7 Tips to Make Your Living Room Look Expensive Without Breaking the Bank
You don't have to overspend to elevate your space, interior designers say.
Home is truly where the heart is—and it's where we spend a significant amount of our time. With this in mind, we want our homes to be cozy and comfortable, offering a safe space to unwind. But at the same time, you probably want your communal spaces to feel stylish and expensive—especially when guests arrive. You might assume that designing a luxurious-looking living room will cost an arm and a leg, but that's actually not the case, according to interior designers. Read on for their top seven tips to elevate your space without breaking the bank.
Consider your layout.
When making your living room look chic, interior designers say you should first consider the layout.
"It's important to maximize a space without furniture pieces being pushed up against a wall," Melony Huber, fashion and interior design expert and co-founder of ethical lifestyle collection La Peony, tells Best Life. "Laying out the furniture in a conversational style in the center of a room creates a high-end ambiance."
You can also set up your room to highlight the main focal point, whether that's the view, the fireplace, or a piece of artwork, adds Isfira Jensen, CEO and principal interior designer at Nufacet Interiors.
However, avoid making your TV the focus of your room, advises Floss Kelly, co-founder and head of brand for TileCloud.
"To make your living room look more expensive, avoid turning the TV into the room's centerpiece, as this can cheapen the space," Kelly says. "Instead, think carefully about its placement and try to conceal it when not in use. For example, you could frame the TV to make it look like artwork or hide it in a discreet area."
Switch up your lighting.
You may not realize it, but lighting is key to the feel and ambiance of your living room.
"Lighting is absolutely crucial when it comes to transforming a room into a luxurious haven," explains Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, interior designer, home chef, hosting aesthetic expert, and fashionista. "With just a few simple upgrades, you can completely revolutionize the atmosphere of your space. Imagine walking into a room that's bathed in a warm, inviting glow—that's the power of good lighting!"
If your home is equipped with more standard fixtures that don't really make a statement, designers say switching it up can make your space look that much more expensive.
"Swap out your builder-grade lighting with something unique and larger scale for huge visual impact in a room," says Jennifer Verruto, CEO and founder of Blythe Interiors. "A fabulous light fixture adds personality, character, and style—or could maybe even make your friends think you hired a designer!"
Not sure where to start? Malarkey recommends going for fixtures that have a modern or more artistic design. "Trust us, it's worth it: The right lighting can make all the difference," she says.
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If you're on a budget and looking for quality pieces, don't forget you can always go thrifting.
"Make a list of items you want for the living room before you head out for a day of antiquing and thrifting," recommends Debbe Daley, interior designer, author, and CEO at Debbe Daley Designs. "Remember, one person's trash is another person's treasure."
Daley says you can add everything to your thrifting list, including light fixtures, decorative accents, or vintage books "that will add your contrast colors to the space."
If you're in the market for an expensive-looking new coffee table, keep your eyes peeled for glass-top tables with brushed gold bases, per Daley's suggestion.
Remember, less is more.
If your first instinct is to add more furniture or décor to level up your living room, think again. Interior designers say that a minimalist look can also give your space an air of luxury.
"Having a bunch of items out and clutter immediately distracts from the space," Huber says. "To create a high-end feeling, keep only the necessities and statement pieces out, and your space well organized and clean!"
Malarkey also suggests organizing and decluttering. "Embrace the transformational power of stylish storage solutions, such as chic baskets and sleek shelves, to take your living room to new heights of luxury and comfort," she says. "Imagine a space that invites you to relax and unwind, surrounded by carefully curated items that spark joy. With just a little effort, you can turn your living room into a functional and fabulous oasis that reflects your unique style and personality."
Also, if you're able to sell a few of your current living room pieces, you can put those profits towards other projects or plans.
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Make a statement.
Adding artwork as a statement piece is a useful strategy if you're on a budget—as long as it's done right.
"Add a large piece of artwork over the sofa or mantle in a brushed gold frame. This is where the color pop should be," Daley says. "Selecting artwork doesn't need to be expensive, however, if this is the statement piece or focal piece, this is where you will probably drop some money."
As an alternative, to save some cash, Daley says that you can refresh a piece you already own and love by painting the frame gold yourself. You might also end up saving money by purchasing just one quality piece, as opposed to several smaller pieces.
"It can be tempting to fill a blank wall with a bunch of frames, but sticking to one to three large-scale frames or art pieces fills the wall perfectly and gives a crisp, statement-worthy look," Huber says.
Raise the curtains.
Interior designers say window treatments are another key aspect of your living room's vibe. But you don't have to run out and purchase new ones; you can simply re-hang them.
"Simply hanging your curtains high and wide can make a huge difference!" Malarkey says. "Elevate your ceiling and magnify your windows with this easy and affordable trick. Not only will your space look more expensive, but it will also feel more open and inviting."
If you do want new drapes, go for those on the longer side. "Opt for curtains that gracefully touch the floor and hang them a few inches above your window frame for maximum impact," Malarkey adds.
Verruto agrees, noting that you should go for curtains that are 96 or 108 inches—depending on the height of your ceiling—as opposed to 84-inch drapes "that just sit on top of the window frame." This strategy makes your windows look longer and your ceilings look higher, both of which feel more luxurious.
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Get in touch with nature.
Rounding out the list of recommendations, interior designers suggest you incorporate natural elements for a more expensive feel.
"Add some greenery to the living room," Daley suggests. "Plants warm up a space no matter what the style of the room is. Fresh flowers that are inexpensive can be found at your local market and can finish off the space, especially if the living room is ready for entertaining."
Malarkey also has natural elements on her list of affordable tips, noting that you can introduce wood or stone to "create a sense of warmth and tranquility that will make your home feel like a true oasis."