Why ‘quiet luxury’ is a trend worth shouting about

Luxury for homes is being redefined and the result is both understated and sophisticated.

It is called ‘quiet luxury’, but the buzz around this lifestyle trend is getting louder. The term is increasingly mentioned through news outlets, on social media and in A-list celebrity fashion circles.  

We will explore what quiet luxury is, why we think it’s a good thing and how we can reap the benefits of the style’s high-quality mindset in our homes, without the suggested ‘luxury’ price tag. 

Studio Dean Quiet Luxury Sitting RoomCredit: Studio Dean

What is quiet luxury?

It’s not about the price tag

At some point in our lives, we all discover that there is no truer luxury than time. And this is an excellent starting point for understanding what quiet luxury means in the context of our homes. It is about taking the time to cultivate a calm space that demonstrates understated elegance and the kind of refined simplicity that you only get from quality materials and superior craftsmanship. 

We turned to a design expert, Cathy Dean, CEO of Studio Dean, to shed some more light on this new interior design movement. Interestingly, Dean says, it actually isn’t new at all. “Studio Dean has been championing ‘quiet luxury’ for years; for us it isn’t a trend, it is our signature style, although we’ve always called it ‘relaxed glamour’! 

“These days, luxury doesn’t mean shiny bling and designer labels. It is starting to mean quality and a sense of wellbeing. To us, quiet luxury means that nothing is too ‘glam’, nothing shows off, nothing shouts – but everything speaks to you, welcomes you in, invites you to sit down for a cuppa and everything feels right. 

Studio Dean Quiet Luxury bathroomCredit: Studio Dean

“We achieve quiet luxury through our use of materials, which must be as high quality and natural as possible. Metallics have a matt finish and are paired with raw woods, stones, rustic finishes and sit in a neutral palette.” 

Dean tells us that a simple way to achieve quiet luxury is to style quality homeware in a relaxed way. “For example, propping artwork against the wall makes a space feel more relaxed than ‘put-together’ but formal hung displays. Or we’ll take a luxurious master suite, then soften it with raw linen bedding and mismatched cushions. In the living room, textured throws are literally thrown and not folded and placed. This reduces that sense of perfection and encourages you to simply enjoy a space.  

Dean believes that quiet luxury is not how much you spend, nor how shiny it is. “It is how it makes you feel; a soft linen bedsheet that feels amazing after a hot bath; a comfortable chenille chair as you devour a book; the perfect light level in your living room for an evening relaxing with your favourite Netflix show,” she says. “They are all quiet. None of them show off’ as such, but they all add luxuries to your every day.” 

Using artisans to hand make something special, like a vase, for your home is the height of quiet luxury. Discover the joy of bringing artist-worthy floral displays into your home to step up the sophistication factor.

Why quiet luxury matters

Change is in the air

Couple sittingCredit: Shutterstock / Ljupco Smokovski

At the heart of it, the move towards quiet luxury in interiors is a philosophical re-shuffling of the decks. It’s an aesthetic reflection of our rapidly changing spheres of life – domestic, economic and even political. The trend has been heralded by a global pandemic, wobbly Western banks and a widespread cost-of-living crisis exacerbated by the first war in Europe in decades. 

We also now live in a prickly era when financial titans like Tesla’s Elon Musk or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg can very publicly have billions wiped off their wealth overnight with a single misstep.  

The result? We value our financial anonymity more than ever. 

‘Stealth wealth’ the desire to not flaunt our cash to the neighbours – helps us to enjoy what we have without making a public display of our finances. It is this culture (a quality lifestyle without obviously branded logos) that informs the quiet luxury interiors look. 

What are the key elements of quiet luxury?

Refined restraint sets the tone

Earth tonesCredit: Shutterstock / Wongsakorn Dulyavit

The universal rules to quiet luxury for interior spaces are still being written, but some key elements are emerging. 

1. Colours 

As you would imagine, soothing shades are at the heart of the quiet luxury movement. Choose a palette that reflects perfect Earth-inspired softness. Think light grey, beige and cream. Muted blues and greens are excellent for picking out woodwork and kitchen joinery. 

Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands, says: “Choosing the right shade of paint is key to creating a scheme with a sense of quiet luxury. We recommend richly pigmented, yet pared-back, tones to imbue your space with a feeling of luxury and calm.  

