Luxe interior design in JW Dongdaemun Hotel in Seoul, South Korea

The Origins of the Luxe Look

If you love beautiful spaces that are elegant and luxurious, the Luxe interior design style may be the perfect look to showcase in your home.

The Luxe interior design style got its start amidst the glitz and glam of the decadent Hollywood Regency style back in the heyday of legendary movie stars. And this style has now transitioned to today’s modern look with its blend of plush luxury offset by clean lines and a touch of Art Deco details.

If you’re part of my Designer Insider club, then you’ll know my own style story of how I chose the Luxe look for the interior design style in my home. (And if you’re not on the list – what are you waiting for? Sign up here!).

And, if you’d like some help discovering your own design style, take my free quiz here.

I had an incredible opportunity to do a photo shoot at a stunning hotel in South Korea.

I find the best way to learn about design is to explore beautiful examples from real projects. So I’m sharing some of those spaces from that hotel here with you. And then I’m going to show you why they work.

Join me on a digital tour where I’ll share some style takeaways you can use as inspiration for your own decorating projects.

Luxe interior design style of a spa with marble fireplace, chandelier, and pool at the JW Hotel in Seoul, Korea.
Beautiful spa lounge with chandeliers, marble fireplace, and swimming pool at the JW Dongdaemun hotel.

Seoul Survivor

Jetting off to a faraway land is even more amazing when you find yourself tucked into a posh business-class seat with a bubbling glass of champagne at your fingertips.

And that is where I found myself venturing thousands of miles across the ocean to Seoul, South Korea for a photoshoot.

While the trip got off to a fabulous start, twenty hours later, I’d somehow come down with walking pneumonia.

It’s a sad state to pivot from bubbly to NyQuil. Or wait, scratch that. I somehow left cough syrup out of my first-aid kit in my luggage stash.

And let me tell you, the ultimate scavenger hunt is tracking down some Robitussin in a Korean market. That is a challenge that, unfortunately, I failed.

However, the hotel took expert care of me during my visit. They nurtured me with hot soup and a constant supply of the best local tea and honey. And while I didn’t miraculously improve, I was *mostly* able to function through multiple grueling day and night photoshoots.

Thanks to all that hot tea, I survived. And now I can share with you this Luxe masterpiece of a hotel with many beautifully crafted details that can serve as inspiration for your own Luxe extravaganza.

Korean chicken noodle soup on room service tray
Room service “get well soon” soup and sprite make everything better.

The Luxe Interior Design Style

Before I take you on a tour of this elegant hotel, let me explain a bit more about the Luxe style. It’s important that you have a full understanding and appreciation for the specifics of this style.

I mentioned the Luxe style originated from the Hollywood Regency style which got its start in California during its Golden Age. (If you were snoozing in your high school history class, that was back in the 1930s).

Those years were a tough time for many, but opulence was on full display in the world of movie stars and motion pictures. People needed an escape from the drudgery of the Depression. So movie set designers of that era went all out, creating spaces that offered a sense of escapism and fantastic decor.

And although movie film was restricted to black-and-white images, set designers went to the next level to showcase captivating design details.

Now remember, this was back in that glamorous era where Art Deco details were having their heyday. As a result, those extravagant designs filled the glowing screens of theaters around the world.

These motifs translated to lots of glimmering metallic finishes and inlays in architectural façades and furniture details. Mirrored starburst arrays and accents reflected light and accentuated angled patterns.

Gleaming lacquer surfaces stood in stark contrast to all the posh and plush fabrics in velvet and mohair. Luxurious textiles are the ultimate treat for your tush and vital to Luxe a lounging experience.

Today’s Modern Luxe Style

So how does this historical style influence the look that’s featured in homes and hotels of today?

Thankfully, this new sense of sophisticated luxury is very tasteful and livable, not pretentious or stuffy.

Meaning, you can rock this look in your home without having a butler bustling around, catering to your every whim.

Although…admittedly, a butler bringing you martinis would be a nice touch, if you can swing it.

So what does the Luxe interior design style represent today? It translates to a mix of sleek metal finishes, rich wood grains, and decadent textiles.

