How to decorate a chalet style home to attract more guests

10 ski chalet interior design tips


Even before the first snow hits the ground, people start dreaming about and searching for their next winter escape. The ultimate getaway? A slopeside ski chalet with luxurious interiors as beautiful as the scene outdoors.

It’s no accident that certain ski chalets get booked over and over, year after year. Their homeowners mastered how to decorate a chalet style home like professional designers. Here, we dig into the fundamentals of chalet style that could entice more bookings and drive up your rental income.

(Don’t be surprised if your guests will be so excited to stay indoors they’ll hardly want to ski at all.)

kitchen of tahoe cabin with open layout and wood accents

1. Bring the outdoors in

Incorporating the natural elements right outside your door is the best starting point. Think rugged wood furniture, granite countertops, and stone floors. Beyond those materials, turn your attention to hues. Greens, browns, russets, and creamy whites are all reminiscent of snow falling on lush forests.

Also vital to set the scene—matching nature’s scale. Take a cue from the towering pine trees and soaring mountain summits. Look for furniture and pieces that are also robust and statuesque. No dainty furniture here. Ski chalet homes tend to have tall ceilings, so bringing in pieces that mirror the scale of natural elements will make your entire vacation rental feel well proportioned.

2. Create spaces to gather

After long ski runs, everyone in the group longs for the moment when they can sink into the sofa and relax or gather by the firepit sipping on hot toddies. So, make it easy for groups to come together après-ski. Invest in large, cozy sofas, a group of comfy armchairs, and oval dining tables that draw in conversation.

The goal: to comfort, warm, and soften the space to make it more inviting after a day battling the elements outdoors.

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Warm and soften the space to make it more inviting after a day battling the elements outdoors.
hearth of cabin in colorado with cozy couches and floor to ceiling windows

3. Capitalize on the view

No matter how show-stopping your ski chalet is, the highlight will always be the natural beauty outside. Leverage that. Create conversation areas near windows or out on the balcony (these spaces make for appealing vacation rental photos). Also, avoid heavy window treatments or dark curtains so guests can have uninterrupted views of the snow-covered landscapes.

4. Focus on the fireplace

Have a fireplace? Make it front and center. Rearrange your furniture to make the fireplace—not your TV—the focal point. Play it up even more by adding a minimal amount of decor on the mantle, such as faux pillar candles or greenery.

Then, provide a large stack of logs close by. They’ll double as rustic decor and kindling so guests are always ready for impromptu nights by the fire. All there’s left to do is pour the hot chocolate.

crisp and modern ski decor in steamboat springs

5. Bring in some glamour

Unlike mountain cabins that are meant as cozy, homey spaces, ski chalets are seen as luxurious and spacious retreats with room to roam. Make your chalet worthy of guests spending top dollar by adding touches of glamour. For instance, invest in an ornate chandelier for dramatic lighting or add metallic elements and mirrors to reflect light.

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bedroom decorated with modern ski chalet decor

6. Layer warm textures throughout

Keep this in mind: It’s always sweater weather to ski chalet guests. So, add dimension with plush, wintry textures. Think faux fur and oversized nubby knit throws draped over your sofas. Or, tartan pillows and quilted velvet in the bedrooms.

Help guests keep their feet warm by placing rugs throughout the living room and bedrooms. Look for rugs that are soft to the touch, but still easy to launder between stays.

7. Decorate walls with natural or ski-inspired art

Activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating are all part of the winter mountain experience. Bring those elements indoors with framed vintage ski and snow travel posters, by hanging old ice skates in the mudroom, or lacing tree boughs through a chandelier. Displaying antlers or vintage snowshoes is another easy way to add a refined, rustic appeal to your space.

8. Enhance your curb appeal

What’s charming outside will draw people in. Set a warm and welcoming scene outside your ski chalet, whether it’s raining or snowing when guests arrive. Before property photo shoots, the Vacasa team stages all of our homes inside and outside to take the best photos possible. Some decor ideas to spruce up your outdoors:

  • Place greenery, lanterns, or holly bushes on your front door steps.
  • Paint your doors a cheery shade, like red.
  • Invest in new address numbers so guests can easily find your home upon arrival.

Add weather resistant outdoor seating made of durable materials that support curb appeal.

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What’s charming outside will draw people in.
vacation rental with large ski storage room

9. Provide ski and snowboard storage

Avid outdoor enthusiasts will likely travel with their equipment, so give them a place to stow their gear. Look for solutions that can fit any size, profile, or binding type of ski and snowboard. Options include ski and snowboard racks or ventilated lockers that can be placed in the garage or basement.

10. Offer a designated mudroom to stash all other winter essentials

Guests will need a place to hang their wet, puffy jackets. Not to mention gloves, hats, and boots. Instead of a closet (wet items need plenty of space to dry), designate a portion of your entryway to serve as a mudroom. Put up hooks, shoe racks, and nice storage bins so guests will be less likely to track dripping items throughout the house.

Also, place a rug runner at your front door so you’re not left with muddy boot tracks.

Create the ultimate winter haven with these ski chalet decorating ideas. Your home will not only stand out among the competition, but also draw in more guests willing to indulge in a luxury mountain experience..

bedroom of steamboat springs, colorado vacation home with modern yet cozy decor

Ski chalet interior design FAQ

While both are typically found in mountain or lake destinations, cabins and chalets are two distinct types of homes. Generally tucked away in the woods, cabins are quaint standalone homes most often made from logs (though today they can be built from any material). Plus, they’re typically meant to be intimate, cozy retreats with just a single story.

On the other hand, chalets are often described as “mountain mansions,” thanks to their grand size and luxurious features and amenities. Think soaring ceilings, large fireplaces, and multiple stories and rooms. Chalets are typically closer to ski resorts and many offer ski-in/ski-out access.

Ski chalets were originally modeled after mountain homes found in the Swiss Alps, with wide balconies, a gently sloping roof, wide eaves, decorative wood details, and massive windows. Inside, there is generally a lot of room, with high beamed ceilings and plenty of natural light. A fireplace is a big vocal point of the living space. Modern ski chalets may forego the original Swiss silhouette, but still offer the grand architecture and space.

Not much can compare to the cozy warmth of a log cabin in the woods. Here are some ways to decorate a cabin to command a higher rate and attract more guests:

  • Let Mother Nature drive your design.
  • Use mirrors and light-colored decor to brighten a cabin’s typically dark interiors.
  • Make stays even more cozy with blankets, throws, and rugs in plush textures.
  • Get rid of clutter, which can make intimate interiors feel confining.

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