8 luxury small living room ideas that bring the right kind of drama

Add atmosphere with our experts' luxury small living room ideas

Living rooms with white furniture
(Image credit: @mycityapartment/@tulipsforthetable/@thistle.harvest)

Incorporating luxury small living room ideas into your space will no doubt entice you to rush home after a long day.

Done well, a luxury space is welcoming and cozy. Our expert designers have revealed eight ways to shift your small living room's current look to pure elegance without the need to overhaul everything.

Using a blend of clever layouts, the right tones, and textures will bring the right kind of drama to your small living room. For the most enviable looks, we scoured Instagram and called on our favorite interior designers for their expert insight.

Luxury small living room ideas

Our designer-led guide is packed with fab ideas that are easy to integrate into modern small living room ideas and more traditional settings alike. Rework your space to create a rich and uplifting finish, without making the space feel heavy.

1. Bring cohesion with color

Stone square coffee table over textured square patterned rug, with candles, books, and a large bouquet-filled vase for decor

(Image credit: @thatsophiahome)

A small space that is full of luxe should still be grounding. Neutral small living room color schemes need not be cold or bland. A lighter palette can be the perfect lift in this space.

"To achieve a luxurious ambiance in a small living room, a key strategy to focus on is a cohesive color scheme, particularly by painting the walls and woodwork in the same tone," says designer Jennifer Davis

White woman with long golden blonde hair wearing animal print rust colored dress in white room near window is designer Jennifer Davis
Jennifer Davis

Jennifer fell in love with design at a young age and has been working in the industry for over 25 years. She has an eye for detail, and a talent for creating timeless designs. Jennifer offers a balance of creativity and organized structure.

Jennifer continues, "Opting for a monochromatic palette, such as subtle whites, creams, or soft grays, creates an elegant and seamless backdrop, making the room feel more expansive."

2. Layer rich hues of nature

Earthy and tonal palette small living room with teal sofa, woven chairs, single landscape painting on the wall and Persian area rug beneath coffee table

(Image credit: @jennasuedesign)

Warm hue-lovers, do not dismay. A cohesive color scheme by no means dismisses rich, pigmented tones, especially where you are looking for a luxe finish. 

"Deep and rich hues like navy blue or charcoal gray can add opulence and warmth to the space," says Jennifer. Choose a smokey blue couch, with throw pillows that nod to it, and layer them up over a Persian-style rug. 

Right now, we have our eye on this Target Woven Diamond Persian rug in neutral. The key is to not go overboard, and when using texture, avoid big contrasts in color.

3. Complement the bones of the room

Corner of yellow ochre living room with wainscoting paneling and deep green couch with red accent throw pillow and lucky bamboo

(Image credit: @domandecors)

Highlighting the room's natural beauty, or giving it a little more detail will bring instant luxury vibes and add depth to a small living room space. "Emphasizing architectural details by painting trim and woodwork in the same color as the walls contributes to a unified and sophisticated appearance," says Jennifer. 

We love the contrast of ochre on the walls with the molding in the same color against the jungle green couch and bright orange throw pillow in the bright space above, created by @domandecors

The palette is bold but delicately interacts with the sole piece of artwork on the wall, bringing visual balance and design symphony. You can find plenty of ornate gold picture frames at Walmart and other stores online for far less than they might seem.

4. Include iconic and unique vibes

Small white living room with bold printed sectional couch and iconic sculpted glass-top coffee tables

(Image credit: @domandecors)

"The use of statement furniture pieces, such as an antique piece or unique print on upholstery, further enhances the overall luxurious feel," explains Jennifer. 

Great finds make it worth the trawl online or in second-hand stores. 

Whether you add a preloved coffee table, or the most iconically upholstered sectional as seen in this small, yet bougie living room space created by @domandecors, including at least one unique piece will lift your interior design scheme into the most luxe realms.

5. Let the ceiling make a statement

Neutral living room with patterned white wallpaper and stone wall framing central round coffee table and wooden console with vases of dried neutral colored flowers

(Image credit: @thistle.harvest)

A key living room trend that is here to stay in 2024 is the focus on using your fifth wall — the ceiling.

