Residential design is dynamic, expressive and quintessentially personal, not only for homeowners but also for the professionals who help to embody and empower their diverse lifestyles. As a result, the modern lexicon of the industry includes an array of “design dialects” that aim to capture and interpret the active, multifaceted lifestyles at work (and play) in today’s home spaces. One of the most exciting design dialects of the 21st century has been an evolving expression of “Lived-in Luxury,” which effortlessly embues high-end spaces with a sense of interactive charm.
In contrast to the philosophy of “out with the old, and in with the new,” Lived-in Luxury embraces the juxtaposition of both old and new elements in an effort to reflect the best of both paradigms. Those who speak in these terms focus on an artful blending of some of the key markers of both traditional and modern design aesthetics, creating spaces that exhibit magazine-worthy flair without sacrificing the realities of everyday life. This enables homes to feel both cozy and couture at the same time.
Think of the Magnolia brand portfolio from Joanna and Chip Gaines, who popularized the trend of contemporary farmhouse style by integrating rugged and worn textures throughout the home. Their approach showcases a range of alluring design choices without losing sight of the fact that homes are meant to be inhabited once the photo shoots are finished.
Defining the Dialect
As a broader set of priorities and principles for designers to leverage, Lived-in Luxury encapsulates this contemporary farmhouse aesthetic and many others, and it completely redefines the concept of “luxury” in the process. At the heart of this design dialect are three key attributes working in harmony:
Fresh, Bright Colors
There is a distinctive lightness to Lived-in Luxury as an expressive design dialect, both in terms of its strategic use of natural lighting and in the incorporation of bright color tones and thoughtful contrasts throughout a space. This palette encompasses the stark white and saturated darker hues that often characterize modern design, while also adding warm accents from the natural world and introducing an inspiring mix of energetic notes that liven up the visual experience.
In both exterior and interior applications, Lived-in Luxury spaces pull in rich, multilayered hues of stone, wood or even metal to connect the built environment with the outside world. Designers step away from monochromatic walls and window treatments in favor of a more detailed exploration of entire color families, particularly on the lighter end of the spectrum. Creams, ivories and tawny eggshell mix and mingle with intricate layers of greys, greens and browns, while furnishings and finishing touches add expressive pops of color to give spaces an engaging sense of personality.
In addition to artfully combining nature-inspired color palettes, Lived-in Luxury embraces rich textures and surfaces that you can almost feel with just a glance. Before your fingers provide the familiar comfort of tactile engagement, your eyes begin to scour every detail of a visual feast that includes rustic walls and furnishings, semi-plush family seating areas and outdoor conversation spaces that beckon guests to sit for hours. Personalized artistic embellishments and fresh greenery liven up the ambiance as well.
The experience begins outside, where evocative roofing and siding materials on the home façade pair with lush, living landscapes. Inside the home, live edge wood tabletops, artistic glasswork and lighting fixtures, and architectural stone or brick profiles combine to add an element of “perfect imperfection.” Over the course of the day, these natural and nature-inspired textures transform as filtered sunlight dances over depth patterns with the passing hours.
Utility and Usability
Most importantly, these spaces are meant to be lived in. In today’s luxury market, we’re seeing less emphasis on securing the most expensive and over-the-top elements, such as marble, gold and untouchably priceless works of art. Now, the push is to imbue a space with the perfect sense of style and elevate its appeal while also showcasing its lived-in-ness.
For most people, our homes are not meant to be treated as museums. Alive in their own right, they serve as the anchor points of our experiences, from scribbles and stuffed animals to lively dinner parties, growing families and pets. As such, our homes deserve to grow and change over time just as we do. Therefore, Lived-in Luxury incorporates the markers of an active lifestyle without losing the attention-grabbing allure of magazine-worthy design. This includes jaw-dropping dinner tables where meals are actually eaten and showpiece sofas you can literally sink into at day’s end.
Ultimately, Lived-in Luxury is all about creating harmony in both the design and function of life’s most expressive spaces. Within the developing lexicon of 21st century design, it’s an exciting dialect that reconciles exceptional aesthetics and day-to-day comforts. In short, it’s a beautiful blend of homespun and high-end design, making every space in the home one you’ll want to linger in a while longer.
As Director of Marketing and Portfolio Management, Sarah has successfully coupled her design talents with business acumen to refresh, refine and distinctly position five standout brands in the North American market and abroad. She continues to provide design direction for the brands’ variety of best-selling modern profiles and trend-forward color palettes while enhancing the prestige of the category among masons, builders, designers, architects and consumers.