Luxe interior design style featuring sofa with nailhead trim, colorful throw pillows, and side table with lamp.
Nail-head trim sofa with colorful throw pillows in a Luxe interior design style.

Today’s furniture isn’t frumpy or fussy. Rather, there’s a noticeable quality of clean, linear details in the structure or the frame.

But those clean lines are best contrasted with textiles that feature softness and a touch of elegance.

These plush details make every piece feel special and luxurious.

Let’s explore this Luxe Seoul hotel, so you can discover these moments of modern glamour.

Global Extravagance

Luxurious hotels in prime global markets showcase decadence and a celebration of beautiful designs that are truly mesmerizing.

And the JW Marriott hotel in Dongdaemun Square expresses the Luxe style in their interiors with absolute perfection.

Making an Entrance

After a twenty-plus hour flight from the United States, one would appreciate a momentous arrival upon reaching your final destination.

And rest assured, this hotel does not disappoint.

The minute you cross the threshold, you are met with your first of several glimmering Luxe expressions: this stunning chandelier that graces your entrance.

You have officially arrived at the JW Marriott in Dongdaemun Square in Seoul, South Korea. Welcome!

Luxe interior design style featuring dramatic hanging glass chandelier with layers of purple cascading crystals.
Dramatic hanging glass chandelier with layers of purple cascading crystals.

Warm Welcome

Symmetric front desk check-in stations at the JW hotel in Seoul.
Symmetric front desk check-in stations at the JW Marriott Dongdaemun hotel in Seoul.

The fashionable attendants behind these sleek stone desks were checking me into the hotel. But I was mesmerized by these rippling flame-tipped glass sculptures. They softly shimmered in the large glass windows overlooking the iconic Dongdaemun Heunginjimum Gate.

In the distance, you can catch peek-a-boo glimpses of this gate within Seoul’s historic square as the modern glass sculptures softly sway in the window.

Flame-tipped glass art capture rays of sunshine in windows behind the hotel check-in desks.
Flame-tipped glass art elements hang in large windows and reflect rays of sunshine.

Pro Tip: Infusing splashes of color into the space through sculptural art installations is a wonderful way to bring a sense of movement and add interest to the room.

Luxe Lounge

Venturing further into the lobby reveals even more Luxe styling in the velvet sofas flanking the cozy fireplace.

Above the stunning island bar, a dramatic, faceted geometric stone jutted beneath the sparkling chandelier.

Luxe interior design style in lobby of the JW hotel in Seoul with stone bar and chandelier hanging above.
The dynamic, angled stone bar with feature chandelier, hanging above at the JW Dongdaemun hotel in Seoul.

Even the wall finishes offer dramatic Luxe details found in the gridded lacquer glazing lining the perimeter of the bar.

The wall texture is a rather subtle detail, but it beautifully reflects the daylight streaming in the windows. And at night, the linear etching captures the warm glow from the multiple points of light radiating from the chandelier.

Modern History

The beauty of the heritage and history of the Korean culture is evident in many small moments within the hotel.

Seoul’s history is most overt and impressive when viewed through the expansive windows. The restaurant overlooks one of Seoul’s most iconic architectural treasures.

Imagine being seated in the restaurant and enjoying a delightful smorgasbord of Korean barbecue and other fine fare. You’ll want to take some time to observe the hustle and bustle outside.

A dynamic contrast stands between the worlds of yesterday and today. And this magnifies the vibrant energy as you see the traffic and pedestrians whizzing by in the heart of this vibrant city.

View from the restaurant, the historic Dongdaemun Gate in Seoul, South Korea.
View from the restaurant, the historic Dongdaemun Gate in Seoul, South Korea.

Screened Rooms

The Luxe design style is all about layers of textures and materials. And this was beautifully achieved within the main restaurant.

This restaurant was unlike anything I’ve experienced. Typically, a restaurant would feature a vast open sea of tables and multiple groupings of chattering diners.

However, upon entering this space, no tables are immediately visible. Instead, you find yourself surrounded by an array of rectilinear metal screens interlaced with woven mesh fabric.

And after walking past the first few panels, you discover that each series of screens creates an intimate space of its own.

Hidden out of sight, each cluster of diners is sequestered within their own private dining nook.

