Once upon a time, building a home in the mountains meant something along the lines of bear rugs and deer heads. Sure, it was fine for a weekend getaway, but rustic homes didn’t always feel livable. The knickknacks and kitschy design can easily turn a mountain home into a caricature of itself. What seems like a fun space for a weekend can feel too heavy and cluttered for real-life living.

That’s why the mountain modern trend is so appealing. Architecture that pays homage to mountain life without the heavy hand makes these homes more livable. Without the clutter and kitsch, mountain living becomes a lot more comfortable. What’s more, this design style respects the land and makes your dreams of mountain life even more attainable. Check out some of the most common aspects of mountain modern design and decide if it’s right for you.

1. Unique Exterior

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Modern home in the snow

Unique shapes make for better views. Image: korisbo/Shutterstock

Most mountain-style homes have familiar shapes, especially if they’re made out of materials such as logs or timber. From the classic A-frame to simple rectangles, mountain homes haven’t exactly come a long way over the last 100 years or so. Mountain modern is so exciting because it offers a fresh take on the classic rustic home. Look for sharp, modern edges and homes that take the landscape into consideration. Adopting the energy efficiency of more modern spaces, architects can create homes that are still rustic, but much more efficient.

2. Uncluttered Layout

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Modern gray bathroom

An uncluttered layout keeps a zen mood. Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Gone are the days when a mountain home meant a wall of hunting trophies. In fact, mountain modern style is all about clean lines and an uncluttered interior. With open layouts and tall ceilings, the style is about sweeping views and a totally relaxing vibe. While traditional cabins may have been made up of many smaller rooms, modern rustic homes subscribe to a bigger, brighter and more open aesthetic. Skipping the smaller decor items, these homes rely more on large, impactful pieces to make a statement while cutting down on clutter.

3. Windows and Light

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Modern kitchen with picture window

Huge windows showcase the landscape. Image: alexandre zveiger/Shutterstock

One of the most important features of a mountain modern home is light. It’s not uncommon to see floor-to-ceiling windows that frame nature as the home’s most important feature. And why not? If you’re building a mountain home, chances are you want to see as much of the landscape as possible. A talented architect will take the sun into consideration when situating the home, making sure to take advantage of all the natural light possible.

4. Texture Over Color

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Modern wooden accent kitchen

Natural textures bring the beauty of outside in. Image: Federico Rostagno/Shutterstock

If you love neutral colors, you’ll love mountain modern homes. They’re a departure from the bold and dark colors typical in rustic homes. Instead, the design emphasis is placed on the building materials. From smooth glass to rough stone, chunky woodwork and textured concrete, the building materials become part of the decor. Rather than covering up the details of the home, neutral colors allow the textures of all the materials to shine.

5. Local Sourcing

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Modern master bathroom

Many mountain homes utilize local materials. Image: KUPRYNENKO ANDRII/Shutterstock

Mountain modern homes can look deceptively simple. With their clean lines and open spaces, it’s easy to look past the engineering and design required to successfully pull off the look. What might seem like a simple build is often carefully planned to include local sourcing and reclaimed materials. It’s not just for aesthetics; local sourcing pays respect to the land and helps the home blend better with its natural surroundings. Don’t be surprised to see modern homes made up of local wood, steel and stone.

6. Indoor/Outdoor Living

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Mountain modern home with landscaping

Indoor/outdoor living offers more space. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

What’s the point of having a mountain home if you totally ignore your outdoor space? Modern homes think of outdoor land as part of the total living space, which means walls of retractable windows, huge decks and ski-in, ski-out basements. Mountain modern homes are all about making the most of the land, which can also mean thinking less traditionally about our outdoor space. From built-in hot tubs to native landscaping, it’s all about reaping the benefits of a mountain escape.

7. Low Maintenance Design

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Simple design weathers the weather. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

Mountain modern homes are anything but fussy. Expect to see simple design that takes the weather, precipitation and even wildlife into consideration. Utilizing local stone and native plants means you can spend less time maintaining your home and more time enjoying it. Think about it: the fewer nooks and crannies your home has, the easier it is to maintain. By taking inspiration from the landscape, smooth, thoughtful exteriors contrast beautifully with the wild surroundings.

Mountain modern might be one of the newest trends in architecture, but it also might be one of the most sustainable. Whether planning a mountain retreat or simply looking for a charming design for city life, mountain modern homes bring the best of both worlds. By respecting nature and keeping a laid-back attitude toward design, it’s an architectural style that makes any home feel like a relaxing retreat.