Chalet style is a classic type of architecture and decor that originates from the Swiss Alps. It focuses on rustic simplicity with a bit of luxury. The use of large windows and natural materials fosters a connection with nature that makes it perfect for full time living and vacation getaways.
Welcome to the Mountain/Chalet home decor style guide where you can see photos of all interiors in the Mountain/Chalet style including kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, foyers, and more.
Table of Contents
- Mountain/Chalet Style Homes (Exteriors)
- 1. Log and Stone Colorado Ski Chalet with Great Room
- 2. Villa Casa Nova
- 3. 5 Bedroom Log Home Ski Chalet with Great Room
- 4. Startling Fjallhuset Mountain Home by pS Arkitektur
- 5. Old River Farm Residence
- 6. Single-Story 5-Bedroom New American Mountain Ranch for a Wide Lot with 4-Car Garage and a Wet Bar
- 7. Two-Story 4-Bedroom Mountain Ranch Home with Angled Garage and Upstairs Bonus Room
- 8. 4-Bedroom Two-Story Mountain Home with Expansive Outdoor Living and Balcony
- 9. Two-Story 3-Bedroom Mountain Style Home
- 10. 4-Bedroom Single-Story Mountain Craftsman Home with a Bar
- Mountain/Chalet Style Interior Examples (by Room)
- Mountain/Chalet Style Home Landscaping
- What Are Mountain/Chalet-style houses?
- Interior Features
- Exterior Features
- Furniture style
- Styles that Mix Well with It
- Brief Historic Overview
- Why it looks great
Mountain/Chalet Style Homes (Exteriors)
Check out these spectacular homes showcasing the Mountain/Chalet style homes.
1. Log and Stone Colorado Ski Chalet with Great Room
This is a close look at the back of the mountain-style home that has mosaic stone pillars, large glass walls, and dark wooden shiplap walls. These are complemented by the warm glow of the house and the landscape.
2. Villa Casa Nova
This is an aerial view of the front of the house showcasing the frozen landscape with tall trees and a sweeping view of the mountains. These make the earthy exterior walls and glass walls of the house stand out.
3. 5 Bedroom Log Home Ski Chalet with Great Room
This is a close look at the front exterior of the mountain chalet-style house that has textured mosaic stone base walls and rustic log beams on its exterior walls along with log pillars that go well with the arched glass windows and glass doors.
4. Startling Fjallhuset Mountain Home by pS Arkitektur
This is a close look at the exterior of this mountain home that has textured dark exterior walls that are almost black in contrast with the surrounding snowy landscape and tall trees. These also contrast the wooden main door.
5. Old River Farm Residence
This is a full view of the back of the massive mountain chalet that has has an abundance of glass walls complemented by the wooden accents and mosaic stone walls. These are also complemented by the lush landscaping of grass lawns, flowering shrubs and a large pond.
6. Single-Story 5-Bedroom New American Mountain Ranch for a Wide Lot with 4-Car Garage and a Wet Bar
This is a front view of the house exterior that has a large grass lawn. This contrasts the concrete driveway, decorative rocks, and the earthy dark stone base of the house mirrored by the dark roof materials.
7. Two-Story 4-Bedroom Mountain Ranch Home with Angled Garage and Upstairs Bonus Room
This is a close look at the front of the mountain chalet home with an asphalt driveway leading to wooden garage doors. This diverges to a concrete walkway leading to the main door that has wooden accents and beams complemented by the colorful shrubs.
8. 4-Bedroom Two-Story Mountain Home with Expansive Outdoor Living and Balcony
This is a full view of the back of the mountain chalet home with rustic shiplap exterior walls complemented by the warm glow of the large glass walls and windows. These are then augmented by the stone mosaic pillars and base walls.
9. Two-Story 3-Bedroom Mountain Style Home
This is a close look at the mountain-style home with earthy brown wooden shiplap exterior walls accented with black details, roofs, and frames of doors and windows. These are then complemented by the glass windows, railings, and the large stone mosaic chimney.