"Incorporating living room ceiling design is also a key element in transforming a small living room into a luxurious space," Jennifer tells Real Homes. "Wallpaper on the ceiling or wood accents overhead can add a layer of sophistication and visual interest. 

This is still an option if you rent, just stick with good old peel-and-stick wallpaper.

Jennifer adds, "Opting for a subtle and elegant wallpaper pattern can draw the eyes upward, creating the illusion of height and expansiveness. Alternatively, wooden ceiling details, such as coffered panels or intricate molding, can bring warmth and a touch of traditional charm to the room.'

There is no denying utilizing the ceiling is a clever way to make a living room feel cozy and cocooned too.

6. Make your couch cool

Small neutral living room with cream couch and luxe throws, wainscoting, gold-framed landscape picture, and ceramic pot in sight

(Image credit: @tulipsforthetable)

"Your sofa is the star of the show in the living room," says Nicole Cullum, interior designer and founder of Color Caravan

"Make sure this piece is sturdy and up to date. An interesting shaped frame or a modern fabric like a boucle will elevate your sofa from man cave to mansion." 

Nicole Cullum, Color Caravan Founder
Nicole Cullum

Nicole Cullum is an interior designer in Taos, New Mexico, and Founder of Color Caravan, a charming hand-painted line of wallpaper, textiles, bedding, and home decor.

Throws and pillows should also add to the luxury vibe. Let them be sumptuous, and gorgeous in a nonchalant kinda way. 

"Add a faux fur throw, or quality thread blanket tossed over the side for added drama," continues Nicole. 

For even more elegance, make sure wall paneling is part of the mix. A little millwork molding, such as that used by @tulipsforthetable in this scene is a subtle nod to luxury, especially with the chandelier-esque wall sconces and ornate frame. 

Not to mention, the glass coffee table brings all the reflective chic you could want in a small space. Shop a Prairie Land framed 12x12" framed canvas on Target for a similar vibe..

7. Don't do decor by numbers

Glass decorative lamp with white shade sits upon small elegantly displayed books next to white ceramic vase with delicate white small petaled flowers

(Image credit: @mycityapartment)

Unfussy decor always exudes a little more sophistication and it is so important to prioritize quality over quantity when designing a small luxury living room or decorating an apartment

Nicole says, "Get more for your square footage by using less. A single large piece of artwork framed over the sofa has more visual impact than a cluttered gallery wall, especially in smaller spaces. 

"When you remove excess decor, the pieces that remain are more important, give more impact to your design, and reflect your personal interests and style."

8. Keep lighting sculpted

View from hallway looking onto small living room with architectural detail including column, wicker accents and artful objects

(Image credit: @thistle.harvest)

Who could argue that one of the modern-day functions of lighting is that it must be beyond aesthetically pleasing? A mix of contemporary pendants and vintage lamps like this ribbed small glass lamb base at Target, are perfect to layer together. 

"In 2024, a big design trend is lighting as artwork. Gone are the days of solely relying on overhead can [recessed] lights," Nicole adds. 

Look beyond vanilla small living room lighting to make your fixtures a talking point. "Layer your lighting with sculptural lamps, unusual light fixtures, and modern floor lamps for high, medium, and low-level lighting that will act as a real-life beauty filter in your space."

A little like creating quiet luxury vibes, for luxury small living rooms, think curated decor and furniture added with thoughtfulness.

For a true luxury finish, don't be afraid to let your small living room space glow with grand character too. 

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Former Deputy Editor

I'm Cam, the former deputy editor of Real Homes who worked on the site from 2020 to 2023. As a renter myself, sharing a home with two friends (and my cat) in London, I know all too well the challenges that this can pose when it comes to creating your perfect setup. As someone who has always loved everything interior design-related, I cannot rest until a home feels right and I am really passionate about helping others get there too, no matter what their living situation, style, or budget may be. It’s not always the easiest to figure out, but the journey is fun and the results are so worth it.

After interior design, travel, art, and photography are my next big passions. When I’m not writing or editing homes content, I’m usually tapping into other creative outlets, exploring galleries in London or further afield, taking photos, scribbling, or drawing!