Designers swear these 8 living room layout hacks will instantly elevate your space, no matter what the size

From taking advantage of vertical space to integrating oversized artwork, these are the layout hacks that'll level up your living room, according to interior designers

Three neutral-colored living rooms
(Image credit: Mike Chajecki / Hibou & Co.; Button Atelier; Future)

Spending money on your home is a worthy investment, improving your daily life and making your surroundings more beautiful. But often, small upgrades can make your room look more expensive without spending a penny. Adjusting the layout of your living room can go a long way, making your home look luxurious and designer-finished.

There are so many little touches that can take your living room's layout to the next level, and knowing where to start can prove quite overwhelming. To make the task a bit more simple, we spoke with interior designers, who shared their top 12 layout hacks for designing an expensive-looking living room. Here's what they had to say.

12 ways to elevate your living room with the layout

From arranging furniture to layering living room lighting, there's so much opportunity for a layout refresh – and many options don't require anything new! Here's what designers recommend if you're looking to make your living room a bit more luxurious.

1. Consider scale and proportion

A living room with a blue marble fireplace, a rounded green velvet sofa and artwork on the walls

(Image credit: Future)

The first step to making your living room more luxe is deciding what furniture will look best in your space. By considering the size and scale of your living room, and picturing how your furniture will fit in, you can avoid any awkward placements or proportions.

'There is nothing worse than furniture that is too large, making a room cramped and "furniture heavy," and, on the flip side, furniture that is too small, making it look like someone didn’t have the funds to properly furnish the space,' says Tyler Del Vento, founder and principal designer of TDV Design.

Make sure the furniture you select doesn't overwhelm the rest of the space, drawing the eye away from key focal points. Relatively small furniture placed within a space that has spacious ceilings or loads of square footage can also lead to an odd arrangement. By getting the balance right, you'll be left with an expensive-looking, well-considered space. 

Brittny Button, founder and principal designer of Los Angeles-based Button Atelier, adds that 'scale matters' quite a bit, even translating to outdoor living areas. She says 'utilizing the scale of objects creates grandeur and visual balance' in any space.

2. Aim for symmetry and balance

A living room with two patterned pink chairs, symmetrical white bookcases and a large mirror

(Image credit: Future)

With visual balance in mind, a symmetrical design scheme brings a sense of calm grace to any space. Tyler says that 'people tend to gravitate toward' this look, as it 'can immediately elevate a room.' She suggests placing two sofas facing each other in a living room for a balanced space.

'Creating a room that exudes an air of elegance and luxury, regardless of budget, is a testament to the power of design ... Symmetrical arrangements create a sense of harmony and formality,' adds Marie Cloud, founder and principal designer of Indigo Pruitt Design Studio.

Marie adds that mirroring pairs of armchairs or side tables on either side of 'a central point' like a fireplace or coffee table makes for a cohesive, put-together, and expensive-looking space.

Ewa Podgórska, owner and principal designer at New York City-based Sova Studio, says the symmetrical approach can apply to lighting and smaller design accessories as well: 'Add a pair of table lamps to your side tables. Symmetry is classy and instantly elevates any space,' she says.

3. Find opportunities for repetition

A neutral living room with symmetrical seating and a lit fireplace

(Image credit: Future)

Integrating small doses of repetition in interior design throughout your space also looks for a luxe look, adds Brittny. In an outdoor space, she placed five chaises with matching umbrellas to 'convey a luxury hotel feeling and a repetitive symmetry that's relaxing to look at.' 

But the repetitive design look can easily be replicated in the living room as well. Try pulling one color or texture throughout the entire space, weaving it into different areas of the design for a classy take on repetition, or bring two or three of the same items into the room for a familiar furniture pattern.

4. Create zones within your space

A neutral-toned room with large windows, a circular rug and seating

(Image credit: Future)

A luxe open-plan living room doesn't need to stick to just one purpose – make the most of your space by dividing it into 'distinct zones,' crafted specially for specific activities. This will make your living room feel bespoke, and like it's been designed with luxury in mind. Ewa suggests keeping the color scheme consistent across 'zones' to ensure your space doesn't feel fragmented or disorganized.

