How to Style a Happy Modern Living Room

P1060304So it’s no secret-my true passion is interior design.  I know I should say skin care but I feel like that’s kind of my “job”.  Design is what I study when relaxing.  It’s what gets me really excited.  My home is an expression of who I am.  Rearranging and mixing things up is truly a shot in the arm.  If I’m feeling down and blah, I re arrange furniture and mix up my colors in a room!  It’s like therapy!

Today I wanted to give you some ideas on how to style your own space in a happy, whimsical way that will benefit your whole household!  Welcome to my living space!

Styling a Living Room


Tips on a Happy Modern Living Space

1. De Clutter.

  • Organize books and magazines-often these can serve as decor.  Purchase magazine racks or baskets to hide not so pretty reading material.
  • Buy side tables that will hide laptops and cords.  Clusters of cords create havoc.  Get clever and hide those cords!  I have been known to tape cords down the side of a leg of a table.
  • Find large, attractive chests to hide toys-or best case scenario, rid out those toys and put what’s left in the kiddo’s rooms-that’s their space-this is yours.
  • My motto is “everything needs a home”.  Take inventory of all the stuff that ends up in your living space and ask yourself, “does this enhances my relaxation or hinder it?”.  If it hinders it, find it a home and get it out of site!

2. Pick colorful and perhaps quirky pillows.

  • I find that making my own pillows saves money and allows me to get exactly what I want.  Ikea and Contemporary Cloth are my GO TO’s for great fabric.  I also love Marimekko when I really want to upgrade a room.  If you aren’t into sewing, check out Target, The Land of Nod and Urban Outfitters for fun, affordable pillows.
  • Pillows are where you can really express your personality-Go bold.  Color is your friend.  Patterns are too.  I love Scandinavian fabric because they tell a story.  Ikea is perfect for affordable Scandinavian prints.
  • Choose several different textures in your throws and pillows.  This creates a visually interesting look.
  • Don’t be afraid to get weird-it’s a pillow-not a huge commitment.
Vintage Ikea

(this pic is from an earlier post)This Ikea fabric is my absolute favorite-The colors are perfect, not to mention that big blue mountain!


3. Create coziness

  • A living space should be where you go to unwind. It’s the most important room in the house.   It should be a place to enjoy time with your family, watch movies, play board games and have wine nights with friends.  If your space isn’t comfortable, none of these activities will work.
  • Be sure to have accessible throws and floor cushions.
  • Choose comfy furniture.  I like to make sure the sofa I choose is nap friendly and cuddle friendly!  This means, get one that’s deep!
  • Chairs are just as important-I personally like to keep my chairs light and airy, but comfortable.  Chairs I can move to face the TV for movie night, or I can turn toward the sofa for wine night.   Again, IKEA offers just that!  In order for my vintage IKEA chairs to be 100% comfy, I had to find small ottomans for them.  Now, they are so relaxing and perfect after a long day!
  • I like candle light-it makes me feel comfy-Candles create a distinct ambiance with their scent and flame.
  • Seriously, every room needs a fireplace.  There’s nothing like a fire on a cold, rainy night!  If you aren’t lucky enough to have one in your living room there are many options for a fire element that don’t require a built in.  My fave is the Malm fireplace-so retro chic!


4. Arrange furniture for your personal needs.

  • Don’t be afraid to be unconventional-I love a room with only chairs-fabulous chairs at that.  Place an ottoman in the middle and you’ve got the perfect room for a cocktail party!
  • My family loves movies, so most of the time all our seating is facing the TV.
  • Always make use of side tables so drinks and snacks are easily accessible.  Target offers so many cool and current side tables!!
  • I love huge ottomans because they are super comfortable and they double as a great place to play a round of Yahtzee!


5. Pick “nick nacks” that mean something to you.

  • I love to pick up something unusual each time I go on a trip-something that will remind me of the place I am in.
  • I also love to surround myself with gorgeous books that I POUR over.  Books take you away-books can be so special.
  • Don’t be afraid to get weird with nick nacks too!  I LOVE lava lamps-I don’t give a rip what a legit  interior designer would say-I know it’s kitschy but they makes me happy!
  • One of my favorite living room accessories is my record player and records.  I love music, especially the sound of a record.  Not to mention-vintage records are so CHIC.  Make music effortless.  It certainly can make or break the atmosphere!


6. Be practical.

  • A living room should always be easy.  People should feel comfortable and free to put their feet up.  Don’t make too many rules.
  • Choose practical furniture.  Many sofas have removable covers that can be washed.  Find rugs that can also be thrown in the wash.
  • If you have kids, arrange furniture so that they have open spaces to play.

7. Embrace Nature-Bring in the plants!

  • Seriously, nature does not just belong outside.  Bringing live plants inside creates an organic atmosphere.
  • Plants are sexy, mysterious and HIP.
  • Not to mention-it is rewarding to care for a plant.  And green is always a good idea.
  • Plants can actually improve air quality.
  • Plants inside, give an airy vibe.  To me, they give my room a boho/retro vibe.


8. Pay close attention to lighting.

  • Lighting can make or break a room.  No one can truly relax in a room with bright overhead lighting.  Lamps with bulbs no more than 60 watts offer the perfect amount of light for any occasion.
  • Dimmers are awesome.  I love to dim my lamps according to the time of day or activity.
  • Lamps can make a bold statement.  Don’t be afraid to have too many!

I hope you enjoy my living room pics and let them inspire you to find your own special style in your living space.  Always find pride in your home-whether it’s an apartment or mansion.  Your space is your space.  It’s an extension of who you are-it is your safe haven.

xx, J.

P1060336P.S. Rug and pink and orange pillow are from IKEA.  Oh and, my dog, Winston and kitty, Sophie refused to leave during my photo shoot-So honestly, my last tip is that pets always make a room cozy and special!

Jennifer Phillips
Jennifer Phillips

Jennifer Phillips worked as a licensed aesthetician for over 8 years before creating the natural skin care blog, Jenni Raincloud.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. June 3, 2014 / 5:56 am

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  2. Christine
    June 17, 2014 / 2:33 pm

    I love your decorating ideas!!! Can you please tell me did you make your succulent planters? If so what did you layer them with? I just went to Goodwill and bought two hurricane vases so I could “copy” your idea!

    • June 18, 2014 / 12:49 pm

      Christine! Thanks so much! When using glass hurricanes for succulents you have to do a layer of pea gravel at the bottom-this helps with drainage. Too much moisture is usually the main reason succulents die. After that you layer dirt-I would suggest getting succulent soil because it doesn’t hold on to water, but it’s not a must. Then you just arrange your plants and layer another layer of pea gravel for looks! Does this answer your question? If not, message me back!

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