It's Snowing Inside!

Winter, Summer & Spring Time, Too

Aspen, The Swiss or French Alps, Whistler-Blackcomb - what do they all have in common? Chalets. Well, and snow, too. People from all over the world flock to the high places in winter and early spring and avail themselves of the incredible beauty of the mountains. Skiing, snowboarding and hot-tubing with a cider in hand are the elements used to create wonderful memories in the fluffy white snow. But, chalets are more than winter hideouts for ski enthusiasts. They also provide a quiet and serene getaway in any season of the year, reflecting our need for the great escape from city life, business and the hustle-bustle of day-to-day routine.

What is it about a chalet that makes it so special? Perhaps it is the sense that even though you are sitting inside, you have the feeling of being outside. Huge windows opening onto magnificent views of jack pines and snow covered mountains, which reflect the brilliance of sun on crystal flakes, make sitting on an overstuffed sofa wrapped in a tartan blanket something to be savored. So, how do we bring this feeling back to "reality" with us?

Bringing It On Home

Actually, it isn't that difficult - no matter where you live. One thing to bear in mind is that in hot climates, the look can be a bit heavy since the usual furniture fare for the chalet style of decor is overstuffed chairs and cozy blankets. By using futons with pine frames, the bulk of heavy furniture is lightened and a room can easily be transformed without the massiveness of big furniture.

Outdoor Thinking

Since we often associate chalet life with wilderness settings like ski resorts, hunting lodges and the like, the general look is rustic and ties in with the great outdoors. We need to think in terms of nature and the more rustic the better. Classic woods used in chalet style decor are cedar, pine and aspen, all of which draw the woods indoors. Tables made of old barrels, barn wood and pine logs add depth and warmth to your room. If you need to keep things on the lighter side, stick to light colored pine and use twig table designs and an occasional chair made of thin branches and twigs for both interest and in keeping with the need to reduce heaviness.

Muted Colors and Soft Fabrics

Appropriate color schemes keep things in perspective. Incorporating the colors of nature which are warm, muted and earthy, echo the environment from which the design is taken. Moss, bark, stone, earth and water give birth to the color palette you will use. Keep things muted and avoid bright whites, white based tints and clear colors - it's important to soften the color with grey or brown in order to keep with the sense of mountain woods.

Fabric choices in the suggested colors will soften the hard edges of wood and stone in the decor. Tapestries and tartans are natural go-togethers with the chalet look, as are soft, fluffy skins and woolly blankets in muted reds and blues. This look will not only mute sound, but will warm the room, making you feel as though you are being held in a cozy grip.

Now, get that cup of cider and enjoy.