The most indulgent, luxurious, and expensive-looking homes are all about comfort and character, therefore, the materials you choose will be of utmost importance if you want a home that exudes luxury.
But before you invest in a complete revamp, think critically, because spending a small fortune on fixtures, fittings, and paint does not always guarantee a smart, tailored, or value-for-money look.
It might sound ironic, but full home transformations don’t always have to be grand or expensive affairs. Instead, they can be slowly curated through minimal updates that don’t break the bank but leave your space looking expensive and luxurious. All your home decor needs are a few thoughtful details to give it that five-star status that you have always desired.
How can I make my home look luxurious?
Creating the ultimate retreat in your home should be a multisensory experience; a visual masterpiece that still maintains the functionality that you'd expect from your home.
From clever tricks to make a living room look expensive to wonderful ways with room colors and bespoke storage ideas, our designers' beautiful decorating ideas will help you curate a home that not only looks luxurious and expensive but also one that will ensure you are happier at home.
Here, some of our favorite interior designers and decorators share with us their most-used design-led ways to make a home look luxurious.
1. Feed a crowd in a kitchen centered around entertaining
The most important part of a kitchen for entertaining is the seating, so bump up your guest list by making seating built-in.
‘Banquette seating is a remarkably efficient way to squeeze more seating into a small area,’ explains Irene Gunter, co-founder, Gunter & Co. ‘Here, I was also keen to conceal food preparation mess from diners. The fluted wood cladding wraps around the island and rises above the worktop so that it can’t be seen from the dining table.’
2. Embrace well-being in the bathroom
Elegant and luxurious, wellness bathrooms that focus on spa-like features are all the rage.
When it comes to designing a bathroom, the luxury of space itself can provide a huge advantage. In this generous apartment in uptown Barcelona, the interior design team at That Home Studio were lucky to work with high ceilings, large windows, and the potential to incorporate a vast walk-in shower room area.
The balance of textures was key; fluted timber, bouclé upholstery, and carved mirror frames all serve to soften the hard surfaces, while enhancing that sense of lavishness usually only experienced at the most exclusive spa resorts. Painting the ceiling in dark terracotta deflects from the imposing bathroom ceiling height for a more intimate atmosphere.
4. Priortize storage that sings
In a luxurious home, storage should restore calm, provide display space and be suitably chic.
This beautiful wall of bespoke joinery in natural wood, another influential home decor trend, is hugely characterful and provides plenty of open and closed storage. The finishing touch was the lighting. Without the right lighting, it could end up looking almost black during the evenings, so a blend of wall and overhead lighting was needed to create the right balance of atmosphere and practicality.
'Use the architecture of the room to your advantage,' says Jessica Bennett, interior designer and owner of Alice Lane Interior Design. 'If there is a nook or a niche in a room, use it,' she says. 'Make awkward corners and blank walls a point of interest.'
Jessica started her creative journey at Utah State University. Her studies there led to her work in an ad agency as an art director but building her home brought back her earliest passion: interior design.
5. Go big with maximalist style and extravagance
Maximalist decor is one of our favorite home decor trends this year, and it is here to bring playfulness and joy to your interior. The key to this aesthetic is decorating with vivid hues, luxurious pieces, and exuberant patterns.
The easiest way to embrace this characterful trend is through art. The way art is displayed can have a transformative impact on a space, so be sure to invest in lavish looks that wouldn't look out of place in the grandest of palaces, and that is exactly what Lucy Sear-Barlow of Barlow & Barlow did in the living room of her former London home.
'While it can be tempting to spotlight a favorite painting as a showpiece, at the same time as pulling back on decorative details lest they detract from it, it’s not the only way to go,' she says. Lucy shows that it is entirely possible to fold other elements into a space with charming results.
Here, a painting by Diane Whalley is hung in a foremost position above the fireplace. But also drawing the eye is a sofa covered in Magnolia by GP&J Baker, alongside a vintage cabinet that doubles as a bar. Taking a cue from the pink in the painting is a Chequerboard rug, part of a collaboration between Barlow & Barlow and Pelican House.