Luxe interior design screens creating individual dining rooms in the restaurant at the JW Dongdaemun hotel.
Luxe interior design screens create individual dining rooms in the restaurant at the JW Dongdaemun hotel.

The metal framework features traditional details, reminiscent of local craft. And yet, these traditional design motifs still feel very urban and modern within their context.

Screened Dining

This array of decorative sheer screens creates a maze-like expression that is slightly disorienting but also intriguing.

These sheer fabrics woven within the panels have an alluring effect that compel you to sneak a peek. I found myself peering into each one of the private rooms to see who was dining beyond the mesh.

Series of metal screens with sheer fabric inlays create private dining areas within the JW Dongdaemun hotel restaurant.
Series of metal screens with sheer fabric inlays create private dining areas within the JW Dongdaemun hotel restaurant.

The blend of cool gray in the fabric and steel metal in Luxe design details creates a slightly somber effect, further magnified by the dimensional coffered squares in the ceiling above. However, the cozy warm glow radiating from the bar and the warm wood tones offset the cooler colors to make the space feel inviting.

Pro Tip:

If you’re going to use cool, dark colors, be sure to bring in natural woodgrains and highlight areas with a cozy, warm glow from your light fixtures.

View within a screened dining area, looking to the host station and restaurant bar.
View within a screened dining area, looking to the host station and restaurant bar.

I spent several late evenings dining in this restaurant after working long hours at the photoshoot. It was a lovely area to take some quiet moments by myself to recharge.

And I enjoyed staring out the windows and observing the Dongdaemun square. There was something mesmerizing to sit and watch the constant blur of bustling urban life as large snowflakes slowly fluttered down from the sky.

The Ultimate Luxe Spa

Nothing is more indulgent than a spent day at a spa. And this is the most gorgeous spa I’ve seen anywhere in the entire world. Hands down!

A true Luxe sanctuary perhaps this is what heaven looks like? Especially if there are any angelic interior designers floating around doing their thing.

Luxe interior design style of a spa with marble fireplace, chandelier, and pool at the JW Hotel in Seoul, Korea.
View of the JW Dongdaemun spa lounge, with soaking pool and marble fireplace.

The still crystal waters in the long pool were like a sheet of glass reflecting back sparkles of light from the glittering chandeliers above.

In the midst of winter, with snow swirling outside, the spa is a cozy sanctuary. And there’s no better spot than to snuggle up in the spa’s signature plush robe next to this massive marble fireplace.

White shelving screen wall with decorative accessories in the spa at the JW Dongdaemun hotel in Seoul.
White shelving screen wall and lounge chairs in the spa at the JW Dongdaemun hotel in Seoul.

There’s an ethereal quality to the expanses of white marble, occasionally interrupted with architectural planes of wood. These repeated details add a comforting rhythm and warmth.

Not only do these screens delineate the space, they offer privacy and intriguing peek-a-boos, allowing you to sense movement and the presence of other spa-goers.

This can be reassuring, should you momentarily worry (in all this bliss) that you have, in fact, actually died and gone to heaven.

The Guestroom

The styling in the guest room veers away from the Luxe style, instead creating more of an urban zen interior design aesthetic. The chic neutral palette provides a very tranquil mood. And the fresh flowers, replenished every morning, add the perfect organic accessory to the space.

Cozy window seat in the guest room at the JW Dongdaemun hotel in Seoul.
Cozy window seat in the guest room at the JW Dongdaemun hotel in Seoul.

The lovely, cushioned seat nestled within the bay window is such a cozy spot to sit and read. Or it can also be the perfect vantage point to watch the activity in the square below.

The Luxe Interior Design Style: Bring it Home

The timeless quality and sophisticated elegance of Luxe interiors are a lovely choice to implement as a style within your home.

The success of the Luxe Look all comes down to the artful blending of sophisticated materials, textures, and color palettes.

So while “creating an artful application” sounds great in theory, would you like some guidance on how to do this?

Keep on reading, and I’ll share some specific design tips to help you learn how to achieve this look in your home.

Watercolor image showing living room in luxe interior design style.
Luxe interior design style living room.

Interior Design Tips for a Luxe Design Style

Here are some key Luxe style takeaways to help you successfully bring sophisticated glamour into your home.

