An Interior Designer Reviewed My Living Room, Gave Me Design Advice

  • I had an interior designer review my living room and give me advice for making it better.
  • The designer suggested I only purchase a few simple, neutral pieces for my space.
  • She said I should keep the walls off-white and add a neutral rug and extra lighting.

I don’t like clutter, or spaces in homes that feel overstuffed with furniture, accessories, and just things.

It’s overwhelming to me and the fear of ending up with a cluttered space has stopped me from committing to decorating my small living room. Currently, it’s pretty bare, with just a white Tommy Hilfiger end table on one side. I haven’t picked out anything else, but it’s time to make my space my own.

To help me spruce up my living room, I spoke to Brianna Untener, owner of Brianna Scott Interiors based in New York City. She has an elevated, luxurious style and I was immediately drawn to her simple, uber-stylish selections.

Here’s what she told me. 

My living room is very small so Untener said simplicity is key — I only need a few staple items to complete the space’s look

My apartment has white quartz countertops, taupe cabinets, and grayish plank flooring so I knew I wanted a living space that complemented those shades while adding pops of texture and different styles. 

Untener created two design options for me that fit my desire for elevated decorations and soft furniture. She said the only main pieces of furniture I need for my space are a sofa, coffee table, and media console.  

frame tv, white tv stand, cream couch design plan

The first design option had a cream couch.

Courtesy of Brianna Untener

“The goal for your living room was to create a cohesive space that coordinated with the adjacent kitchen, a design that felt warm and cozy with a minimal and elevated feel,” Untener said. “We chose a light neutral palette that played off of the gray tones found in the kitchen cabinets and wood floors.”

frame tv, light wood tv stand, white couch design plan

The second design option had a round table.

Courtesy of Brianna Untener

The designer said I should keep my wall color the same

My entire apartment is just 649 square feet, with an open-space concept between the kitchen and living room. Because it is so small, Untener said I shouldn’t overdo it by painting the walls.

“I would honestly recommend keeping the same off-white paint color throughout. This helps the space to feel cohesive and larger overall. I find with smaller spaces it’s best to keep things simple,” she added. 

For the main furniture, Untener chose a lighter white and gray color palette to keep the space open, warm, and elevated

The white wall between the kitchen and balcony is about 10 feet wide. I’ve always wanted to put a sleeper couch for guests there and Untener agreed that’d be a great location for it.

“Since it is a 10-foot wall, I recommend choosing a sofa that is no more than 86 inches wide,” Untener said. “This is to give some breathing room both visually and spatially so the sofa fits nicely and doesn’t feel like it’s taking over the whole room.”

She suggested an alabaster-colored couch and ottoman “to give the space an elevated yet relaxed feel.”

white nightstand in one corner, pile of objects in the other with white walls

The designer said I should keep my color palette simple.

Pascale Mondesir

Together, we also chose a white 34-inch round coffee table. To add a pop of color, she said, I could put a tray or decoration on top of it. 

Untener also chose a media console that matched the shade of the couch to keep up with the feel of the room.

“For the media console, we chose a storage piece with doors to add to the functionality of the space,”  she said. “Above it, we recommend the Samsung Frame TV because it is simple, elegant, and gives you the flexibility of choosing what you want to feature in the room.”

Next came the accented accessories for the living room to add character to the space

Untener said I should add a 6-by-9-foot rug to my space. It will fit the space proportionally and tie the room together. She suggested “a neutral abstract rug, slightly darker than the other furniture in the room to create a slight contrast and visual interest.”

To complement my patio doors and elevate the space, Untener said, she would add white linen sheers and long drapery.

living room with just white nigthstand in it

Sheers and drapes can upgrade my glass doors.

Pascale Mondesir

For additional accessories in the room, like couch pillows, Untener said she would stick with neutrals or “dark bronze/black or silver accents to coordinate with the silver finishes in the kitchen.”

The room has a ceiling fan that provides light, but Untener suggested I also add additional lights. 

“When designing a space, you always want to have different types of lighting. In your living room, I recommend adding a floor lamp to each side of the sofa to create a cozy feel,” she said.

plain wood white living room area with view of kitchen

My kitchen is quite neutral, too.

Pascale Mondesir

Finally, Untener gave her suggestions for different pieces of art to add to the wall. Again, she said I should stick with either black, silver, or neutral colors for these pieces to work with the newly styled space and existing finishes in the apartment. 

Untener’s great eye for elevating my living room definitely cured my decorating anxiety, and I look forward to buying pieces similar to her suggestions to make my space my own.

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