Living room

Mini Makeovers: From Dark and Drab into an Inviting Living Room

Cosmopolitan magazine's former managing editor turned a boring area into an all-white space perfect for relaxing and entertaining

Photography: Tammy David

For those who know Camille Besinga’s home style, they’d be surprised to see the place where she moved into with her husband Ryan Villena. “Everybody knew me as yung: ‘Ah, ikaw yung vintage, country!’” Because that was the style of their old apartment, featured in Real Living’s October 2010. But now that the couple has their own place, Camille, who is Cosmopolitan magazine’s former managing editor, decided to go a different route. “Nagsasawa na rin ako, baka it’s time na rin for konting sophistication.”

Though sophistication isn’t the only thing that Camille had to factor in when she was decorating their living area. When they moved into their own home, the couple was expecting their first child. “It’s just hard lang for me to really explore that sophistication kasi manganganak na ako. I have to tone it down kasi puro babasagin ang décor pag sophisticated ang style,” Camille explains.

From the former white-and-dark-wood living area that veered towards the tropical style, Camille transformed it into an airy family room by painting all the dark wood details white, and maintaining an all-white color palette in furnishings, with just a few touches of bright accents and grounding neutrals in the form of storage pieces and a rug. Yet in spite of this self-imposed restraint, Ryan and Camille’s living area still exudes playful sophistication that’s perfect for the new addition to their family.

Ryan and Camille's Old Living Room

Ryan and Camille’s main family living area wasn’t that bad, but the wooden architectural details such as the stairs and cabinets were all stained in a dark, wenge finish that made the room look smaller than it actually is. 

Choose white to unify the elements

Using an all-white palette is the easiest way to update and unify a room, as well as make it look more spacious and airy. White is also easy to dress up or down: just add bright and colorful accents for a young and playful look, or neutrals for a sophisticated and elegant look.  

Find affordable items with a chic appeal

Baby-proofing one’s home does not mean you have to sacrifice style. Take these pretty chairs, for instance. “It’s a good thing the chairs aren’t expensive, for one, and are plastic. So medyo they look elegant, but they’re still safe.”

Use pillows to spruce up a space

Alam ko cliché na ‘to, pero if I wanna change the look, pillows talaga really, really help, and they’re so cheap!” says Camille. The white pillows from Landmark break the contrasting pink and green ones from SM Homeworld. The pillow with a cat design is a gift from Camille’s boss, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Myrza Sison.  

Opt for decorative storage pieces

Furniture that can also serve as storage space is definitely a must for a household with kids. “I was looking at my sister’s house and her house is full of toys, so ano yung mangyayari sa bahay ko? I figured…under the coffee table, there’s a basket there that’s full of magazines. I’m sure that’s gonna be replaced by toys,” Camille reckons. 


Camille also chose a whitewashed birdcage that looks sweet and pretty. It is also used to store tiny trinkets and knick knacks. “When we were already here, and nakita ko nga na hindi s’ya masyadong child-friendly, I started na tanggalin yung babasagin na vase, palitan ng kahoy, like the birdcage. Kung merong maliliit na objects, ilagay sa birdcage,” she explained.

Pick a few whimsical pieces

Since Camille and Ryan love cats, they found pieces that depicted their favorite four-legged animal. One of the items is a charming wall clock from Dimensione.


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!