1. Bring on the Bling.

You may recall how I said this style is rooted in the historic Hollywood Regency style. So now is the time to channel your inner movie star and treat yourself to some show-stopping splurges in a few key areas.

Remember that killer chandelier that greeted travelers at the JW hotel in Seoul? A dramatic chandelier sets the stage and allows you to sparkle and shine. So go ahead…treat yourself!

Layers of purple and clear glass crystals cascading from the feature chandelier.
Layers of purple and clear glass crystals cascade from the feature chandelier.

2. Layer materials.

If you want to create a luxurious effect in your home, it’s important to consider the materials you use in your home.

A key way to add elegance to your home is with thoughtful application of layered materials on surfaces. Refined materials like marble stone slabs and wood inlays will deliver a premium, luxurious aesthetic.

Be sure to blend contrasting smooth surfaces against interesting patterns and textures. This will add dimension and interest to your walls and surfaces.

Remember, if everything in your home is basic build-grade materials, your space won’t have that sense of luxury. Find those prime moments in your space where you can incorporate a specialty finish.

Luxe interior finishes and materials including stone, marble, and tile samples.
Luxurious interior finishes and materials of stone, wood, and tile products.

3. Source premium furniture.

Furniture selections are key to creating a Luxe look. And they should showcase distinctive details and connections within their structures.

That doesn’t mean things need to feel fussy or fancy. But it’s important to find pieces that are distinctive. So that could mean finding furniture that has a sculptural quality to its form, or an interesting combination of materials.

It’s important that the pieces have some sort of special quality to them. This isn’t the time to go simple and basic. Instead, invest in unique pieces. All these special touches will bring a sense of luxury into your home.

4. Curate accessories.

Feature curated accessories and showcase them in key areas. In the image below, you’ll see how these metal trunks were repurposed into shelving in the upstairs bar at the JW hotel. This is a brilliant way to showcase a variety of artifacts.

Why settle for basic shelves when the display can be just as intriguing as the objects within? This is an easy way to up your accessory game in your home.

Metal trunks repurposed as shelves with leather lounge chairs and side table.
Metal trunks repurposed as display shelves.

5. Highlight architectural details.

Clean lines are what separate this contemporary Luxe expression from its more traditional Hollywood Regency predecessor.

Highlighting architectural details with refined woods and sleek metals is a modern way to express a Luxe interior.

Visual screens are a great way to add definition and interest to a room. By adding them to your home, you can divide the space without completely blocking visibility.

Be sure to feature these details in key architectural moments throughout your home.

Architectural details with wooden stairs and metal screen wall and stair railing.
Wood stairs and metal screen wall highlighted as architectural details.

6. Mix Metals.

Luxe interiors convey a sense of decadence and sophistication with a modern sensibility.

To keep your space feeling modern, be sure to use an array of mixed matte metals. You’ll want to avoid the garish, shiny brass of the 1970s. Instead, choose a more updated glimmer with brushed and matte metal finishes.

Series of metal chains and linked metal in a polished stainless steel finish.
Series of metal chains and linked metal in a polished stainless steel finish.

Choose metals in warmer tones like gold and bronze. Or, cool things off with pewter and nickel. Whichever palette you choose, enjoy infusing these into key areas you want to highlight.

You can incorporate these metal finishes within your furniture, lighting, and other key surfaces within your home.

Luxe Interior Design Style Summary

Would you like to learn more about interior design styles for your home? Then check out my Style Journal. I’ve created this tool to help you choose the right style for your home.

This book features descriptions of fifteen of today’s most popular interior design styles. It walks you through the highlights so you can learn about each one.

And this book also offers journal sections with fill-in-the-blank sections. These will help you uncover some interesting insights that can help you discover the right look for your home.

Check it out here.

Learn about More Design Styles

And be sure to sign up to join my Designer Insider group! I send weekly emails with all sorts of free design tips and inspiration. So don’t miss out! Click here to get the goods.

Here are a few additional links to additional interior design styles you may want to consider for your home.

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I'm Sarah

As a hospitality designer, my passion is creating stunning spaces that delight millions of travelers as they journey around the world.

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