Quiet luxury at home is about classic furniture, elegant accessories and vintage touches

Back-in-vogue interiors trend is about curating a space with items made – and bought – to last for years

Low furniture in neutral shades, a textured rug and indoor plants help create a sense of elegant harmony. Unsplash
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The quiet luxury era is already sweeping through fashion, with many choosing to ditch the fickle trends of fast-fashion finds for the slower elegance of timeless, investment dressing. Now, this same thinking has taken over interior decoration, as people swerve away from cheap fixes and shift instead towards creating a home that resonates with calm sophistication.

The reasoning is simple, explains Pallavi Dean, founder and creative director of Dubai interior company Roar. “We live in a world where we are bombarded with visual stimulation – from social media to Netflix to fashion magazines. Home has always been a place for rest and recuperation, our private sanctuary for escape.”

Amy Mills, founder and owner of bespoke furniture company Custom No 9, seconds this view. “In a world filled with noise and clutter, people seek solace and tranquillity within their living spaces,” she explains. Faced with a relentless pace outside, it is only natural that we crave a home environment that provides a “retreat away from modern-day life”, says Mills.

With quiet luxury, the focus is on simplicity, sophistication and, above all, comfort.

What is quiet luxury?

As in fashion, quiet luxury is about looking to heritage brands for items that are beautifully crafted and that carry a timeless appeal. Items made – and bought – to last for years, with a view to potentially passing them on. Think pieces made from solid oak instead of chipboard, or those that have been custom-made rather picked out from a catalogue.

Invest in luxurious but natural textiles like flax, linen and cashmere
Amy Mills, founder, Custom No 9

In essence, quiet luxury places quality above quantity, and refinement over trends. It is also an antidote to the stark lines of minimalism as well as the crowded chaos of maximalism, and instead is about creating an elegant but inviting home space.

Inspired by the historical appeal of “old money”, where interesting items from different eras are layered together as if over time, here are a few simple tricks to start introducing it into the home.

Declutter to create a sense of calm

“A quick win would be to declutter and get rid of ornamental furniture,” advises Dean. Clearing a space of trinkets and decorative furniture will instantly make it feel larger and therefor calmer.

Mills adds: “Editing existing decor can create a more harmonious space.”

Bringing in a unifying palette of warm neutrals will create visual harmony too. Think sand, buttermilk, beige, browns and blacks, as well as soft greys and greens plus different shades of natural wood. These are not only easy to live with – as they match with almost anything – but will also help create cohesion.

By honing in on a specific range of tones, textures are allowed to come into their own, opening up a whole new design language to explore. A sense of the natural can be evoked through the use of wood, stone, wicker and unglazed ceramics, supplemented by soft surfaces including woven wool blankets, linen and cushions.

House plants, too, can enhance nature by blurring the line between the indoors and out. “Invest in luxurious but natural textiles like flax, linen and cashmere,” says Mills. Linen bedding and cashmere throws are an ideal place to start. These don't have to be in solid colours, she adds. “Mix neutral tones with subtle texture patterning or intricate details that add an edge.”

She also suggests looking for discreet patterning on fabrics, or a piece of furniture with hand-carved elements.

A piece doesn't have to be big to have an impact, either. A vintage tin or box looks intriguing and can be used to stow the TV remote.

Keeping the focus on design elements such as colour, texture and scale will help a room feel relaxed and collected, says Mills. “Details like decorative pillows, rugs or artwork can help tie together different styles while maintaining a cohesive look. A focus on natural materials exudes a focus on well-being.”

Money screams, wealth whispers. People are steering away from monogrammed pieces and celebrating craftsmanship
Pallavi Dean, founder, Roar

The mood to aim for, she explains, is understated elegance and relaxation. “Soft colour palettes, natural materials and minimalistic decor contribute to creating a serene and welcoming atmosphere,” Mills explains.

Crucially, quiet luxury is not about striving for perfection, but rather creating an authentic, lived-in elegance that is uniquely yours. Treasured items are most definitely kept on display, but might need a bit of help to help them sing.

Perhaps group children's artwork together in vintage-style frames, or improve a much-loved armchair by having it reupholstered. Many modern dining tables might have a garnish orange varnish, but is there a solid wood table underneath that would benefit from being sanded down and re-stained to a more refined shade?

Invest in quality not quantity

Sometimes, though, we all need to buy new items, so be prepared to invest in season-less pieces that will stand the test of time. Solid wood ages beautifully, for example, so is worth the initial shock of the high price tag.

Also ditch “trendy” furniture. “Money screams, wealth whispers,” explains Dean. “People are steering away from brand-monogrammed pieces and opting instead for understated, well-made pieces that celebrate craftsmanship.”

Lean into “slow furniture”, and aim to buy less, but buy better. “Pieces that are high in quality with a timeless design will give an instant 'upmarket' feel without needing to shout about it,” explains Mills.

Layering is key to bring together an interior palette that's complemented with lighting, acoustics, biophilia and the right tech
Pallavi Dean

At its heart, quiet luxury is not about copying what someone else has done, but rather carefully elevating elements that are important to you.

Dean also explains it is crucial to keep the needs of the family in mind when reworking a house or space. “When we design, we don't start with a style or mood. Instead, we start with empathy,” she says.

“Who are the users, what are their needs, and what does their home need to be for them? Does it double up as a workspace, a gym or an entertainment hub? Start with questions, and that should set the overall mood,” Dean explains.

Think about how you use your home

Dean recommends investing in the key items that you really need. “Don't compromise on pieces you spend the most time on, such as the main living room sofa and your bed.”

She recommends examining how the home is actually used. “This may look different for you. Maybe you love spas, so you should focus on your bathrooms,” says Dean.

The big picture is for everything to look like it has been slowly collected over the years, and Dean has found a clever method to replicate this.

“One key trick we use is layering, bringing together an interior palette that's complemented with lighting, acoustics, biophilia and the right tech,” she explains.

This can be as simple as placing an antique side lamp on a modern table, or placing the stereo on top of an intricately inlaid console. Perhaps throw a chunky knitted throw over the back of the sofa, or have your dining room chairs reupholstered in calming but mismatched vintage fabrics.

The secret to interiors that exude quiet luxury is to create a space that is serene, so you feel right at home.

Updated: May 22, 2024, 9:26 AM