Secrets to making a living & dining room feel high end

Creating a high-end look for your home can be tricky. Especially if you have champagne tastes on a lemonade budget.

Don’t fret: You don’t have to take out a personal loan or sell your first-born child to get a sophisticated look at home. It just comes down to a few key design choices and decor considerations.

Today, I’m lifting the lid on my secrets to creating luxe looks for less, in a zone we tend to spend the most time in: The living and dining room. So put your credit card down and let’s do this.

Dining table & chairs

Opt for a dining table with some visual weight to it. Thicker legs, a chunkier top, and in a finish/material that demonstrates that some craftsmanship has taken place, like visible wood grain or bevelled edges.

Find a table with some weight to it. Picture: Getty

Avoid any tables that have a shiny veneer. It screams cheap, cheap, cheap. In fact, avoid white timber tables altogether. They’re not refined enough and will bring down the look of the dining room. A marble or stained glass dining table is a winner here.

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Dining chairs that are sculptural and have a presence is what you’re looking for. Cheap plastics and slip-covers are out. Anything with an interesting shape or fluid lines is a winner. Again, it’s about seeing some obvious craftsmanship or at least the notion that it’s been through a design process.

You don’t want chairs that completely tuck under the table and won’t be seen. A circular back with high arms is a good idea. They need room to sit out a bit from the table and breathe.

Sofas & armchairs

In a sophisticated living room, the sofa should feature clean lines. That means puffy arms are out, circular shapes are a no-no, and anything with too many embellishments like the stitching is out too. Recliners are the devil’s work and need not be looked at.

A sophisticated room is all about space, so look to sofas elevated off the ground on legs. When it comes to armchairs, have yours in a contrasting material to your sofa.

Leather sling chairs and steel mesh chairs are on trend at the moment. Generally, these chairs are more for show than they are for comfort, so try to choose something that feels like a piece of art in its own right.

Coffee & side tables

Don’t select a coffee or side table that matches your dining table. It should feel different but still speak stylistically to the other furniture in the space.

Designer: Maryna Vaseiko. Picture: Nestr

If your dining table is wood, opt for a marble or glass coffee table. A glass-top table with brass or stainless steel legs would be a great idea, or a marble coffee table with steel legs would also work.

Related: 2 steps to choose and design a stylish coffee table

Ensure the size of your coffee table doesn’t take up the entire room. If the space feels cramped, it instantly loses its sense of sophistication. Less is more, so ensure you leave plenty of room around the table.

Finishing touches

A sophisticated room is void of knick-knacks. Every piece of decor fills up a space and has a purpose. The pieces should also feel special and carefully considered.

On a dining table, for example, place one oversized vase or vessel and put flowers in it, as opposed to squeezing three smaller vases or vessels together.

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The same goes for coffee tables. Place a stack of design books, a sculptural paperweight and a vase of flowers (or a plant) and you’re done. Don’t over-stock any surface with small items. Any clutter is a no-no.

Material choices

It goes without saying, in any sophisticated space, it’s all about the materials you choose. In your furniture and decor selections, ensure they feature a combination of marble, brass, solid timber, glass, velvet, linens, slate, leather and onyx.

If you approach your living and dining room with the above rules in mind, I’m certain you’ll be able to pull off a high-end look that feels sophisticated without trying too hard… and keeping that lemonade budget in check.

Originally published as Secrets to making a living & dining room feel high end by Chris Carroll. Author at