Mosaic tiles, red-lacquered wood panelling and sleek resin floors feature in this lookbook of 10 living spaces proving that high-shine surfaces don’t need to feel clinical.
Glossy finishes – whether in the form of reflective paint, stone or simple sheet metal – can help to add polish and contrast to living rooms, which are traditionally heavy in plush textiles and upholstery.
In particular, they shine in dark, compact spaces where they can mirror the light to make the room feel brighter and more expansive.
This is the latest in our lookbooks series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks showcasing residential swimming pools, steely kitchens and bookshelf staircases.
Helios 710 apartment, UK, by Bella Freud and Maria Speake
British fashion designer Bella Freud and Maria Speake of reclaimed furniture studio Retrouvius worked together to create the interiors for this two-floor London apartment, which is set in the former BBC Television Centre.
In a nod to the building’s history, the duo worked to incorporate the “bold colour, eclecticism and glamour” of the 1970s, pairing glossy black sofas with burnt orange seat cushions, emerald green carpet and hessian-covered walls.
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The Village apartment, Germany, by Gisbert Pöppler
Living spaces in this renovated Berlin apartment by local interiors studio Gisbert Pöppler are demarcated by different surface materials.
The entryway is panelled in red-lacquered wood, a geometric limestone relief wall distinguishes the kitchen and reflective stainless steel panels are fitted to the living room ceiling to make the room appear taller.
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The Whale, France by Clément Lesnoff-Rocard
Architect Clément Lesnoff-Rocard aimed to create a modern take on art deco inside this apartment in a period building in Paris’s 16th arrondissement.
This is reflected in the brass-fronted storage cabinets, columns clad in baby-blue marble and mirrored doors leading through to the sleeping quarters.
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Sleepy Hollow Residence, USA, by Lexi Tallisman
Glossy paint was used to cover the walls and ceilings in this cosy snug in a renovated 1990s home in New York’s Hudson River Valley to create a feeling of spaciousness despite the tight floorplan.
American designer Lexi Tallisman complemented the deep army green of the walls with an equally decadent material palette, introducing a brass-and-oak shelving unit, a blue velvet sofa by designer Steven Gambrel and a vintage chair reupholstered in creamy white leather.
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Casa Mille apartment, Italy, by Fabio Fantolino
Italian architect Fabio Fantolino only preserved a few original features when converting parts of this 19th-century palazzo into his own home in Turin.
Instead, Fantolino used colour and texture to add character to the rooms as evidenced in this dining area, where polished concrete floors are paired with a lacquered cherry-red tabletop and a gridded partition made of smokey-grey and petrol-green glass.
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Apartment on a Mint Floor, Portugal, by Fala Atelier
Mint-green epoxy resin – so glassy it looks permanently wet – covers all of the floors including the terrace of this Porto apartment, designed by local practice Fala Atelier.
“The goal was to unify all the spaces of the project, inside and outside, somehow compensating for the overall complexity of the plan,” the studio’s co-founder Filipe Magalhães told Dezeen.
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Puro hotel Kraków, Poland, by Paradowski Studio
Polish practice Paradowski Studio proved that tiles don’t need to be constrained to the kitchen or bathroom in its design for the lounge of the Puro hotel in Kraków’s Old Town.
Informed by the modernist murals of the 1970s, the studio commissioned local artist Tomasz Opaliński to create an intricate mosaic of lacquered tiles for the space, which is paired with soft furnishings and patterned rugs.
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Casa A12, Spain, by Lucas y Hernández-Gil
Shiny silver curtains and corrugated metal wall panels help to amplify the sparse natural light that filters into this duplex basement apartment in Madrid, envisioned by local design duo Lucas y Hernández-Gil.
The studio also created a fake courtyard at the centre of the flat, complete with artificial skylights, orange grass and tall leafy plants to foster a connection to nature despite the building’s deep floorplan.
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Mumbai apartment, India, by The Act of Quad
Polished marble floors provide a tactile contrast to the muted furnishings in this communal living room, designed by Indian duo The Act of Quad for a three-generational family in Mumbai.
The studio added playful design elements such as spherical sculptures and undulating columns to break up the minimalist architecture of the home, which was formed by combining two flats in a suburban high-rise.
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Budge Over Dover, Australia, by YSG
Glossy travertine floors, a forest-green velvet rug and a dropped ceiling finished in reflective aubergine-coloured plaster create an “interplay of polished and raw finishes” inside this home, which Australian practice YSG has renovated in Sydney.
This helps to create distinct zones within the otherwise open-plan interior, created by knocking down the majority of the home’s existing rabbit warren of partition walls.
Find out more about Budge Over Dover ›
This is the latest in our series of lookbooks providing curated visual inspiration from Dezeen’s image archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks showcasing residential swimming pools, steely kitchens and bookshelf staircases.