This Well+Good designer turned her living room into a personal Zen den—here’s how you can do it, too

February 14, 2020 at 10:00AM by CWC


The living room is the space in your home literally designed for kicking back. But since it’s also the room where the majority of your at-home life happens (hence the name), it can be tough to strike a balance between can-easily-entertain and this-is-my-wind-down-zone—especially if you have roommates or kids.

But amping up the chill factor of your most-frequented space can go a long way toward creating a stress-free environment to support your mental wellness—and couldn’t we all use a little more Zen in our lives?

To prove the point (and give you some inspiration on how to decorate your living room with the goal of sweet serenity), Well+Good design director Jenna Gibson decked out her space with calm-inducing decor to see how it benefitted her post-work me-time.

“Since it’s winter and I have a toddler (shout-out to Penny!), I find myself hanging out a lot at home once she’s in bed—so I wanted a space where I could relax and decompress after a long day,” Gibson says. “Plus, it’d give me the chance to do some yoga or read in a quiet environment.” Aren’t you feeling the calming vibes already?

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Keep scrolling to see how to decorate your living room for a sense of calm—and take a few notes from Gibson’s relaxation sanctuary.

The designated comfy corner

Every Zen den requires a cozy corner—that’s just how the world works. So, Gibson added greenery, a trendy wooden side table (topped with a candle, naturally), a woven rug, and a few crystals and books to one side of her living room. If someone told you this was a meditation studio, you wouldn’t even think twice.

“Decluttering the space and adding some cozy accents (like my new plants and warm lighting) helped clear my mind to relax rather than looking around and seeing what I could clean up or put back in its place,” Gibson says. Because thinking about chores is the opposite of taking it easy when you could be soaking in quality couch time.

And the lighting totally played a role in setting the stress-free tone for the space (they don’t call it mood lighting for nothing): The Brilli Wind Down collection was designed to induce feelings of relaxation and provide a soft glow to deliver a sense of calm. Where else would you rather snuggle up on a plush cushion with a good book after a long day than in this serene nook?

The overall vibe

In addition to these must-grab decor pieces, Gibson relied on light to do a lot of the leg work. Since her Brooklyn apartment has only one window in the living room (that doesn’t let in much light at all in the dead of winter), her aim for her Zen home makeover was to simulate the effects of sunrise to sunset.

That’s why she installed a Brilli Get in Sync overhead light fixture. At full brightness, it simulates the effects of sunrise and crisp daylight to give her an energy boost, while its dim settings simulate sunset and provide warm, comforting light to relax under—keeping your circadian rhythm in sync (meaning your body will be naturally ready for some shut-eye).

And with a little help from the soft bulbs illuminating smaller areas of her living room, Gibson has yet to experience a shortage of warm light (or total tranquility). Now, follow in her footsteps: Save your bedroom for those zzz’s, and designate your living room as the official chill-out spot.


Sponsored by Brilli

Photos: Tim Gibson for Well+Good

Author Well+Good Editors | Well and Good
Selected by CWC