7 colour combinations interior experts use to make a living room look expensive

These are the best colour pairings to make your living room appear more luxurious and elevated, no matter how big or small

A dark green-painted living room with a dark blue velvet corner sofa and a purple ottoman
(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

There are several elements that go into making a space like the living room look luxurious - colour and colour pairings are one of the most important aspects to get right. As some colour combinations have the innate ability to make your living room look instantly more expensive.

Keeping to a particular living room colour scheme that you know will look luxurious and elegant - or at least you’re going to know after reading this - can actually be one of the most affordable ways to make your living space appear expensive and affluent.

So if you want to conjure up a high-end look in your living room with the help of colour, here are 7 of the best colour combinations that interior experts use repeatedly to create luxurious-looking living rooms.

Colour combinations to make a living room look expensive

‘How to make a room look expensive comes down to a lot of factors, but colour and colour combinations can help,’ says Lucy Mather, interiors expert from Arighi Bianchi, on the topic of colour combinations that will make any room look expensive. ‘There are a few colour combinations that look luxurious and provide an expensive air.’

And there are some that go especially well with a living room setting.

1. White and black

A white-painted living room with white wooden floors and a black fireplace displaying art

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

Usually called black and white, this monochromatic pairing is the most classic and well-known, from interiors to clothing. But we’re calling it white and black on purpose as the white is the base here and the black is provided in accents that pop against the white canvas, creating the perfect modern living room idea.

‘A white wall paint mixed with black accents, coving and flooring to create a modern, monochrome living space,’ explains Anjelica Delfino, paint and interiors expert from Valspar Paint. ‘Touches of subtle colour can be introduced via rugs or artwork, making the room feel chic and cohesive, yet extremely cosy. A white wall can sometimes make a large space look empty and bare. But when a large piece of furniture is placed in front of it, the space instantly feels fuller and more welcoming.’

Mandy Rippon, product manager at Frenchic Paint, adds a further suggestion about the best white paint, ‘White can work well, however, choose a warm or subtle off-white for a softer, more relaxed feel.’

2. Soft green and neutral shades

A living room with sage green wood wall panelling and a cream sofa with scatter cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

The current biggest paint trend is soft sage green. And dousing your walls in this nature-inspired shade and pair it with neutrals will create a very sophisticated and timeless yet on-trend look.

‘Green is a versatile, on-trend colour that comes in a wide range of hues. When you pick a feature paint that is soft and subdued, such as Valspar’s Stormy Day, you can combine it with a neutral colour scheme to inject some soft tranquillity into your space. This nails the quiet luxury trend,’ Anjelica says.

3. Navy blue and gold

A navy-painted living room with a white fireplace and golden accessories

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Dark and navy blue shades have an innate regal quality. And pairing it with gold, the colour of the most precious metal around, is a recipe for an expensive-looking colour scheme indeed.

‘One combination is navy blue and gold. Bathe a room in navy or a rich indigo blue applying the colour to walls, skirts and even the ceiling or with a large piece of furniture and add gold accents which add a touch of opulence and contrast,’ Lucy says.

4. Charcoal grey and white

A living room with white walls and built-in charcoal grey storage with a matching sofa and a Berber-style rug on the floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

Grey living room ideas are a popular go-to when decorating a living space as it is a neutral colour scheme that’s both inoffensive and timeless. And while grey in itself can look upscale, if you want to take it a step further, then you could opt for dark charcoal grey and pair it with classic white, similarly to the white and black colour combo discussed above.

‘One of my favourites for a luxurious look is charcoal grey and white. Ideal for walls, upholstery, and larger furniture items I consider charcoal to be a neutral, refined colour that provides a modern and luxurious base,’ Lucy advises.

5. Layered neutrals

I Love Wallpaper Riviera Plain Wallpaper in a living room

(Image credit: I Love Wallpaper)

Decorating with neutrals is the easiest way to create an expensive-looking, quiet luxury living room, as long as you don’t forget to incorporate different textures to avoid the space ending up looking flat.

‘An all-white scheme can look super luxe but requires careful layering. Mixing white, off-white and creams or pale taupes and include some texture with furnishings,’ Mandy says.

Daniel Prendergast, director at The Rug Seller, agrees and adds, ‘Sophisticated neutrals, shades like beige, taupe, grey, and white create a calm, elegant base. Or add depth with accents in richer tones such as navy, emerald and gold. Using too much of the same colour, even if it's a sophisticated one like navy or grey, without variation in tone, texture, or accent can make the room feel flat and monotonous.’

6. Teal and coppery orange

A teal-painted living room with a matching velvet sofa and an orange leather sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Utilising darker shades is perfect both for cosy living room ideas and for making a space look and feel more luxurious in a regal way. But primary colours are best to be avoided as they can come across rather childish so more sophisticated shades are called for – shades like deep teal and coppery orange which make the perfect duo.

‘Darker colours feel more luxurious. Rich purples are synonymous with opulence but for a cooler feel, a midnight teal would be a great choice. Include some metallics if you can and ensure you include small elements of a complimentary rich colour to highlight – for example, a deep teal and a coppery orange,’ Mandy says.

7. Jewel tones

A dark green-painted living room with a dark blue velvet corner sofa and a purple ottoman

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

‘If you’re opting for colour to make a room look upscale and quality, jewel tones like sapphire, amethyst and ruby can look great. These rich colours have been used throughout history to represent opulence and status – if used correctly they can help to elevate how expensive a room looks,’ Daniel says.

Colours like deep green also known as emerald, rich red or ruby in other words and amethyst also called a dark purple are all great shades to inject a luxurious feel to your living room – and they can be combined and layered too.

‘Dark colours make a stylish statement in any room but work particularly well for living rooms,’ says Caroline Woolmer, head of product design at Lucie Annabel. ‘Helping to cocoon the room and bring its boundaries inwards, these shades make the room feel inviting and are well-suited to living rooms on the larger side. Dark-coloured living rooms exude decadence and exude luxury, especially when paired with metallic accents, dark furniture, and layered textiles, such as rugs, throws, and cushions.’

Whatever you do, just make sure to ‘avoid acidic or primary colours as these do not tend to bring a luxurious vibe and can be jarring on the senses,’ as Mandy advises.

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.