10. 4-Bedroom Single-Story Mountain Craftsman Home with a Bar
This is a look at the back of the mountain chalet-style home with stone mosaic pillars that support the large terrace patio above the graveled soil planted with shrubs. This transitions into a grass lawn that pairs well with the earthy tones of the house.
Mountain/Chalet Style Interior Examples (by Room)
The following are photo examples of Mountain/Chalet style interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive Mountain/Chalet style photo galleries for each room.
This is a close look at the living room that has a large mosaic stone fireplace on one side and a large glass wall on the other that brings in natural lights for the brown leather sofa set and wooden coffee table on the patterned area rug.
This large kitchen has dark wooden cabinetry along the walls on the opposite side of the dark wood kitchen island paired with dark brown leather upholstered stools and topped with dome pendant lights.
This is a close look at the dining area a few steps from the living room and kitchen. The dining has a large dark wood dining table surrounded by upholstered dining chairs and topped with a wrought iron chandelier.
This bedroom has a large wooden traditional bed topped with an arched wooden shiplap ceiling with exposed beams and a wrought-iron chandelier. The bedroom also has a corner fireplace and glass doors.
This is a close look at the primary bathroom with a two-sink vanity with dark wooden drawers and cabinets across from the bathtub that leads to the glass-enclosed shower area on the far side with beige tiles on the walls and floor.
Upon entry into the house, you are welcomed by this foyer with mosaic stone walls that go well with the hardwood flooring, wrought-iron railings, and wooden steps of the staircase. These are then topped with a tall ceiling that hangs a pendant light over the patterned area rug.
Mountain/Chalet Style Home Landscaping
This is a view of the house exterior from the vantage of the large concrete driveway showcasing the warm glow of the house’s windows and balconies. These are then complemented by the landscaping of tall pine trees, mosaic stone walls, and outdoor lights.
What Are Mountain/Chalet-style houses?
Chalet houses originally came from the Swiss Alps. They were once used to describe any small home that was on a mountain. These mountainside homes were often small and built from naturally available materials. The style came to America in the 1800s, courtesy of architect Andrew Johnson Downing.
Traditionally, chalets are a-frame homes and timber planks are typically used for construction. This is often known as clapboard or weatherboard, depending on the region. The exterior was traditionally painted with murals or mock architectural elements. Today, they often have a natural wood look, similar to a log cabin. However, some chalets are painted in pastel colors.
Chalet’s have a front gable, instead of the more typical side gable. The roofs have a low pitch, and are built to handle heavy snow loads typical of the mountains they originate from. They often include two or three stories that project out over the first, generous porches, wooden railings, and deep eaves that protect the occupants and the home’s foundation from the harsh elements.
They are traditionally built from wood, similar to log cabins. However, they are built using boards, known as waterboarding, instead of logs. Perhaps the most notable and charming characteristic of a chalet is the way it blends in with nature. Few forms of architecture complement their natural surroundings in the way chalet’s do. This gives a natural and rustic feel that can make residents feel more connected to the earth, which can be very helpful in today’s modern fast-paced society.
Chalet interior features include:
- Wood and stone finishes, surfaces, and decorative elements
- Large unfinished wood ceiling beams
- Wood flooring
- Leather, wrought iron, and animal skins
- Cozy textiles
- Soft lighting
Chalets are one of the few types of interiors where it’s not possible to have too much would. Unpainted wood walls and raw wood floors would look out of place in most types of decor, but they are perfect for a chalet. Stone is another must-have, with a stone fireplace in the living room being a tape decorative and practical feature.
Chalet’s possess a rustic charm that varies slightly from their closest cousin, the cabin. Chalet’s are a bit more polished, decorative, or even upscale while still possessing a ruggedness that comes from the harsh climates they originated in.
