Chalet Design

Winter time is ski-season for many people and winter sports enthusiasts flock for the season to the Swiss and French alps (at least if not for the snow then for the apres-ski). If you are lucky enough to own your own chalet or want to bring some of the chalet-chic of the cosy alps back to your own home, then this is the guide for you.

Natural Finishes: The first thing that anyone thinks about in a chalet is wooden walls and maybe some natural stone or brick. The choice of woods and wood finishes are countless. Rough sawn timbers are great for a rustic look and a chalet with more character. Choosing a darker coloured wood finish can be used to create a cosy, traditional style of chalet or choose a lighter colour for a more Scandinavian feel. Smooth finishes would work well for a modern, luxurious look.



Bring the Outside In: Chalet design is not all about the interior - the look of a chalet relies heavily on the outside. The thick blanket of snow, the soaring heights of the alps, the rolling hills and fresh colours all add to the chalet feel - especially if your chalet has great big windows to better admire the view. In order to bring the outside in, as it were, adorn your chalet with natural accessories - log ends on display next to the fire place, pendant or wall lights made of deer antlers (always a favourite) and natural hide rugs or throws are a great way to add a bit of rustic charm.



Wools, Plaids and Tartan Patterns: An absolute given in any chalet is the obvious indulgence in warm, heavy woolen fabrics, tartan and check patterns and lots of cosy cushions and throws. Try to keep the soft furnishings colour-palette somewhat refined - choose a colour like green or red and go with it, keeping accents more neutral (greys or beiges). It's also a good idea to keep the geometrics at least vaguely related - if you go for checks, don't make everything checked but maybe choose an accent fabric with squares or stripes. Don't go too overboard with patterns though and remember that there's nothing wrong with a luscious plain fabric. Overall, a good chalet should have a good amount of classic pattern and a touch of colour and fabric is a great way to break up or distract from the copious amount of wood your chalet is most likely constructed from (see below our full-wall headboard in grey, check wool).



The Right Lighting: In order to create a warm, cosy atmosphere in the midst of the cold wintery backdrop of a chalet, it's important to consider the right type of lighting. Certainly steer away from lights with 3000K or more as these will appear cold. 2700K would be a good choice for creating natural but warm lighting effects. Decide your lighting based on the room layout and the geometry of the space. Chalets don't need to be equally lit everywhere as the concept is about creating a cosy place of relaxation - light up the spaces that you want to highlight as 'warm areas' and where a bit of light would create the best contrast between the cold exterior, for example (as we have done in the Chalet in Gstaad, above the windows).



A Cosy Atmosphere: The key with any chalet, regardless of the style, is to create a cosy atmosphere to retreat to after a heavy day of skiing in many feet of snow. The style of a chalet can be anything from rustic to elegant but above all, it should be comfortable. Keep the sofas soft and wide to allow comfortable snuggling for friends and family.  A good mix of textures, fabrics and patterns combined with good lighting and a roaring fire where possible should soon do the trick.




Keep it Luxe: I think it would be generally accepted that a chalet is somewhat of a luxury that most people might not afford. If you are one of the lucky ones or if you are reading our guide simply to get some design tips on how to bring chalet style to your own home then the key thing that we would point out is that always keep it luxe. A chalet should be a special place away from routine home life and a place to relax on holiday. Therefore, whatever you do, be sure to add a healthy dose of luxury, elegance and glamour to your chalet design.