'In a living room that also doubles as your home office, make sure that your lounge area with your sofa, armchairs and coffee table is a self-contained zone anchored by a rug, and your desk has its own nook that’s dedicated to your work-related activities only. Add some beautiful bookshelf ideas or wall shelving near your desk to give it that private library feel,' says Ewa.

5. Simplify your belongings

A neutral-toned living room with a large curved couch and tall windows

(Image credit: Button Atelier)

In the vein of last year's 'quiet luxury' interiors trend, designers say that paring back your belongings and simplifying the layout of your living room will make the space look more expensive. If you're looking for a luxe living room, 'don't overpopulate the space,' warns Brittny.

'Simplify the space. Adding a built-in bench under the window or hanging wicker chairs creates devoted seating areas within the spaces. Natural wood colors are effortless and calm when paired with tonal whites. Oftentimes, mixing multiple seating areas and using lighting as a kind of sculpture gives the room heightened appeal,' she says.

Marie also says to simplify, suggesting 'fewer and larger' pieces of furniture: 'Instead of cluttering a space with many small items, choose fewer, larger pieces of furniture and art. This simplifies the space and gives it a more grandiose feel.'

With accessories, too, Marie says a little goes a long way. Don't display every design accessory you have lying around the house – instead, be intentional with 'fewer, more impactful pieces.' Marie often goes for oversized mirrors, large vases or 'statement sculptures.'

And even if you're not making any significant changes to your living room, Shaunn Lipsey – principal designer and owner of Lipsey + Co. – says that decluttering is 'one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make a room look more expensive.'

'Remove unnecessary items and keep surfaces clean and tidy. Minimalism can create an impression of luxury and sophistication,' she says.

6. Avoid too much matching

A green living room with large picture windows and eclectic furniture

(Image credit: Future)

While mirroring items and going for symmetry can give a room a level up, picking out a considered collection of unique pieces that don't match is another approach to an expensive-looking living room.

'When looking to elevate your space, giving it a more expensive look, it’s essential to avoid purchasing all your pieces from one single source, specifically steering clear of matching your living room furniture,' says Eugenia Triandos, principal designer of Montreal-based Hibou Design & Co.

Though matching sets give a room a cohesive look with little effort, they don't give a space the storied personality that a smart selection of diverse pieces does. Instead, collect your furniture over time, and only invest in the items that speak to you and complement your personal design style. Ewa adds that keeping your collection of furniture within the same color palette can make decision-making a bit easier.

'Play with varied textures and tones for a more sophisticated look. Mix various wood tones and finishes, introduce a stone vase or sculpture, and add softness with textiles. Here a blend of various textures is key, soft linen drapes, a cozy boucle chair, a plush wool rug, and a touch of velvet with a pillow. Have fun with it,' she says.

7. Take advantage of vertical space

A living room with tall ceilings, a dining table, and an outdoor view

(Image credit: Future)

It's easy to forget about your home's vertical space when arranging furniture and accessories. Whether you have stunning skylights, a spacious, high-ceilinged living room, or a beautiful light fixture tying the space together, there are a lot of luxurious design opportunities to be found when you simply look up. 

Marie suggests taking advantage of this verticality when creating a thoughtful layout.

'Use tall elements like vertical shelving, long curtains, and artwork to draw the eye upward. This makes the room appear larger and more grand,' she says.

8. Layer your lighting

A living room with white furniture, wooden beams and large windows with an outdoor view

(Image credit: Mike Chajecki / Hibou & Co.)

Though it often doesn't take up much space, lighting is an integral element of your living room's layout – and getting it right can really make the space. Jessica Cinnamon, interior designer and founder of Jessica Cinnamon Design, suggests decorating with mirrors, large-scale light fixtures and specialty lighting to make a grand statement in your space.

'Lighting has come a long way – we see decorative wall sconces installed to be more like art, and we integrate ambient lighting within custom millwork and wall or ceiling treatments,' she says.

Marie also says statement lighting can make a room appear more expensive, adding that a 'dramatic light fixture or a sculptural floor lamp can act as a focal point.' When you opt for quality light fixtures, they can elevate the entire space and make it more comfortable for your daily use. Marie adds that taking a layered approach to living room lighting is also a surefire way to elevate your space.

'Combine ambient, task, and accent lighting to add warmth and depth. This layering effect adds a luxurious ambiance to any room,' she says.

Eugenia adds that embracing natural light – and letting it shine with custom window coverings – brings an extra element of luxury to any space.