Natural materials permeate every aspect of a chalet, from large raw ceiling beams that offer a warm and spacious feel to the leather furniture often chosen. Wrought iron fixtures and lamps also make their statement. Animal skins also help to bring the outdoors in. “Roughing it in luxury” might be the best way, to sum up, the interior design features of a chalet. You could consider them the original form of glamping.
Chalet’s are famous for fostering a connection to nature through their design. However, they also offer a lot in terms of comfort. The warmth doesn’t just radiate from the fireplace. It comes from the thick textiles and soft ambient lighting that are also signatures of modern chalets. Paired with the more rustic features, it creates a perfect balance of strength and softness.
Exterior features of chalet-style homes include:
- A-frame or rectangular
- Gabled low pitched roofs with deep overhang
- A second story that is wider than the first
- Balcony for two-story chalets
- Large windows
- Decorative carvings or moldings
Chalet’s may have an a-frame design or a more rectangular frame. A-frame types often have a steeply pitched roof, while rectangular style chalets have heavy roofs with a gentle slope Gables are common architectural features, as are deep eaves that help protect the home from the elements. They are often two-story, with the second story being wider than the first. A generous balcony is typically included as well.
Large windows make for breathtaking views and also bring in lots of natural light. This can be particularly important in the darker winter months because it makes good use of the available sunlight. It can also facilitate feeling more connected to nature, especially when paired with natural interior design.
Lastly, chalets often include decorative elements. Despite their rugged and rustic features, they also have sophistication. Ornamentation such as false architectural features or elaborate balconies is a natural fit for a chalet. Traditionally, natural colors were often used for the exterior of the chalet.
The modern chalet style is cozy, elegant, and surprisingly eclectic. There’s an abundance of rustic decor with a touch of luxury that sets it apart from the log cabin look. Connecting with nature is essential for the chalet style. Sofas should be oversized and plush. An oversized ottoman can add extra comfort. Rich browns or neutral leather is a perfect choice for upholstery. Add a club chair to provide a little more sophistication. Remember that when it comes to furniture, you want to provide comfort and warmth.
Examples of chalet-style furniture include:
American furniture classics loveseat
Ivory and teal distressed area rug
Chalet style cuckoo clock
Weathered gray end table
Weathered gray coffee table
Brown paisley recliner
Materials that are essential to chalet-style include:
- Cast or wrought iron
- Animal skins or furs (real or faux)
- Stone and granite
Wood is essential for any type of natural look. When it comes to chalet style, it’s best to stick with a warm tone that matches the overall feel of the home. This can be a rich dark brown or a honey-colored blonde. Furniture may accent the wood used for the building itself, and include weathered gray or reclaimed Barnwood furniture.
Cast or wrought iron can be used for balcony railings. However, it’s often used inside the home. Lamps and chandeliers made from wrought iron can add a touch of rugged elegance and easily become a statement piece. Glass tables may have wrought iron frames as well.
Antlers are a staple of the chalet mountain style. There are many surprisingly elegant ways to incorporate them into your home. Large wall hanging antlers, small lamps or even wall lighting fixtures made from antlers, and beautiful antler chandeliers are a few options to consider.
Animal skins and furs were commonly found in the original swiss chalets, and the trend continues today. Cozy fur rugs or throws and decorative animal skins are popular. If you aren’t comfortable with using real or faux furs, and skins, you can incorporate the trend by choosing animal prints or scenes for throw pillows, upholstery, or artwork.
Leather is often used in chalets due to its natural yet luxurious feel. It can add a sense of class as well as coziness. It can also be used in accent pieces.
Chalet style brings the outdoors in. Stone fireplaces or walls add texture, interest, and natural beauty. The colors found in stone are popular in chalet style as well. Granite or stone countertops and mantles can add to the natural feel.
Styles that Mix Well with It
The contemporary style mixes surprisingly well with the chalet look. Modern style can be masculine or feminine, or even youthful. It can be elegant and luxurious or a more minimalist style. If you would like to mix styles, consider a few accent pieces in a modern style to complement your chalet look.
