How to Give Your Living Room High-End Style on Budget

By Neila Deen, Houzz

If you're contemplating giving your living room a high-end makeover, making the right design choices can be challenging. After all, what is it that really makes a room look luxurious? Is it replacing your sofa and coffee table with more stylish pieces? Not necessarily. While expensive furniture can elevate the style factor in a room, it doesn't guarantee a high-end look, nor does it fit everyone's budget.

When helping a client efficiently revamp their living room, I turn to a couple of tried-and-true interior design tricks - going big and using luxe finishes - to create high style without overhauling the entire room and breaking the bank. Here are eight ideas to give your living room high-end style, along with some tips for getting that luxe look on a budget.

1. Statement Lighting

Whether it's a table lamp, ceiling light or floor lamp, a lighting source can also be a statement piece. Try adding drama via oversized lampshades, a glamorous gold lamp base or a modern crystal chandelier. A shiny finish or a large size can give a room a high-style focal point.

ABRAMS, original photo on Houzz
ABRAMS, original photo on Houzz

In this space, the brass chandelier and table lamps give a dramatic, glamorous glow to the black-and-yellow palette.

Budget tip: Glamorous lighting options can definitely be budget-friendly. Some crystal ceiling fixtures can be found for under $200. For gilded table and floor lamps, look to big-box stores for eye-catching styles under $100.

2. Wall Mirrors

Mirrors are the quintessential accessory to add light, the illusion of more space and a shiny, luxe feeling. Try hanging at least one large mirror above a sofa, credenza or showcase feature, such as a fireplace.

Amy Hill Designs, original photo on Houzz
Amy Hill Designs, original photo on Houzz

In this neutral living room, a series of simple, large mirrors creates an elegant backdrop to the white sofas. It gives the room an expensive jewel-box feeling without adding too much bling.

Budget tip: Oversized mirrors need not be ornate to create a luxe look. If a large mirror isn't an option, try grouping smaller mirrors for a similar effect.

3. Oversized Art

When it comes to artwork in the living room, the bigger the canvas or framed art, the more high-end the room will feel. Large artwork creates a gallery look, which appears expensive.

Lovely Gays, original photo on Houzz
Lovely Gays, original photo on Houzz

In this room, a large canvas with metallic gold paint turns an ordinary white credenza into a showpiece. The contrasting black lamp further enhances the drama of the wall.

Related: Pick the Perfect Painting for Your Room

Budget tip: Selecting art that's inexpensive but looks high-end can be a challenge. It's also difficult because art is subjective and personal. For affordable options, turn to online sites such as Etsy or Chairish, or even browse your local flea markets. Look for large original painted canvases or framed prints, as they typically look more high-end than a printed canvas or giclée. Simple shapes and forms that appeal to you and that add a pop of color or drama can work to create a gallery-like feeling in your living room.

Contemporary Living Room, original photo on Houzz
Contemporary Living Room, original photo on Houzz

4. Large Rugs

A rug that easily fits under all of your essential furniture (sofa, coffee table and any armchair) will make your room feel bigger. This is key when you're looking to raise the bar on style and elegance in a living room. Here the large rug showcases all of the furniture. Its large size helps the eye travel and take in the expanse of the room, including the stylish accent chair and colored pouf. Compare the look here to how the space would look with just a small rug under the coffee table. A diminutive size might look like a bath mat, and would also make the room look smaller.

Budget tip: Large rugs can get pricey, but natural fiber rugs such as jute and sisal can be cost-efficient. Sometimes they are woven with other materials to give a softer feel. Alternatively, look for indoor-outdoor rugs with comfortable textures.

5. High, Lush Curtains

Hang window treatments as high as possible on the wall, or even from the ceiling. An elevated placement creates volume and gives the illusion of a higher ceiling, something many luxury living rooms feature.

Budget tip: When expensive curtain panels aren't in your budget, doubling up on panels, meaning hanging more of them, is another way to give your room a more expensive look. Thicker bunched panels make most curtain materials look more lush. Doubling the quantity can also help to conceal any inferior quality or details in your draperies. A mostly solid color that has some texture usually makes even less costly curtains look higher-end.

Specht Architects, original photo on Houzz
Specht Architects, original photo on Houzz

6. Luxurious Pillows and Throws

Make the small investment in throw pillows and throw blankets made of luxe textiles. Look for fabrics such as silk, metallic linen, velvet and even faux fur. These fabrics not only look and feel expensive, but their textured surfaces also will help create a layered and highly styled look when placed on your existing furniture.

Choose textiles in hues that add a hint of color and complement your current sofa or armchair. Or make a statement with your glam pillows and add a more dramatic pop of color.

Budget tip: When choosing cost-efficient linen-blend and budget-friendly velvet pillows, opt for a soft and plush down alternative or feather-down insert. These inserts cost just a few dollars more than poly-fill pillows and will give your pillows a lush look and elevate the comfort level.

7. Big, Minimalist Accessories

Add a couple of large decorative accessories in the living room, like a wood sculpture or large vase containing one botanical piece. The oversized piece will create an artful silhouette.

Similarly, a minimalist featured accessory will create a focal point, helping to distract from the less-desirable aspects of the room, like a piece of worn furniture.

Pleasant Living, LLC, original photo on Houzz
Pleasant Living, LLC, original photo on Houzz

Here an artful large sculpture on the coffee table complements the minimalist flower installation on the wall. This stylish display stands out against the brown painted wall, creating a focal point.

Budget tip: As shown in this space, shelves are a terrific and inexpensive tool to help showcase a minimalist installation. A few simple objects of the same color or shape, such as small vases or round decorative balls, work well.

8. Glam Accessories

Using a few smaller accessories in luxe materials is a favorite designer trick to give a room a more glamorous feel. Options include coasters, trays and candlesticks, ideally in high-end finishes such as gold, marble, crystal or mirror - pretty much any small accent with a shiny surface. These subtle luxurious details make the room read expensive and give it a jewel-box feeling. Strategically place your glittery pieces on prominent surfaces in the room, such as a coffee table or mantel, so they will draw the eye when you enter the room.

Budget tip: Smaller accessories can be budget-friendly. Think metallic pencils in a cup or gold photo frames, and if a mirrored tray is a bit too costly, just use an affordable small wall mirror as your tray and place your glasses and decorative items on top.

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