They say first impressions last, and more often than not, your living room will be the first area in your home that guests will see, so it pays to have it decorated to a tee. Decorating is already a task in itself, but trying to decorate without spending a fortune? Now that seems like an impossible feat – especially if you’re trying to make your living room look more expensive.
When browsing through living room ideas, the question may cross your mind, how on earth can I achieve the luxe look without breaking the bank? Or perhaps you just simply don’t know where to even start with revamping your living space. That’s what we’re here for.
How can I make my living room look expensive?
Many of us may be wondering how to design a living room to give it the impression of a higher price tag, in fact, there are plenty of ways you can elevate your living space without having to spend a fortune on furniture and decor.
We’ve teamed up with interior design experts to give you the lowdown on how you can elevate your living space and instantly make it look more luxurious.
1. Decorate with second-hand, vintage, and antique pieces
Long gone are the days when high-end furniture and home decor were the only ways to make a space look chic. Take a pass on the high price point for your living room furnishings and opt to deck out your space with second-hand, vintage, and antique pieces.
Harriet Pringle, founder at Narchie (opens in new tab) notes that ‘this is a great way to make a room look more expensive as you often get better quality and unique designs at a fraction of the price.’ As an add-on, it’s often that getting your hands on vintage, antique pieces will also instantly bring about added character and uniqueness to your space.
2. Skip mass-produced pieces and be unique
This one may be a tad bit trickier to achieve given that some of our favourite budget-friendly homeware brands release pieces we all love and want to get our hands on! But when your home isn’t furnished with the same decor everyone else is using, it almost alludes to the idea that everything is a bit more luxurious, if you will.
Jane Reik, buying and design director at Joe Browns (opens in new tab) advises homeowners to ‘keep an eye out for interior decor that feels unique rather than mass-produced.’ She urges homeowners to not just go for cheap versions of items out of convenience, but to shop quality – don’t get it twisted though, you can still shop for quality whilst being on a budget! If you’re going to go all out to achieve uniqueness, budget decorating ideas such as upcycling is a great option.
Pieces that intrigue people, that start conversation, and pieces you love that you genuinely want to look at every day – these are the things that keep your interior authentic, and in turn, looking expensive.
3. Never underestimate the power of art
If you’ve got bare walls in your living room, they’re probably one of the key factors as to why your space may feel empty. ‘Adding colour, texture, and height is one of the best ways to change the mood and feeling of a room’, notes Harriet Pringle.
If you’re feeling a little underwhelmed in your space, consider bringing your living room wall art ideas to life to add a bit of spice to your living room.
We think the main reason why there’s quite a bit of uncertainty when it comes to decorating with art is the huge misconception that unique pieces will cost you an arm and leg, which absolutely isn’t the case! There are plenty of affordable pieces out there if you just know where to look. And while you’re browsing through wall art, it’s good practice to also consider how it will look with your living room wall decor.
Home staging expert Elaine Penhaul, director at Lemon & Lime Interiors (opens in new tab) believes that art ultimately sets the ambience and feeling of a space, encouraging homeowners to ‘introduce art as a tool to make your home more appealing and more expensive, as it is associated with individuals who have expensive taste and high net worth incomes.’
4. Add panelling to your walls
If you’re looking to elevate your space and make it look more expensive, it’s wise to consider touching on the architectural features of your home. When utilised correctly, living room wall panelling ideas can add immediate value to your space, creating depth and interest in what was once old, plain squares.
Elaine Penhaul notes that ‘interior wall panelling, especially that made with a moulded beading is formerly associated with luxurious and historic buildings.’
5. Play with textures
Textures play a huge role in making something look and feel luxurious. Consider adding interest to your space by pairing your more antique pieces with modern furniture to create contrast, adding metallic luxe, taking risks with patterns, and mixing and matching different kinds of textiles. Textures can even be brought in via furnishings such as surface finishes, curtains, and cushions.
All of these elements are what bring people through a tactile journey inside your home, creating an atmosphere of luxury and elegance.
It’s not that difficult to do either, as Jane Reik advises that ‘you can give tired, old furniture a new lease of life with the simple addition of a plush throw and cushions, not to mention making the space way more comfortable too.’
6. Pay attention to details in textiles
Following on from our previous tip to make your living room look more expensive by playing with texture, we encourage the practice of paying extra attention to the details within your assortment of textiles.
When on the hunt for the best cushions, Jane Reik reminds us to ‘look for the extras such as embroidery, piping, tassels.’ It’s the intricate details that provide added value to your homeware choices, as these little things are what indicate added craftsmanship, giving the impression of a higher price tag.
7. Switch off your ‘big light’ and perfect your lighting
Lighting can have a big impact on a space, adding warmth and dimension. Setting the tone and atmosphere in a space is integral to the vibe that others will feel when occupying the space – and given that your living room will likely be where you host guests, ensuring you create the perfect mood ranks pretty high in importance when considering living room lighting ideas.
