Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Quiet Luxury?
"Money talks, wealth whispers." That aphorism could now be considered the manifesto of the quiet luxury aesthetic. Whether it started to build after we all binge-watched Succession or grew from the runway shows of Loro Piana, Bottega Veneta, and Gabriela Hearst, the buzz around quiet luxury is getting louder and louder. While the concept of quiet luxury can't be categorized as a design trend (the desire to celebrate the finer things in life, with no logos in sight, has been around for ages), it's all anyone can talk about. But what does it mean for the home? And more importantly, how can it be achieved (trust fund or not)?
Shea McGee of Studio McGee explains, "Quiet luxury is about subtleties and elevated materials, letting the quality be the defining element of the room versus a particular style or aesthetic."
Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors and Kate Marker Home agrees, "It's all about valuing and investing in high-quality materials that will have long-term appeal and defy trends—it is authentic yet understated."
This summer, quiet luxury snuck up on louder trends like Barbicore and coastal grandmother, in a stealthy but successful takeover that applauds aesthetics that are consistent throughout the decades. There is a pull to return to the days where quality was prioritized over the fleeting trends that come and go. As House Beautiful's Next Wave designer, DuVäl Reynolds puts it, "Quiet luxury refers to a more intimate approach to our experience with possessions, meaning, our personal interest outweighs public approval." In other words, no one wants to be that Bridget with the ludicrously capacious bag.
The Key Features of Quiet Luxury
As explained by McGee, quiet luxury in home design centers on superior materials that can be highly layered or bold in color. The idea is that these materials—warm wood, silk, velvet—hold a timeless quality that will retain their beauty through time and trends.
Quiet luxury is all about the details. "Similar to Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy's fashion sense, quiet luxury is a minimal color palette of rich fabrics and natural materials that hold their beauty in a less-is-more approach," Marker explains.
Any room centered on quiet luxury has the gift of presence, each object playing its role to perfection without stealing the show. According to the architecture and interiors firm, Purple Cherry, quiet luxury focuses on textures, limited prints, classic lighting, and natural materials. "The idea is to create a cohesive grouping of materials and color tones without any boldness," says Cathy Purple Cherry.
How Quiet Luxury Shows Up in Home Design
"Not every room requires a focal point. Not every space demands to be 'current' or 'on trend'," DuVäl explains. In other words, quiet luxury is here to say you can tell the story of your home without going overboard in color or adding an Hermès blanket to every corner of your space.
Ironically, quiet luxury speaks before you do; it makes a hushed, seen but unseen statement that urges you to peer closer. The decor brought into your home has to be more than beautiful and functional—the more personal, the better. And if you choose to incorporate something eye-catching or trendy, the quiet luxury of the surroundings creates an illusion that fast design will last in your space. (Think of high-low dressing, pairing a bold scarf or fun faux jewelry with an elegant black dress that elevates everything it touches.)
To achieve this look, DuVäl advises, "Clients can focus more on the quality and craftsmanship of furniture and decor, rather than price point and ease of accessibility."
Is Quiet Luxury the Same as Minimalism?
Short answer? No. "It is unpretentious yet highly considered to create something truly special, rather than minimal design which tends to be sparing. Quiet luxury has all the components of a layered and thought-out home without feeling overly done or cluttered," says Brittany Hakimfar of Far Studio.
Treading between minimalism and maximalism, quiet luxury proves that simplicity takes true skill. Balance and restraint are key. "Paring down and editing can be one of the hardest parts of design; it requires just as much work to refine selections and focus on subtleties as it does to go maximal," McGee explains.
Interior designer, Kate Lester agrees, "Quiet luxury is more about the thought process behind the selection of each piece. It’s about who made the pieces, and how and where they are made."
I Get It, But How Do I Do It?
If you're thinking, "This trend is all well and good—if you're a millionaire," rest assured that quiet luxury is more provenance than price point. Here's how to get the look:
• Choose custom and personalized rather than clicking on the same item all your friends also picked out. You can do this on a budget by scouring flea markets and thrift stores.
• Go old, not bold. Our experts suggest shopping vintage, leaning into the thrill of searching high and low for a precious piece you can keep in your home for a lifetime.
• Invest in art you love. It doesn't have to be pricey, just something you want to look at for decades. Lester suggests incorporating a gallery wall into your space; he loves creating these with original artwork and items the client collected throughout the years. "One-of-a-kind and bespoke items are key—and pieces that tell a story or spark a conversation," Lester states, even if it's one carried on in hushed tones.
Love learning what designers are obsessing over? Us, too. Let’s obsess over them together.
Raise the volume in your home with designs that honor craftsmanship and encourage you to pause and appreciate the beautiful things you choose to bring into your space. Hakimfar says, "Design is a luxury, and what better place to spend your money and enjoy luxuries than in your own home?"
SHOP QUIET LUXURY
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