Dezeen Magazine

Helios 710 apartment, UK, by Bella Freud and Maria Speake with glossy black sofa

Ten living spaces with glossy surfaces that create depth and dimension

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 poolssteely kitchens and bookshelf staircases.

Helios 710 apartment by Bella Freud and Retrouvius with glossy black sofas
Photo is by Michael Sinclair

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.

Find out more about Helios 710 apartment ›

Interiors of Berlin apartment designed by Gisbert Poppler with glossy red wall
Photo is by Robert Rieger

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.

Find out more about The Village ›

Interiors of The Whale apartment in Paris designed by Clément Lesnoff-Rocard
Photography is by Simone Bossi

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.

Find out more about The Whale ›

Sleepy Hollow House by Lexi Tallisman with glossy green walls
Photo is by Joshua McHugh

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.

Find out more about Sleepy Hollow Residence ›

Casa Mille by Fabio Fantolino
Photo is by Giorgio Possenti

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.

Find out more about Casa Mille ›

Apartment on a Mint Floor by Fala Atelier living room with glossy green floors
Photo is by Ricardo Loureiro

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.

Find out more about Apartment on a Mint Floor ›

Puro Hotel Stare Miasto Kraków by Studio Paradowski
Photo is by Pion Studio

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.

Find out more about Puro hotel Kraków ›

Casa A12 by Lucas y Hernández-Gil
Photo is by José Hevia

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.

Find out more about Casa A12 ›

Mumbai apartment by The Act of Quad
Photo is by Ishita Sitwala

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.

Find out more about this Mumbai apartment ›

Budge Over Dover house in Sydney designed by YSG
Photo is by Prue Ruscoe

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 poolssteely kitchens and bookshelf staircases.