Simple things like switching off your ‘big light’ and swapping it out for the best table lamp or lighting a decorative candle or two can instantly make your living room feel more luxurious, creating the ambience you’ve been craving. Jane Reik also highlights the importance of considering the tone of the light bulb and the type of light used, advising us to ‘favour warmer tones and less waiting room brightness.’
‘Focal lighting above tables, reading corners, or even up-lit artworks and bookshelves can create a luxurious mood and intrigue for visitors’, adds Elaine Penhaul. ‘Decorative pendant lighting or long-stemmed candlesticks can be used to create ambience and suspended centrepieces are becoming increasingly popular to create an inviting and natural decor.’
8. Hone in on colour schemes
Colour plays a huge role in determining how we feel within the environment around us, so if even we ourselves are feeling unimpressed by the four walls in our space, how much more are our visitors? This is why we ought to carefully consider living room colour schemes before rushing into one.
Elaine Penhaul claims that ‘luxury living is all about creating a lifestyle’, and this can be achieved through colour schemes. She says to ‘think luxe opulent colour ways such as dark charcoals, emerald greens and metallics or more neutral and calming whites, beiges, and greens.’ Bold can be beautiful, but it doesn’t always have to be. So long as it’s cohesive and streamlined throughout the space, the choice is yours.
9. Make a statement with stone interiors
Stone interiors are a foolproof way to elevate any space – from stone fireplace ideas to the addition of a statement coffee table (while you’re at it, it pays to know how to style a coffee table).
However, we do recognise that stone interiors can be on the pricier side, so consider smaller decorative items like these marble trays from Amazon (opens in new tab), or even having a go at an easy DIY project and using this self-adhesive grey film from Wilko (opens in new tab) to cover existing surfaces and furniture to get the look at a fraction of the price.
‘Whether it’s travertine, marble or onyx, I always think natural stone looks so timeless and chic in any space’, says Harriet Pringle.
10. Ditch the handles to create a seamless finish
‘Modern handleless furniture has proven extremely popular, especially as the design needs to cater to open-plan living that requires a more ‘lived-in’ feel and blurs the boundaries between the kitchen, living, and dining areas’, says Simon Bodsworth, managing director at Daval (opens in new tab).
This style of interior design is reminiscent of the Danish art of ‘hygge’, easily identifiable as their interiors are renowned for their simplicity, beauty, and function – characteristics that are spot-on for wanting to make your living room look expensive.
What makes a space look luxurious?
‘When you think of luxury, a lot of us think about an experience, so identifying an area for entertaining guests, such as an open plan and beautiful dining space accessorised with textured glassware, floral centrepieces, and quality cutlery will help to identify the space as more lavish and aspirational,’ states Elaine Penhaul at Lemon & Lime Interiors.
She adds that ‘simple changes to old-traditional furnishings such as door handles and drawer knobs can also enhance the luxury feel of a room – more and more designers are opting for modern textured brass or matte black finishing over pewter or stainless steel.’
Additionally, ‘simple touches such as decorative candles, or really beautiful cushions and throws can add a luxury feel to a space’, says Harriet Pringle at Narchie.
What colours make a home look expensive?
‘Plum is a violet hue and violet is the most complex and interesting colour in the spectrum. It’s associated with creative problem-solving, dreaming, and mysticism. It was also once the most expensive colour to produce, so only royalty and people of the highest status could afford to have it’, advises Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux (opens in new tab).
On the other hand, Elaine Penhaul at Lemon & Lime Interiors warns us of what colours to avoid if our goal is luxe. ‘Vibrant reds in curtains and carpets for instance can look old, or even like a pub setting.’
What makes interior look cheap?
Harriet Pringle at Narchie warns us that ‘a cluttered space can always make a room feel chaotic. Invest in great storage pieces that are functional but also decorative in their own right, so you don’t have to compromise on style.’
Although we’re all for decorating your living room walls with art and filling your space with unique decorative pieces, this could also come as a double-edged sword. ‘Surprisingly, framed photos if done poorly can make an interior look cheap. Low-quality phone images and clashing of colourways throughout photos could be distracting to the eye’, says Elaine Penhaul at Lemon & Lime Interiors.
Jane Reik at Joe Browns adds that ‘non-curated knick-knacks can make a space look and feel messy’, then warning us to proceed with caution when using crushed velvet, bling, sequins, and diamante – textures all infamous for producing the opposite effect of the luxe they’re intending to exude.
Lastly, while geometrics and written slogans are often seen as a modern way to decorate a wall, they just don’t work well in a home. Elaine Penhaul at Lemon & Lime Interiors says that ‘you want your home to feel cosy and calming, therefore, these harsh trends can become a little overpowering’, especially as we may often associate this choice of wall decor with office settings.