by: Joel Danto

At The Luxury Level we shoot A LOT of rooms. Tens of thousands every year. So believe me when I tell you that we are some of the best arbiters of what makes a Great Room truly great. Yes, a luxurious room will get your attention but so can a thoughtfully appointed furniture arrangement. At the end of the day, Great Rooms are just like a giant blank canvas and how you paint that canvas makes all the difference.

In this article we will review our top 5 Great Rooms of 2021.  I’m going to point out what’s great about the photo – composition, framing, lighting, furniture, art, and more.  But most importantly, I’m going to explain why that is and how to achieve better sales through better understanding of what people like to see when shopping for a home.

  1. Hillside St Great Room

When I go to bed at night this is what my great room dreams are made of. Contrasting yet complimentary colors of gray, brown, and white are critical in this image. We have the TV wall to the left with its dark brown accent which matches the bookcase, kitchen island, and dining room table. Then the flooring, rug, and couch, filling in the grays. And finally the whites of the walls, kitchen cabinets, and chairs. And then on top of this you have fun pops of color well positioned in three areas – purple art to the left, reds of the books in the center and colorful art to the back right. Truly – the composition of the color and the placement of the furniture and art around it are true #housegoals. Credit where credits due, the room is well planned but the framing and lighting through the photography really send this picture to the next level. Proper centering to capture all the relevant information and soft, drippy light from the sliding door wall perfectly highlight the framing. If I’m a luxury buyer, this is exactly what I want to be seeing because this room makes me feel like a home and not some generic space filled with stuff.


  1. Flying Mane Great Room

Mood, mood, mood.  Lighting can really flip a room, great or otherwise, on its head.  In this great room, time of day is critical in really highlighting everything the space has to offer.  The goal with a perfect great room shot is to always find the best angle that shows off everything the room has to offer and sometimes that includes the property’s features as well.  This property, perched at the VERY TOP of Palos Verdes (no joke, highest point on the peninsula) has exceptional views.  So getting a shot showing the view and the room is critical to the success of the image and success of capturing the interest of a buyer.  I’m not just seeing straight into the family room in the back but I’m seeing Malibu through the window during one of the most dramatic times of the day for light.  Long splashes of light highlight several parts of the room and make you want to look everywhere.


  1. Onin Great Room

Layers – the essential beauty in any complex composition.  When you look at this image it is step on step on step on step.  First the impressive living room couch and coffee table, then you have the bar peeking into view on the left, the patio showing its face on the right, and then ending in the far back with an impressive kitchen/breakfast nook combo.  I mentioned before proper centering and relevant information but effective design also helps and especially here.  Bold lines and a muted color tone make for stark contrasts which pull you in to want to look at all the spaces.  Not only does this composition reel the viewer in but it immediately gives you a sense of home.  Everything “feels” right – no turn offs. 


  1. Encino Ave Great Room

Finding the perfect angle to highlight the immensity of a space is part and parcel to a highly effective great room.  Often it’s a combination of how the furniture is laid out and how the space is laid out.  In this example, nexus has been reached with absolute perfect framing and spacing.  SO much can be seen here, I feel like I’m Sarah Palin seeing Russia from my house.  You could maybe argue it’s a bad thing, seeing too much, but I’d argue the opposite – you’re seeing the realized full potential of a space.  And that is what people want in a Great Room at the end of the day.  You could shoot the room from another angle and put different furniture in it but it wouldn’t be as good and would be far less effective at both telling the story of the room and being a good photograph.


  1. Valley View Great Room

There’s something to be said about how slanted ceilings with an open concept can really open up a room and this shot is the perfect example of that.  I’m sure this space would not feel nearly as expansive if it was just a flat, low ceiling.  In this way you get to see so so much of the space and all the way to the opposite side of the Valley (which is more like icing on the cake).  Here we have layers, the perfect angle, a very specific architectural vibe, and a perfectly exposed image.  In many ways this photo is a summation of all the photos I critiqued before it, at which point you might wonder why it’s number 5 on the list.  Well, the staging is a bit incongruous and the ceiling lighting, while very cool, is very intense.  But that’s the beauty of unique properties, buyers can love them (or hate them) and how you best present them is what matters at the end.


Great Rooms really are something special, they may not suit all buyers or properties but when staged right and photographed right – damn, they’re hard not to love.  The Luxury Level photographers and videographers have a deep passion for capturing the essence of impressive spaces.  Maybe one day we’ll be capturing one of yours?  Until then, continue to enjoy our social feeds and newsletters for more real estate tips and property eye candy.

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