The quiet luxury trend is clapping back on the pandemic era’s boom of maximalist interiors. While many of us still gravitate toward dopamine-inducing colors and squiggly shapes, a new iteration of minimalism is setting in. Inspired by cultural moments like Sofia Richie Grainge’s South of France wedding, the widespread popularity of Succession, and not many are calling it out, but the uniforms of many of the biggest tech giants—yes, Elizabeth Holmes’ black turtleneck counts—quiet luxury is anything but silent in our design-obsessed world. And though these examples may evoke an emotive understanding, the specifics of the aesthetic are a bit harder to trace.
For answers and insights, we looked to some of the biggest designers in the game. Below, our three experts share the ins and outs of the quiet luxury trend. From tracing its rise to popularity to essential pieces to styling tips for bringing the trend home, consider this your comprehensive guide to all things quiet luxury.
Featured image courtesy of Kate Marker.
The Design Experts
Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors and Kate Marker Home. Kate is the founder and owner of Kate Marker Interiors, a residential interior design firm, and Kate Marker Home, which offers a hand-picked selection of furniture, home decor, rugs, & lighting
Caitlin Kah of Caitlin Kah Interiors. Caitlin Kah is a Palm Beach-based interior designer whose fresh and livable interiors range from traditional to contemporary. She has worked with diverse clientele on an eclectic mix of residential and commercial projects across the U.S. and abroad.
Alexandra Epstein, Lead Interior Designer at Purple Cherry Architects. A graduate of The Art Institute—where Alexandra deepened her innately instilled appreciation for beautiful things, art, and composition—she has gone on to create a diverse portfolio of projects. Whether contemporary or traditional in style, Alexandra’s ability to create well-curated spaces to be lived in and enjoyed is evident.
What is quiet luxury? How would you describe the aesthetic and what words define it?
“Quiet luxury is more of a state of mind,” according to Epstein. Standing as an aesthetic that bridges fashion and home décor, she describes quiet luxury as a “refined elegance.” To capture the entirety of the trend, designers stray from anything extravagant, garish, or gaudy. Luxury is only half of the moniker—curating an understated color scheme featuring “a neutral palette filled with luxurious textures” is the easiest way to allow the aesthetic to come through.
Marker’s definition builds on this, emphasizing a “restrained sense of warmth and elegance.” Essentially, the easiest way to create quiet luxury is to allow pieces to speak for themselves. Kah adds that luxury comes forth in paying attention to the tactile quality of your space: “layered textiles, soft ambient lighting, luxuriously comfortable upholstery, fluffy bedding, and soft rugs underfoot” are all key components to keep in mind when curating quiet luxury in your home.
Quiet luxury has swiftly taken the design world by storm. What accounts for its influence and what is driving the trend?
Kah is quick to cite our collective need to come home to a relaxing, calming space. “By limiting pattern and color, we can recharge in a more restful way,” says the designer.
If we zoom out, however, we can see how the cultural zeitgeist gets communicated in this understated aesthetic. According to Epstein, “quiet luxury has always had a presence.” Everything from Succession to Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski accident court case has brought the trend into the mainstream. But perhaps even more compelling is how the appeal is communicated across social media. “Fashion and home influencers have presented it as very streamlined and easily accessible,” she notes. And the most widespread representation of quiet luxury? The ubiquitous capsule wardrobe, where creams, blacks, navy, and whites reign supreme.
Quiet luxury also raises the question of design longevity. “Investing in pieces that stand the test of time requires careful consideration,” says Marker. The residual benefit of adopting quiet luxury, whether in your wardrobe or home, is that it opens up your budget for pieces you’ll love for a lifetime.
What would you consider essential quiet luxury pieces?
There are a few key pieces that instantly communicate quiet luxury. In fashion, Epstein loves a classic ballet flat, structured black bag, “sweaters in a variety of neutral tones,” and a gold bangle. (Essentially describing every outfit we’ve wanted to copy in every Nancy Meyers movie ever.) Translating the aesthetic to the home, she suggests investing in the following:
- a wool throw
- a leather-bound accessory (i.e., a box, desk blotter, tray, etc.)
- a gold framed wall or floor mirror
- wooden picture frames
Marker’s quiet luxury favorites span larger pieces and adept details. “A well-upholstered sofa, linen or high thread count bedding, custom window treatments, a plush wool rug, and a distinguished vintage piece that tells a story.”
What styling tips can you share to bring the trend home?
Epstein’s tips emphasize the restraint inherent in quiet luxury. “Stick to a neutral palette, use textures to tell a story, keep with classic lines, and mix in found antiques.” While quiet luxury communicates minimalism, it’s important to be intentional about everything you bring into your home. She underscores the importance of bringing an old-world feel to the space, making it feel “clean but curated, lived in but refined.”
Quiet luxury is clean but curated, lived in but refined.
Marker agrees with the appreciation for older pieces, weaving in new accents here and there to create interest. She adds that materials and textures play a key role in creating quiet luxury and encourages opting for antique brass finishes “that provide a glow to add warmth to a space.”
I love Kah’s approach: she starts with a luxurious throw and curates a quiet luxury landscape from there. She’s all about emphasizing the simplicity of the aesthetic, encouraging homeowners to opt for crisp towels in the bathroom and beautiful candles. Whether translating quiet luxury to your home or wardrobe, think: easy elegance, always.