“Warm off-white paints like Chalk Farm No. 53 are timeless and versatile. Or choose muted tones that feel modern and stylish while adding a hint of colour to a space. Pale hues like Gentleman’s Pink No. 221, (a pale pink inspired by an English gentleman’s shirt) or a cooler paint, such as Mylands’ soft grey-blue Long Acre No. 102, are subtle and refreshing yet perfect for maintaining a luxurious atmosphere.” 

BedspreadCredit: Hicks and Hicks

2. Patterns

Highly contrasting motifs don’t have a huge role to play in the quiet luxury movement, but if approached thoughtfully you can still enjoy edited pattern appeal. Just be judicious with how you add them. A good example would be to lay an embossed bed throw on top of a neutral duvet cover.

Featured product

Antique Grey Empire Bedspread, Hicks and Hicks

RRP: £99

Antique Grey Empire Bedspread, Hicks and Hicks

3. Materials

It would be fair to say that the quality of materials is a defining point of the quiet luxury look, rather than any particular style or era-specific aesthetic. 

The supplest leather, sensational silk, warm wood and richest velvets in neutral tones give a timeless quality to your decor scheme. These materials feel inviting, rather than in-your-face opulent. They also defy trends and never go out of style. 

4. Classic lighting 

Classic, well-made lighting takes centre stage in many rooms that embrace the quiet luxury philosophy. These pieces aren’t trend led but are instead designed with a focus on longevity. Neutral materials and minimal detailing make for calm and refined illumination. 

Studio Dean vintage furnitureCredit: Studio Dean

5. Furniture

Pieces for your quiet luxury home are chosen with care. It is not about breaking the bank, but equally, purchases are not made strictly on cost considerations, either. If in doubt, think provenance over price point.

Flea markets and thrift shops are good places to find the features you will mix in with more precious furniture pieces. If budget permits, handmade and artisanal pieces by craftspeople, which can be treasured for generations, are the ultimate expression of quiet luxury living. 

6. No bold focal point

Forget everything you heard about needing a bold central statement in each room. That is not what quiet luxury is about. Instead, you are aiming to create a harmonious whole, where nothing is loudly vying for attention. So, no dramatic feature walls or loud, stand out art pieces. The focus, instead, is on uninterrupted quality. 

What brands are considered quiet luxury?

The names to know

Credit: Arteriors

It helps to know the crème de la crème of quiet luxury brands in order to gain a true appreciation of the aesthetic. The look first took hold within luxury fashion houses before gently spilling into our homes. From the world of apparel, a handful of high-end brands most aligned with the quiet luxury aesthetic are Loro Piana, Bottega Veneta, Jill Sander and Brunello Cucinelli. 

Their counterparts in the luxury interiors world would include the likes of de Le Cuona, Holly Hunt and Arteriors.

However, as we’ve explained, quiet luxury can be attainable for all, as Saga Exceptional editor-in-chief for Homes Amy Cutmore explains: “To me, quiet luxury is all about quality basics that I know will stand the test of time – the towels that will stay fluffy, the speaker system you can upgrade to be compatible with the latest streaming tech or the saucepans that, a decade on, still look as good as the day you bought them. It also speaks of product ranges with longevity – where if a glass gets smashed, a pillowcase stained or a plate cracked, you know you will be able to pick up a replacement. 

“Among my favourite quiet luxury brands are KitchenAid (my stand mixer is still going strong after 20 years), The White Company (for bedding), Pooky (for lighting), Neptune (for furniture and accessories), Denby (for tableware) and Liberty (for those iconic fabrics and effortless taste-making in general).” 

Featured product

Shard Chandelier, Pooky

RRP: £475

Shard Chandelier, Pooky

Featured product

Beth Webb Seagrass Pendant, Arteriors

RRP: £2,239

Beth Webb Seagrass Pendant, Arteriors

Can I try quiet luxury on a budget?

Where to find the best buys to get the sophisticated look

1. Toast

Quiet luxury on a budget is certainly doable if you know where to look and are discerning about what products make the cut. 

We asked our interiors editors and writers, myself included, to share the high-quality but low price-point homeware brands that can make a room look expensive. They even give a tip on a top product you can purchase now that won’t cost the earth. 

