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Design Your Mountain Great Room on a Foundation of 5 Essentials

The furniture, finishes and materials that make a mountain vacation home

Photo: Paige Hayes

Furnishing a mountain vacation home is a balancing act. You need furniture on a grander scale to fill large-volume rooms defined by high ceilings, beams and trusses, and great expanses of windows—yet you don’t want to block those million-dollar views. You desire comfort for a crowd, yet coziness for a couple. You want a connection to nature balanced with your own personal style, be it contemporary, elegant or farmhouse rustic. 

Don’t know where to begin? Here are five essential building blocks for furnishing a mountain great room, provided by Lynne Barton Bier, Steamboat Springs interior designer and owner of Home on the Range Interiors. Start with these and you are well on your way to a room filled with comfort, style and flexibility.

Photo: Tim Murphy


In a room with window views on one wall, a fireplace on another and perhaps a TV in yet another location, flexibility is key. Swivel chairs, which come in variety of styles, allow you to engage in every activity in a multi-functional great room. 

Photo: Paige Hayes


Let your furnishings do double duty, serving to prop up your feet or add extra seating and even storage. These smaller pieces are easy to move around as needed. 

Photo: David Patterson


Incorporate some leather or hair-on-hide for a natural, rustic look that speaks mountains. Leather sofas, chairs, benches, ottomans and even pillows not only hold up to lots of wear and tear, they mix well with textural fabrics and soft fuzzy throws.

Photo: Chris Little


You want your vacation home to say, “Come on in and put your feet up.” Reclaimed and/or distressed wood is perfect for coffee tables, end tables and cabinets. Seasoned alder is particularly easy to stain and distress. Softer pine is best for accents like paneling. Locally sourced wood will handle the dry air of many mountain climates without cracking.

Photo: Tim Murphy


There is nothing like curling up in front of a big fireplace after a day of skiing or during a mountain snowstorm. Go grand with mountain fireplaces. These dramatic floor-to-ceiling features demand beefier materials than their city counterparts: heavy metal surrounds, chunky wood mantels and stacked stone and rock.

Want more information on how to design a knockout mountain great room? Contact Lynne Barton Bier at lynne@therangesteamboat.com.

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