Modern furniture can look great in a chalet, especially with a more minimalist design. This allows the natural beauty of the structure itself to take center stage, giving an up-to-date feel that works with the inherent characteristics of the chalet instead of against them.
Chalet decor offers a great opportunity to create a look that’s unique. Modern furniture with a few antique pieces, paired with neutral plush rugs make a statement that is timeless and sure to be enjoyed for many years to come.
The cottage or country chic look can also look great in a chalet. Add pastel colors, floral tapestries, and oriental patterned rugs to give the home a cozy feel. A traditional stone fireplace and a reclaimed wood table can go a long way towards making this look work for you.
Consider whimsical throw pillows, canopy beds, and handmade decorative pieces to complete the mountain cottage look. For lake or seaside chalets, consider adding ocean blue and seashell pieces to bring to tie in the natural environment in classic chalet style.
Brief Historic Overview
Chalet style was originally inspired by the mountain houses in the Eastern European Alps. Originally, the term chalet didn’t refer to a specific architecture. It was first used to describe the mountain-dwelling of a sheepherder, and then later to describe any small home in the Alps.
Interestingly, the fascination with the Swiss Alps and chalets may be traced back to a book. Julie, or the New Heloise: Letters of Two Lovers Living in a Small Town at the Foot of the Alps, written in 1761, contains breathtaking descriptions of the houses, lifestyle, and people who lived in the Alps. It’s thought that this book inspired the wave of tourism that caused European aristocrats, and eventually American architects, to fall in love with the chalet style.
Herders would spend the summer in the mountains, tending to their livestock, often dairy cattle or sheep. In the wintertime, they would bring the herd down into the lowlands to avoid the harsh winter months at higher altitudes. When tourism to the area began, the herders realized they could rent their chalets to tourists. Winter sports like skiing also became popular around this time, making the chalet-style synonymous with ski lodges.
Chalets began appearing in Europe in the late 1800s, with European nobles charmed by the simple life led by these mountain people. Chalet architecture became popular in Germany, Norway, Austria, Iceland, Sweden, England, and America.
Today chalets encompass everything from simple residences to luxury ski resorts. The size and luxury of chalets vary greatly, but they all possess the signature style that has captured the imagination for centuries.
The earliest record of a ski holiday chalet is 1932 when Erna Low put an ad in the London Times. She offered a full holiday experience, including travel to and from the chalet, food, ski lessons and equipment, and lessons in German.
These early ventures were far from the luxury chalet holidays enjoyed today, but some of the same elements remain. The joy of experiencing nature, hitting the slopes, and making new friends has endured. The architecture and warm atmosphere of chalets have also remained untouched even as accommodations have been vastly upgraded.
Why it looks great
Chalets are a perfect blend of simplicity and sophistication. They offer a touch of class and luxury with a very grounded feel. This makes them a perfect getaway, particularly for overwhelmed urban dwellers that want to experience what nature has to offer without giving up their creature comforts.
Chalet’s are timeless. In fact, features that were traditionally found in chalets have made their way into more modern architectural design. Large windows are often a trademark of modern architecture, but the chalet popularized them long before the 21st century.
They also evoke a sense of nostalgia. They can make even the most dedicated urbanite desire simpler times in simpler surroundings, like snowcapped peaks. They often spark a desire for the unspoiled wilderness.
Today chalets aren’t just found in the mountains. You’ll also see them in many rural areas, lakefronts, and even beaches. They seem perfectly at home anywhere nature is abundant. Chalet’s have a way of blending into their surroundings, whether they are pine trees or palm trees.
They become a part of the overall landscape. An extension and expression of it. Most homes are designed to stand out from their backdrop, but part of the charm of the chalet is how it works with its surroundings.
Chalet style encourages you to slow down. Reconnect with nature, and maybe even your heritage. The cozy and open design brings people together without feeling cramped. It allows friends and families to unplug from the fast lane and reacquaint themselves with each other. Whether you call a chalet home for a week or a lifetime, it evokes a special feeling that no other design can surpass.