6. Minimize the presence of a TV
The living room TV is a ubiquitous presence in sitting rooms but its black reflective screen is regarded as an eyesore by decorators. The most common solution is to house it in a specially designed cabinet, but it’s not the only one. At first glance, this room looks colorful and bold using Studio Ashby’s signature mix of antiques, bespoke pieces and contemporary design. The surprise is that the art can slide aside revealing the TV behind.
The TV must never be on show; that’s one of our rules at Studio Ashby,’ says founder and creative director Sophie Ashby. ‘In every project, we’ll commission joinery to conceal it like in this project in London’s Mayfair, where we’ve used this beautiful Jack Penny artwork to hide the TV.’
Sophie Ashby is the founder and creative director of Studio Ashby. Having studied interior design at the famous Parsons, The New School in Manhattan, Sophie honed her skills over the years with strong mentorship.
Ashby's aim is to bring authenticity and thought to each project, not only in the selection of furniture, lighting, and art but in its use of a natural palette of materials and textures.
7. Create a focal point in a living area
Focal points in interior design are vital to anchor a room, and there's nothing like a fire around which to gather and its design will play a key role in a room's aesthetic.
It’s impossible to ignore a highly architectural fireplace, so better to embrace it and create a scheme taking cues from the design. This fireplace in the entrance lobby of the Chelsea Barracks Development in London was designed by Squire & Partners using a series of linear steps in lieu of a surround. Interior decorator Charu Gandhi of Elicyon was asked to build a scheme around it.
‘The fireplace has a monolithic yet light quality to it, and it enhances the symmetry of this space,’ says Charu. ‘We played to this symmetry with the setting of the furniture but softened the geometry with curved, warm-colored pieces. The artwork is by Geraldine Larkin, who stitched this metal tapestry as a counterpoint to the fireplace’s linearity.’
Charu Gandhi is the founder & director of Elicyon. Charu Gandhi is a qualified Architect, registered with RIBA and ARB, who studied and taught at the Architectural Association. Elicyon’s recent projects include the first-ever show apartment at Chelsea Barracks, private homes within Claridges, Mayfair Park Residences and boutique property development, and Beaufort Gardens in Kensington.
8. Make a spectacle with statement lighting in a dining space
Achieving a great atmosphere and look in your dining space will come down to smart lighting, therefore choosing a pendant that exudes luxury will be a fundamental choice.
Some rooms simply call out for a traditional glass chandelier that not only looks stunning by day but will look even more dramatic at night as the light sparkles and reflects through the individual pieces of glass. This is particularly true of rooms whose sole purpose is for dining; traditional chandeliers will not easily make the crossover to task lighting for home working. Ceiling heights are a critical consideration before investing in such a piece.
For example, the Sorbonne chandelier by Vaughan Designs, which features hand-blown glass horseshoe shapes that cascade from a nickel frame, has a height of 34 inches. Here, decorator Mary Beth Wagner has employed it to fill the otherwise empty space above the table.
9. A front porch defined by symmetry
A well-chosen front door design and beautiful front porch speak volumes and set the tone for what visitors might expect once inside, but if you want to make the exterior of your house look expensive, then you may need more than just a fresh coat of paint.
Your front garden is such an important part of your home's curb appeal. If it’s well maintained, it’s a lovely reflection of how much you care about your home and neighborhood, so if your frontage is decidedly off-putting, a radical exterior makeover can transform it from ugly duckling to prime property.
One of the most influential outdoor trends we are seeing at the moment uses symmetry in interior design to add balance and aid a feeling of calm. A simple solution is to introduce a symmetrical pair of statement planters to make your front door more attractive, as demonstrated in this space by Mary Jo Fiorella of Fiorella Design.
How can I make my home look elegance?
Exquisite and elegant interiors are those that balance practicality and personality. Knowing the basic interior design rules will give you a platform on which to build a scheme that inspires and delights.
While there's certainly no one size fits all formula, there are still a few basic principles we should master if we want to curate a beautiful home that is fit for family life. A well-planned home not only looks elegant but should also improve your quality of life.
‘We always encourage our clients to live in a space first before they make any expensive or architectural changes,’ says interior designer Samantha Todhunter. 'It is important to not only understand the circulation and flow, but also to define what it is you need from your space, and how you would like it to perform.' This is the true secret of an elegant home – not one that embraces unfashionable trends and fads.
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Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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