2. My Furniture

Rosanna Spence, our Homes staff writer, takes her quiet luxury cues from her Turkish upbringing.  

‘Growing up in a Turkish household, we often favoured these light, Turkish-style towels over a thick, fluffy type. Towels that dry quicker don’t accumulate that damp, musty smell. It’s as simple as that. We used them as bath towels in the summer, hand towels year-round, and smaller, older ones became handy tea towels. They’re light to pack for the beach on holiday, and can double up as a sarong and sun lounge cover.  

‘This Toast handwoven towel hits those neutral tones quiet luxury is known for. The cotton is kind to your skin and the delicate detailing adds an extra subtle luxurious flourish (though it’s unlikely you’ll ever see me using this particular towel drying dishes in the kitchen).’ 

Featured product

Hand Woven Jamdani Summer Towel, Toast

RRP: £49

Hand Woven Jamdani Summer Towel, Toast

3. The White Company

Even when working with big budgets, it is very important to know the mid-priced brands designing furniture with a firm eye on the luxury market. 

My Furniture is a go-to for design-led pieces that can be seamlessly paired with investment pieces and look high quality as well. 

One area the brand excels in is sofas. Good looking, non-luxury priced sofas can sometimes be hard to come by and this company creates some neutral looks that appear to be more expensive than they actually are.  

Featured product

Herbie Three Seat Sofa in Chalk. My Furniture

RRP: £999.99

Herbie Three Seat Sofa in Chalk. My Furniture

Sarah Harley, staff writer for Homes, shares expert shopping strategies that will transform your bedroom into a quiet luxury retreat. 

“Although you may hear the term ‘quiet luxury’ and associate it with expensive, it’s easy to achieve the look using well-known brands that consistently embrace a soft and timeless approach to design. My go-to for creating a quiet luxury bedroom look is The White Company. The brand’s palette of whites and neutrals is perfect for designing a soothing bedroom sanctuary.  

“As well as providing wonderful aesthetics, the quality of its products is unquestionable. For a great starting point, I love the Sherborne Bed Linen range. With a soft oyster or white border, it’s easy to add layers of neutral throws, bedspreads, cushions and a linen buttoned headboard for that dreamy quiet luxury bedroom look.” 

Featured product

Sherborne Bed Linen Collection, The White Company

RRP: from £24.50

Sherborne Bed Linen Collection, The White Company

4. Zara Home

Amy Cutmore is always pointing friends and family towards the classy and timeless pieces you can find at Zara Home. “I’m always surprised that more people don’t know about Zara’s homeware, given its fashion arm is so famous for its ‘designer-esque’ clothing at high-street prices,” she says. 

“Make a beeline for its rustic lighting – its ceramic table lamps are especially divine and look much more expensive than they actually are. The linen bedding and crisp white porcelain tableware also hit the quiet luxury brief.” 

Right now, Amy is ‘quietly’ excited about Zara Home’s ash and seagrass furniture: “If you’ve yet to find the perfect breakfast bar stool (a job that’s trickier than it looks, let me tell you), this range has just the thing, in natural or black ash with a seagrass woven seat,” she enthuses. “There’s a definite Shaker vibe that ensures it will work well with classic kitchen cabinetry. The benches have also made my wishlist – I’m thinking of one for the hall and one for the bedroom.” 

Featured product

Ash and seagrass bench, Zara Home

RRP: £269.99

Ash and seagrass bench, Zara Home

5. Bang & Olufsen

Jayne Cherrington-Cook, our senior editor for Home Tech, naturally feels quiet luxury starts with the most expensive looking gadgets. 

“When it comes to home tech, you can’t beat Bang & Olufsen. Yes, it’s expensive but it produces stylish looking tech that also works amazingly well. Its products don’t scream tech and in fact, look like luxurious accessories. If money was no object, I’d definitely buy one of the brand’s TVs. 

“However, in the world, I’m going to treat myself for my 50th birthday this year to a Bang & Olufsen waterproof speaker, which comes in many quiet luxury colours, such as beige and gold. I’m going for the pale pink to match my bathroom decor for that luxurious monochrome look.”

Featured product

Waterproof Bluetooth speaker, Bang & Olufsen

RRP: £239

Waterproof Bluetooth speaker, Bang & Olufsen

Written by Joy Archer she/her