Cristal's Blog


July 24, 2023

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In the ever-evolving world of interior design, trends come and go, but one thing remains constant: the desire for comfort. That’s why the interior design trends 2023 is seeing all lead to comfort. We who are fortunate enough to live in Santa Barbara have long taken pride in our ability to cultivate spaces that exude the latest trends in homes. Today, this ethos is embraced globally, with people everywhere prioritizing it to convert their living spaces into sanctuaries of calm. Each aspect, from furniture choices to color palettes and decor, needs to be thoughtfully curated to amplify comfort and foster well-being.

Expansive and beautifully furnished living room of a Montecito home, with three large arched windows looking out to an ocean view.

How to Incorporate Comfort Into Your Santa Barbara Home

  1. Furniture Choices
    When it comes to comfort, selecting the right furniture is paramount. In 2023, we are seeing a shift towards plush and generously proportioned seating options. Large sectionals, oversized armchairs, and deep sofas are gaining popularity, offering ample space for relaxation and lounging.

    The focus on embracing softness extends beyond the generous proportions of the furniture. The choice of materials plays a crucial role in elevating the comfort and aesthetic appeal of the space. Luxurious fabrics like velvet, with its smooth texture and lustrous sheen, add an air of opulence to any room. Chenille, known for its soft and velvety feel, provides an inviting touch that tempts people to cozy up and enjoy moments of blissful serenity. Faux fur, with its sumptuous appearance, adds a touch of extravagance to the furniture. Contemporary and chic!

    As homeowners embrace these plush and luxurious furniture choices, the overall ambiance of living spaces is transformed into havens of relaxation and serenity. The emphasis on comfort and softness not only caters to the physical well-being, but also nourishes the mind and soul, creating an atmosphere of utmost tranquility and contentment.

    Primary bedroom of a luxury Montecito home, with a plush bed and walls of multi-pane glass looking out to the ocean

  2. Natural Elements
    Bringing nature indoors is another key element of the comfort trend taking over the design industry in 2023. Incorporating natural elements such as wood, stone, and plants can create a sense of serenity and calmness. Furniture with natural finishes and textures, such as reclaimed wood or rattan, adds warmth and character to the space.

    Additionally, incorporating indoor plants not only enhances the visual appeal but also improves air quality and promotes a connection to the outdoors; even in urban settings where access to nature might be limited. The sight of lush foliage and the touch of natural textures in the form of indoor plants evoke a sense of tranquility and relaxation, offering a respite from the demands of everyday life.

    Moreover, the sim aspect of incorporating nature indoors has proven to have positive psychological effects. Research suggests that being in proximity to nature, even indoors, can reduce stress, boost mood, and enhance overall well-being by promoting mental and emotional balance.
The luxury kitchen of a Santa Barbara home with a large center island, high-end stainless appliances, a large skylight, and a large window with ocean views.ocean views

3. Warm and Neutral Color Palette
To create a comfortable ambiance, a warm and neutral color palette is a top choice in 2023. Soft earth tones, warm grays, and muted pastels are preferred over bold and vibrant colors. These soothing shades create a serene backdrop and allow for easy coordination with various decor styles.

Embracing a monochromatic color scheme can further enhance the cozy ambiance. By sticking to varying shades of a single color, homeowners can create a sense of unity and harmony throughout the space. Monochromatic decor allows the eye to rest and appreciates the various textures and materials present in the room, making it an ideal choice for those who desire a calming and uncluttered environment.

To add personality and visual interest to the space, pops of color can be introduced through accessories like throw pillows, artwork, or decorative accents. These colorful touches act as focal points, drawing the eye and adding a playful touch to the otherwise serene atmosphere.

Tranquil designer bedroom with a vaulted ceiling and luxurious shades of beige accented by a pair of rich green throw pillows.

4. Layered Textiles and Soft Lighting
Layering textiles and incorporating soft lighting are key to achieving a cozy atmosphere. The use of plush rugs, cozy blankets, and an abundance of throw pillows adds depth and texture to the space while providing an extra layer of comfort.

Warm and diffused lighting options have gained popularity for their ability to create a soft and inviting ambiance. Using warm-colored light bulbs or soft, dimmable lighting fixtures helps to establish a relaxing and serene environment, perfect for unwinding at the end of a long day.

Ambient lighting plays a key role in setting the overall mood of the space. Soft, diffuse light sources like floor lamps, wall sconces, or pendant lights with fabric shades cast a gentle glow, reducing harsh contrasts and creating a sense of intimacy. These types of lighting fixtures provide a warm and comforting atmosphere, making them ideal for living rooms, bedrooms, and other relaxation areas.

    Home office with a fire in the fireplace and an open-beam vaulted ceiling.

    5. Multifunctional Spaces

    In 2023, the concept of multifunctional spaces continues to gain momentum. With more people working remotely and spending more time at home, there is a growing need to maximize space and functionality. Flexible furniture solutions, such as convertible sofas or folding tables, allow for seamless transitions between work and leisure activities.

    Designating separate areas for relaxation, work, and recreation helps maintain a sense of balance and organization in the home. For instance, a corner nook with a comfortable chair and soft lighting can be designated as a reading or meditation area, providing a quiet retreat from the rest of the house. On the other hand, a well-organized and ergonomic workspace can be created with a functional desk and ergonomic chair, ensuring productivity without compromising comfort.

    So now you know, interior design trends 2023 undeniably embrace comfort. Our homes have become our sanctuaries, where we seek solace and rejuvenation from the outside world. By prioritizing comfort in our design choices, we can create spaces that nurture our well-being and promote relaxation.

    Meantime, if you are considering putting your property on the market and buying a new home within the Santa Barbara area, it’s imperative to have an experienced Realtor on your team. Call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at, and I'll happily add your home to my portfolio of fine properties while I find you the perfect residence. I can handle the entire process, leaving you time to relax and enjoy some comfort before you move.

    Other Resources:

    What Makes a “Luxury Home”?
    Maximizing Profit When Selling a Home
    Is Wellness Real Estate the Next Trillion-Dollar Trend?

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    Client Reviews

    “It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

    - J & A

    “Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

    - M.F.

    “Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

    - P.B.

    “We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

    - T.C.

    “Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

    - D.R.

    “I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

    - M.A.

    “Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

    - D.K.

    “Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

    - S.N. Decker Ph.D.

    “Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

    - Johan and Paula van den Berg

    “Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

    - John and Lacey Williams

    “After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

    - Michael & Nancy Lee

    “Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

    - Richard and Catherine Frinier

    “Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

    - Laurie Siegel

    “We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

    - Ken Saffir

    “Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

    - Michael & Susan Marquart

    “A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

    - Rob & Judi Kelch