Reader Question: How Can I Create Zen-Inspired Living and Dining Areas?

Real Living consulting style editor and design consultant Issa Villar shares 5 tips on how to create a Zen feel at home


Click here to see more photos and view the full home tour.

Got a design question? We’d love to help! Like us on Facebook <> and follow us on Twitter (@reallivingph) and Instagram (@reallivingph)! 

Read the original article ("Ask It") in the October 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Q: My wife and I do not share the same ideas when it comes to decorating our place. I would like our living room to have that "Zen"-style, but my wife disagrees with my choices of furniture, saying they are baduy. Any tips on how we can make our living and dining areas look comfortable and stylish? — Roj Galera 

("Before" photo by Roj Galera)

A: Let your wife know that you would like to have some input in the design of your space. Discuss your options with her and hopefully you'll reach a compromise.

Based on the "before" photo, it seems you're already on the right track—your place is clear of clutter and you're using natural materials and earthy colors.

I would just make a few tweaks to update your look and add comfort: 

1. Wooden furniture is common in most "Zen"-style rooms, but yours are a bit too bulky. I would trade in the three-seater chair for an upholstered sofa in a light gray, cream, or beige. You can still keep the two armchairs as accent pieces.
2. Add an area rug in a soft or natural material. Go for a plain or simple-patterned rug in light hues.
3. Balance all the lines. The lines on the railing between the living and dining areas, plus the lines on the curtains and chairs, can be overwhelming. You can minimize that by replacing the sofa (as suggested earlier), as well as the curtains.
4. All the brown wood can look boring. Accentuate with light earthy colors with pillows or abstract artwork.
5. Finish the look with stone pots or planters in grays, light blues, and light greens to place your plants in. Relegate the terracotta pots outdoors.

More on

7 Asian-Inspired Homes

An Asian-Tropical Dream Home with a Warm and Earthy Palette

A Museum-Inspired Contemporary Bachelor Pad


Latest Stories

17 Important Loan Terms That You Should Know

Buying a house? Here’s an A-to-T glossary of financial terms that won’t leave you in the dark.

A Loft-Type Bachelor Pad Found Inside a Family Home

The owner worked with interior designer Erika Uichanco to transform an ordinary bedroom into a remarkable, condo-like personal space

This Hostel in Makati Has Calming Bedrooms Perfect for Staycations

The bonus? You get design ideas for the different rooms in your house, too!

Lazada Plans to Launch an Online Grocery This Year

Shopping for the home will be easier as the e-commerce startup aims to build cold storage hubs in Metro Manila and nearby provinces

What Kind of Furniture Do Millennials Look For?

Are they all about aesthetics or do they care about functionality, too?

14 Baguio And Ilocos Destinations To Visit On a Summer Weekend

The beginning of summer vacation is the perfect time to head up north! Here are fun and easy places to visit and shop at.

Beautiful And Functional Ways To Decorate A Bi-Level Home

Maximize every nook and cranny of your humble abode with these ideas

These Captivating Facades Will Make You Stop and Stare

Modern, charming, and minimalist—these homes sure know how to catch your attention

These Millennials Restore Heritage Sites In Intramuros And Bohol

This amazing foundation teaches construction and restoration skills to the youth, who in turn help protect Philippine heritage sites

A Young Artist And Architect Create This Cool Paint Booth

Artist Kris Abrigo teams up with architect Lando Cusi to create a Worldbex paint booth that breaks from the usual exhibit mold

Here's How You Can Use Mirrors To Make Your Space Look Bigger

Practice this tried-and-tested tip with these reminders

These Houseplants Can Help Clean Indoor Air

Keep your home safe while relishing the feeling of being outdoors
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!