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Design Inspiration: Luxurious Small Spaces

A small footprint does not preclude it from being luxurious…simple as that. What constitutes luxurious is definitely subjective, but most discussions of this style revolve around the tropes of opulence and sophistication — and no rule says you need a mansion to achieve that.

At Never Too Small, we actually believe a space is never too small to capture the design style you’re after, and these luxurious homes prove just that.

Luxury Materials

The use of rich, sumptuous materials is a hallmark of this aesthetic, with plush velvet, gleaming marble, and polished metals frequently making appearances. The 1970s-inspired home of architect Jean-Malo Le Clerc makes it clear that he understands this all too well. From the ceramic kitchen island and the dark wood features to the tiled walls, stainless steel cabinets, and quality furnishings, the home exudes luxury while maintaining an elegant simplicity.

This Paris apartment by Space Factory was designed to offer a luxurious escape from city life. Inspired by Venetian palazzos, the design features beautiful arched details and finishes throughout alongside luxurious materials like pink and green marbles, dark wood, and brass finishes. “We feel like the mindset is changing about what is luxurious,” Space Factory told NTS. “You don’t need a large space to experience a luxurious feeling, like in a hotel suite. It’s all about the care you put into the renovation, the details and the high-end quality materials.”

Sophistication is in the Details

Attention to detail is paramount in luxurious design. Intricate mouldings, ornate light fixtures, and bespoke furniture contribute to a refined atmosphere, while symmetry and balance help foster a sense of harmony that adds to the overall grandeur. This bespoke apartment in Athens does these things to perfection. From the curved kitchen bench to the bronze-tinted mirrors on the ceiling, every element of the space was carefully thought through by Lora Zampara and Michalis Saplaouras of Cluster Architects.

Statement Pieces

The incorporation of statement pieces is a common trope in luxurious design, where furnishings or art serve as focal points, commanding attention and reflecting a discerning taste. Architect Nelson Chow of NCDA did just that in this soft and sleek Hong Kong home he designed for a friend. The apartment is accented with sculptural and colourful resin furniture, custom-made in collaboration with Studio Sabine Marcelis. The playful pieces manage to balance a sense of levity and luxury through their clean lines and colour palette.

Raw Luxury

Architecture and design firm Archiplanstudio put a unique spin on classic luxury for this Italian apartment, characterised by the original fresco mural on its walls discovered during the renovation. By complementing the raw, unfinished appearance of the walls with neutral hues and brass finishes, the designers afforded a truly timeless elegance to the space.

This micro apartment in Fitzroy combines luxury materials and beautiful objects without hiding the rawness of the existing building. Architect Ben Edwards contrasted features like opulent marble cladding with the untouched structural elements of the building itself, explaining: “Buildings are made of steel and bricks and structural things, and so sometimes it’s about taking things off to reveal. It’s that nice idea of discovery, a little bit of a homage to the building itself.”

Luxurious Design is in the Eye of the Beholder

Whether you’re looking to go all-out palatial or to simply recreate a more low-key boutique hotel feeling, these design hallmarks are great tools for achieving that luxurious feeling. Details as small as the choice of finishings, accent materials, and symmetry can add additional refinement to spaces of any size.

For more design inspiration, check out our Design Features spotlights.