Sustainability, open spaces and modern design influence interior luxury styles

Art pieces on surfaces such as this bookshelf elevate luxury homes.
Courtesy Alisa Messeroff Photography

Luxury homes often present a creative challenge for interior designers.

Homeowners expect quality, timeless designs with elegant finishes that still feel homey. While they have their likes and dislikes, luxury homeowners often have a hands-off approach to designing their home, allowing designers to unleash their creative side. 

Megan Thompson, who owns Spark Interiors, said she always starts the luxury design process with an extensive interview with the homeowners. Often, her luxury homeowners want to know they are going to get what they pay for.

“These are the most expensive things people do — their homes,” she said. “They want to know that it’s timeless, it’s going to last, they’re not going to have to replace something in three years.”

Sheer Interiors owner and lead designer Melissa Parr agreed with Thompson. 

“(Luxury homeowners) are looking for furniture that is unique and is a higher quality. It’s more durable. It’s completely made of wood,” Parr said. “It has that gravitas to it that people really value.”

Parr said she has noticed a trend towards mountain modern designs in Summit County. 

“It’s almost a cross between modern and Scandinavian, but it tends to have rustic touches,” she said. “Mountain modern definitely incorporates raw wood, but you have clean lines, low-back furniture, so that it feels more wide-open.”

Melissa Parr arranges a bookshelf in one or her clients’ homes. Parr said mountain modern has become an increasingly popular design style in Summit County.
Courtesy of Alisa Messeroff Photography

Mountain modern designs often involve matte black or matte gold finishes for hardware in the kitchen and the bathroom with wide-plank, white oak flooring, Parr said. 

“It’s definitely got the feeling of modern, but you bring in those rustic touches through the raw wood,” she said. 

Thompson said she’s also noticed a shift to the mountain modern design. 

“It is becoming much more modern, which I love because that’s just my favorite style,” she said. “There’s this really nice play with modern and a good balance with Colorado, utilizing the textures like stone, wood and metals but in a modern, simplified way so it’s not the wild, Wild West.”

Thompson said she’s also noticed homeowners leaning toward more dramatic touches in design. Both Thompson and Parr mentioned quartz countertops as being a popular choice in kitchens. 

“They want to do this really dramatic island waterfall, and we’re finding just this awesome slab,” Thompson said. “We’re using the most dramatic thing that we can for the island.”

Thompson said she’s noticed a shift toward sustainability and advanced technology such as touchless appliances and smart home features.

“Those things do cost a bit more,” she said. “So when you’re in that luxury clientele and in that market, you have the ability to reach for that and do those things.”

Parr said a lot of what is considered luxury starts with the architecture of the home. Many luxury clients value open spaces, tall ceilings and beautiful views. 

“They tend to have taller baseboards, they have taller doors, higher-end door hardware,” she said. “Beams, I think is definitely a big one because it gives attention to taller ceilings, which is usually an interior architecture detail that tends to be in a luxury home.” 

Melissa Parr uses various accents when designing to give her homes a luxury feel.
Courtesy of Melissa Parr

Luxury design isn’t reserved for the wealthy. Parr and Thompson said people can achieve a luxury look on a budget. 

It’s smart to start with small things, however, as making more permanent changes can cause regret later. 

“If there’s something really trendy right now, do those in your accents,” Thompson said. “Don’t go replacing everything and painting your cabinets grey because, in five years, it won’t be cool anymore.”

Thompson and Parr suggested replacing things like pillows, lighting, curtains and kitchen hardware to elevate a space. Interior designers aren’t reserved for the wealthy either, Parr said. 

“Working with a professional interior designer can definitely achieve the luxurious look without being super expensive,” she said.

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