes because of their cooling qualities. Painted light colors, don’t fade in the sun, help keep the interior temperature cool and withstand the extreme desert weather. Wood is not a good choice for a desert exterior because strong seasonal rains, wind, and intense heat cause wood to warp and deteriorate.


Desert homes are positioned to take advantage of dramatic views and avoid the glaring afternoon sun. Floor-to-ceiling windows are often tinted to protect the interior from heat and sunlight and to save energy. When open, windows allow air to flow in all directions. Window coverings are lightweight if used at all. Linen, sheer fabrics, and shades provide privacy while maintaining a cool interior.

Interior Materials

Stone and rocks found in the desert feature in desert interiors. Cement, terrazzo, granite, marble, and tile flooring keep the inside cool and clean up easily after a sandstorm. Wood flooring should only be placed in interior areas unaffected by the sun.


Faded colors like dusty sage, unbleached linen, and pale rust provide a cool feeling when used in desert interiors. Very pale pink walls glow in the sunlight. Colors that simulate the desert, including marigolds, earth tones, dusty lilac, yellow and pale mauve, create interiors that harmonize with the environment.

Outdoor Spaces

Most desert homes have covered seating areas that are open to the outdoors. Water features enhance the serenity of the desert lifestyle. The rotating water cools the immediate area. Once the heat of the day passes, outdoor desert living begins. Create a summer kitchen with an adobe or stone-faced grill and surround it with canvas-covered lounges and chairs. Colorful fabrics that withstand fading are available for both exterior and interior uses. Market umbrellas provide shade over a table, and a fire pit provides warmth on chilly nights.

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