10 Ways to Add a Glimmer of Gold to Your Living Room

From accent pieces to lighting, gold is a must-have metallic.

Redesigning, redecorating or just adding a touch of glamour to your living room? Gold — in accessories, wallpaper, flooring and lighting — is the must-have metallic for many reasons. Here’s how and where to use it to create a finish that’s subtly stylish.

It makes walls gleam. Why use gold — or any metallic — on a wall? It reflects and catches the light, which makes it perfect for a dim space. It can even make a small room feel larger.

You needn’t commit to putting gold on an entire wall. Finding a painting flecked with gold, or simply framing a length of gold wallpaper or wrapping paper, can have a big effect.

It’s perfect for boho rooms. Gold really lends itself to an eclectic vintage look. But how do you keep it on the right side of tasteful in an otherwise busy design?

The answer is to use just a few pieces, such as a small, ornate frame, a statuette or a candlestick or two. These details will lift the design instantly without overpowering it.


It can be subtle and modern. Gold chandeliers needn’t be ornate, though those work brilliantly in traditional or vintage-style spaces. Contemporary or mid-century modern chandeliers like this one are perfect for a more minimalist design. Here, the touch of gold on the fixture adds just a hint of glamour that’s highlighted by the gold pillows and vase below.


It works in small doses. Unless you’re going for full-on, Trumpian opulence, gold usually works best in small, subtle doses. So if you’ve hung pictures with gold in them, add just a couple of dashes elsewhere to give the design unity — but stop there.

Gold is a good choice for the interior of a lamp. It’s a nice surprise unlit, and at night it will help make this otherwise white room glow.


It’s not as showy as you think. There are some situations in which a larger dose can look fabulous — for example, the sofas shown here. For an on-trend look, search for an aged, antiqued or warm yellow gold that’s dull or matte in finish. Anything too bright, shiny or brassy will be hard to comfortably match with jewel tones like the ones in the photo.

What about mixing and matching gold with other metallics, such as silver, copper, bronze or brass? Avoid it, but if you must, make one metal the dominant one and the others mere accents.


It contrasts with dark colors. Gold-colored fabrics or accessories are also the perfect partner for warming up deep and dramatic color schemes, which are predominantly black, dark blue, chocolate brown and deep aubergine. If you want your gold-tinged design to look its best, keep the color scheme around it simple, with the dark background shade complemented by just one other accent. Green and turquoise work beautifully.


It enlivens a plain room. Contemporary black-and-white color schemes are so easy to live with and update, but they can lack warmth and depth. So why not solve that issue by making a piece of furniture in a striking gold tone a focal point? Yes, it’s another exception to the ‘"small doses” rule, but covering a sofa or an armchair with a gold upholstery fabric will lift a pared-back design. Velvet and chenille, which glint and glow, add to the feeling of luxury.


It works like artificial light. Just as you might put concealed lighting into a shelving unit to show off your favorite finds, using gold will have a similar effect — during the day. Aim for a yellow-gold paint for a contemporary scheme or a gold leaf-style wallpaper for a more traditional room. Just ensure that the gold leaf doesn’t look brown against your wall, which it might if there’s little natural daylight.


It makes a great focal point. Hanging a gold-framed mirror over a mantel is a classic way to add opulence to a room. Allow it to be the focus of the design, rather than have it fight for attention, or its effect will be lost. That means adding a scattering of gold here and there in the room, and keeping everything else understated.

It can be an easy fix. If you went for an all-gray living room but have a nagging feeling that the resulting design is a little cold and impersonal for a living space, simply adding a splash of gold can be a wonderful rescue remedy. The quickest fix is to add gold to one large surface, which means the walls or, even easier, the floor.