Everything You Need to Know About Chalet Homes

Stacey Marcus
Written by Stacey Marcus
Updated October 5, 2021
 A happy family walking by their chalet in the evening
Photo: skynesher / E+ / Getty Images

Don't just schuss by that chalet; discover what makes it so cozy and inviting

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Born in the mountains of Europe, chalet-style homes are now staples of mountain towns and lakeside homes in the U.S. And it’s easy to see why—their simple structure of wood and stone, plus their large windows, are the perfect place to take in the scenery and enjoy nature.

The Origin of the Chalet-Style Home

Designed for areas with heavy snowfall, charming chalet homes were originally used to provide shelter for dairy cattle herders. In the decades since, chalets have become a destination for skiers, hikers, and other outdoor adventurers.

Key Elements of a Chalet-Style Home

A chalet in the woods at night
Photo: James Pintar/iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Chalets have many unique interior and exterior features that create a cozy vacation vibe.

Constructed With Wood and Natural Materials

A signature feature of a chalet-style home is that it’s constructed with natural materials including wood and stone. Typically, wooden planks are carefully cobbled together like a log house or cabin, and it often has a stone foundation and timber framing. 

A-Frame Architecture

Chalets have an A-frame structure that, along with its staple gabled roof, traditionally allowed heavy Alps snow to easily slide off the roof. Inside, the wooden structure’s cozy interior creates the perfect space to relax—and the A-shape means you get great attic space! 

Overhanging Eaves

Along with protecting a chalet-style home’s foundation and siding, overhanging eaves allow snow to fall from the roof to the ground.

Multiple Balconies

Chalets often feature multiple balconies. Not only do these balconies give you another way to enjoy the outdoors, but they act as decorative elements, too, by featuring ornamental carvings and moldings that resemble a gingerbread house. 

Large, Expansive Windows

Chalet-style homes are often designed with grand windows. The windows allow for ample natural light and gorgeous panoramic views—a must when you’re up in the mountains!

Open-Concept Layout

The open-concept layout of a chalet is perfect for a family vaycay—allowing everyone space to relax, while still feeling together and connected. 

Central Fireplace

If you peer into the large windows of a chalet-style home, you will most certainly see a central fireplace burning logs. The fireplace provides a welcome meeting place to watch a movie, have a family game night, or enjoy a romantic evening.

Vaulted Ceilings

The interior of a chalet often centers around an open space on the main level with high ceilings thanks to its A-frame construction. The second floor is often a loft area with low ceilings.

How to Incorporate Chalet-style Design Into Your Home

A minimal living room with a fireplace
Photo: tulcarion / E+ / Getty Images

Incorporating elements of a chalet-style home into your design plan can bring joy and relaxation into your home whether you live in the mountains, on a lake, or in a city.

Open Floor Plan

Joining rooms together is a great way to improve traffic flow, share light, and create an open ambiance. It also encourages a sense of togetherness, without making the whole fam crowd around and be on top of each other. 

Use Natural Materials

Using natural woods, stones, and reclaimed materials creates a connection to nature. Unstained wood tumbled stones and cobbled walls seamlessly fit into natural settings. Whether you use tumbled stones to create a walkway or shower floor or have a coffee table crafted with reclaimed wood, you will enjoy the natural feeling.

Keep the Design Simple

A no-fuss feeling is the essence of a chalet-style home. A peaceful color palette, plenty of light, natural materials, and minimal furnishings create the perfect retreat.

Install a Fireplace Inside and a Fire Pit Outside

Fireplaces are the heart of a chalet. Install a fireplace in your great room or on your outdoor patio to cook up some great family memories.

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