'Invest in quality light fixtures and custom window coverings! Lighting is the jewelry of a home and are seen right at eye level, it can easily elevate any design,' says Eugenia.

Shaunn agrees, saying that a 'well-designed window treatment' is a little touch that goes a long way: 'Choose curtains or drapes made from high-quality fabrics and consider installing them close to the ceiling and extending them beyond the window frame to create the illusion of height and width,' she says.

9. Make statements

A living room with a curved chair and a tall lamp

(Image credit: Future)

When crafting your luxurious living room layout, be sure to select a focal point, whether it's a striking piece of furniture or eye-catching artwork. This will set the tone for your space, conveying your personality and framing the rest of your carefully curated items.

'Every room needs a focal point, whether it's an art piece, a beautiful piece of furniture, or an architectural feature. Design the layout to accentuate this feature, drawing the eye and adding to the room's luxury,' says Marie.

Tyler agrees, adding that sometimes, having a clear focal point can disguise other aspects of your space that might still need some improvement.

'If you’re able to draw someone’s eye in with a unique anchor piece, they’re less likely to focus on other smaller details that might not be working 100%,' says Tyler.

10. Pay attention to the details

A pink living room with tall built-in bookshelves, a white fireplace, and a collage of framed artwork

(Image credit: Future)

When making your space more extravagant, the devil's in the details. You'll want to take a look around the room and ensure you've covered every minor design element, from the baseboards to power cords.

'In addition to the layout, there are several finishing details you can do to make your space feel "designer-finished" and lavish: change out the outlet plugs and outlet cover plates to match the wall or baseboard color, depending on where they’re located. This makes a HUGE difference! Similarly, if there are ceiling, wall, or floor vents that are dated, yellowish in color or just plain ugly, change them. There are so many materials, colors, and styles that will add an instant upgrade to any room,' says Tyler.

Marie adds that mixing materials and textures 'to add depth and interest' to a space and interspersing well-loved objects, are excellent ways to make sure every detail is considered and sophisticated.

'Combine soft textiles like velvet and silk with hard materials like metal, glass, and wood. This contrast makes spaces feel layered and luxurious ... Incorporate unique or antique pieces that tell a story. A one-of-a-kind item adds character and luxury, as it suggests a curated collection,' she says.

11. Opt for oversized artwork

A living room with a large piece of artwork above a fireplace, large built-in bookshelves on either side, and seating

(Image credit: Future)

Unique artwork offers a simple way to upgrade your space, and considering a large, framed piece of art as part of the room's layout ensures that you're giving the piece room to breathe. Shaunn suggests incorporating 'large-scale artwork' to add 'drama and sophistication to a room.'

'Choose pieces that make a statement and command attention. You don't necessarily have to spend a lot on original artwork; high-quality prints or photographs can also have a big impact,' she says.

12. Go for quality over quantity

A light pink living room with tall ceilings and decorative accessories

(Image credit: Future)

When designing a space with luxury in mind, it's important to remember that quality always beats quantity. Invest in pieces that won't wear down over time, and only bring items you truly love into your space. Steering clear of fast-moving trends and focusing on the essentials is ultimately the key to designing an expensive-looking space.

'Choose high-quality fabrics and materials for key pieces, like a sofa or curtains. These elements can significantly influence the perceived value of the space,' says Marie.

Shaunn adds that 'quality basics' are great starts, allowing you to up the value of your living space without swapping out every single item, all at the same time.

'While you don't have to spend a fortune on every piece of furniture, investing in high-quality basics like a well-made sofa or a sturdy dining table can elevate the entire room's appearance.  By implementing these layout tricks and design principles, you can create a space that looks and feels luxurious without breaking the bank, she says.

Getting your living room's layout right can have an enormous impact on your lifestyle, and these 12 tips just might make the design process a little bit easier.

'In my opinion and experience implementing these strategies requires a thoughtful approach, blending aesthetics with function. By focusing on symmetry, high-contrast palettes, textural contrast, and strategic furniture placement, you can create a luxurious environment that resonates with your identity, passions, and lifestyle, aligning perfectly with your mission of fostering spaces that nourish the body and spirit,' says Marie.

Abby Wilson
Interior Design News Editor

I am an Interior Design News Editor at Homes & Gardens. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.