How to Make Your Living Room Look Expensive

News flash: You don't actually have to spend an arm and a leg to make your living room look expensive. The key is all in selecting the right combination of furniture, fixtures, and finishes. We spoke with seven top designers who gave us the low down on how to easily make your living space look a little more glam (no lottery winnings required).

  • 01 of 07

    Incorporate Antiques

    Laura Hur antiques

    Lorla Studio for Laura Hur

    Don't opt solely for contemporary furniture items and accents when styling your living space. "A room filled with all new furnishings can lack interest, so bringing in a piece that feels collected can tell a story in the space," designer Molly Machmer-Wessels shares. Designer Natalie Papier also suggests going the antique route for some added charm. "Solid wood buffets, vintage velvet pieces, and gilded mirrors can add a sophisticated, luxe look to a room at a budget-friendly price point by shopping Facebook Marketplace and flea markets for these pieces," she says.

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  • 02 of 07

    Hang Large Scale Art

    lemon leaf home interiors living room

    Lemon Leaf Home Interiors

    Save those small prints for the bathroom or style them on your built-ins. "Large scale art can give a room a polished focal point," Papier explains. And there's no need to go out and purchase all new artwork—you can easily achieve the look by framing your pieces strategically. "I suggest matting small to medium sized art or prints when framing to bulk these pieces up to fit the space to make it feel more high end," she shares. "I especially love to use photography and if I'm working on a tight budget, I have found the best vintage photos on Etsy and had them framed by Framebridge as large as possible," designer Christina Kim adds.

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  • 03 of 07

    Replace Bland Light Fixtures

    Laura Hur light fixture

    Vivian Johnson for Laura Hur

    Take that builder-grade lighting down, now! Opt for something glam instead, urges designer Noel Gatts. "A dramatic chandelier floating over a coffee table, or two statement making sconces flanking a fireplace instantly elevate the design and balance of room," she explains. "Add a dimmer for decadent low light in the evenings, and you'll never again underestimate the power of ambience."

    If you're looking for a category in which to splurge a bit, this is it, Machmer-Wessels adds. "Lighting... can really dress up a space both from a sculptural perspective and by creating a mood," she explains. "A room can be extremely minimal, and with excellent lighting can feel like a sophisticated gallery."   

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  • 04 of 07

    Go Green

    Laura Hur greenery

    Vivian Johnson for Laura Hur

    Plants and florals are almost always the answer. "An overflowing bouquet of fresh seasonal flowers and rustic greenery is an easy way to instantly elevate your living room and transport you and your guests to a summer in the Hamptons or an evening in Beverly Hills," Gatts shares.

    "Place your blooms on side tables, window sills or a mantle...or put a twist on tradition and perch a vase on top of a stack of books on your coffee table." You don't need to spend major cash on fancy bouquets, either, and can easily create this look by shopping your local farmers' market. (And there's no shame in investing in some quality fake plants.)

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  • 05 of 07

    Think Monochrome

    Laura Hur monochrome

    Seth Caplan for Laura Hur

    "The same way an all black or solid white outfit is a relatively foolproof way to look chic, designing a room in primarily one color works the same way," designer Laura Hur explains. "This is seen most often with an all white room for a timeless, sophisticated and high-end look." That said, you'll still want to invoke a little personality, she notes. "Be sure to incorporate lots of textures, and different materials to keep the room from feeling flat, and a few accents, such as metallics and woods are a nice touch."

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  • 06 of 07

    Treat Yourself to Textiles

    Molly Machmer-Wessels textiles

    Woodland Design Company

    "Incorporating luxe textiles into your space is a sure-fire way to make a room look and feel expensive," designer Jennifer Jones explains. "The texture and sheen of velvet, mohair, and boucle make them beautiful choices for upholstery or accent pillows." With all of these fabrics being extremely on-trend right now, it shouldn't be difficult to locate a piece that complements your existing space and comes in at the right price point.

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  • 07 of 07

    Mix and Match

    Molly Machmer-Wessels living room

    Woodland Design Company

    "A mix of highs and lows is a great way to round out every project, and if done successfully the overall read of the room is expensive," explains Kristen Peña. "My best advice for doing this is to choose key pieces like lighting and luxe fabrics as your splurge items and pick lower cost items like side tables in natural materials like wood or stone as your lower cost pieces."

    However, to that end, there's one key tactic to keep in mind, Peña notes—be sure to pass up veneers or lower cost woods, which will cheapen a space.