7 Most Popular Architectural Styles in Palm Desert

DWA Team


Knowing the features of the different architectural styles in the area will help you determine the best Palm Desert real estate to fit your needs. If an outdoor courtyard is a must-have feature for you, then you know you need to look for Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial architecture and avoid the Bungalow and Ranch architecture. Knowing the various architectural styles that appeal to you will help you narrow your search and help your real estate agent find the best homes for you to visit.

While some homes may blend styles – especially if they have been remodeled and updated recently – the framework of the home is a good starting point to understanding its primary features and layout.

Seven most popular architectural styles in Palm Desert


After World War II and the end of the 1960s, Mid-century architecture dominated the area. This style of home reflected the simple living of the era with large windows, open floor plans, and large support beams for carports and roofing. You will find these houses for sale in Palm Desert in about every neighborhood developed before 1960. Individual homes are spread out among lush green lawns, walking paths, and several pool areas.

Mid-century homes may have a flat roof or slightly angular roof. The garages are open, and the overall ambiance of the home is simple and sleek. A great example of this style can be found at The Sandpiper, a mid-century modern condominium complex designed by William Krisel. This structure was one of the first condominium complexes in the area.

Spanish Colonial

When the Spanish settled into the now-Palm Desert area, they brought their unique architecture with them that influences modern design today. Spanish Colonial architecture features a gabled or a flat roof with Spanish tile. The front of the home is asymmetrical and will feature stucco or plaster instead of brick or siding.

This style of home stands out among Palm Desert real estate because the exterior walls are often a bright white color. The iconic red-tiled roof is designed to keep the house cool in the hottest temperatures, and the interior of the roof has beautiful, large wooden beams.

The floor plan avoids the simpleness of boxy rooms. Instead, you will find rounded arches, towers, and grand balconies in many of the homes. Spanish Colonial homes typically have beautiful tile throughout the space in vibrant colors, and the central courtyard in these homes is a favored feature for many.

Desert Modernism

Desert modernism style incorporates elements to make living in the desert climate suitable and enjoyable. These homes feature expansive windows that appear to be entire walls of glass, which helps to take advantage of the views in the area, showcasing the natural beauty while still insulating from the harsh heat.

Desert modernism homes are often built around – or otherwise incorporate – outdoor spaces. Many have patterned concrete breezeblocks to help block the intense rays of the sun and provide a unique decorative feature to houses for sale in Palm Desert. These homes tend to have clean lines and understated features, and the style takes advantage of natural materials by featuring exposed wood beams and natural stone throughout the home.


Ranch-style homes of Palm Desert real estate are single-story structures that are typically long and narrow, often in an L-shape or rectangular. Ranch-style homes avoid decorative features and opt for clean, open spaces well-suited for comfortable living. The front of these homes usually feature large windows to enjoy the view of the front lawn.

Many ranch-style homes include long covered porches with clapboard or wood batting, and the eaves on the low-pitched roof often hang over the house. Ranch-style homes are so popular that they are still one of the predominant styles of homes being built in new developments. Today, this design has spurred new versions and features, like the split-level ranch and raised ranch homes.

Mediterranean Revival

Mediterranean architecture embodies elements from Spain, Italy, and France, so it makes sense that the Mediterranean Revival architectural style modernizes some of these features, creating timeless architecture that will never go out of style and is quintessentially Californian.

The favored feature of these houses for sale in Palm Desert is the privacy given by the large walls surrounding the outdoor courtyard. The outdoor spaces can be enjoyed with complete privacy, but at the same time, it has plenty of windows, so the interior of the home doesn’t feel closed off and boxy. Many of the windows will have shutters to allow for lots of fresh air, and the interior features warm woods, stone details, and bright colors. Through these features, it’s clear that Mediterranean revival homes aim for elegance and grand living.

Pueblo Revival

Pueblo architecture dates to the pueblos of California and Arizona. This style of home has deeper roots than any other type of American architecture. Pueblo-style homes are easy to spot in Palm Desert real estate because they look like the old adobe houses of early settlements, and many have a missionary feel to them.

Many of these homes have flat roofs and earth-toned walls that blend in with the environment, and the heavy wood elements of the entry doors and porch posts provide a striking contrast. The interior may also feature large, wooden beams across the ceiling, and the doors and windows are rounded, opposed to square. Pueblo-style homes typically feature interior doors and entryways that may also be rounded and arched. Often, these homes also incorporate outdoor spaces with a covered patio or courtyard.


The bungalow rose in popularity in the early 1900s due to its easy construction and use of local materials. This style of home was first popularized in California, but it grew so much in popularity that Sears, Roebuck & Co. offered mail-order bungalows that could be shipped out and built on site.

Bungalows are typically square and one or one-and-a-half stories tall. The roof slopes and usually has wide overhangs, causing the exterior to be balanced, though not necessarily symmetrical. Bungalows have an inviting, covered front porch. The fireplace is a prominent feature, both with the chimney on the outside and the hearth on the inside. With all the features, the best part about bungalow-style homes is that they are affordable houses for sale in Palm Desert that are still being built today.

Looking for Palm Desert real estate?

The team at Diane Williams & Associates has been helping families find the best architectural style to fit their needs for over 20 years. They are happy to answer your questions about the homes and neighborhoods in the area. Trust these experienced real estate agents to help you buy or sell residential real estate and investment properties.