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Tips and Guides

7 Easy Modern Room Upgrades From Designers

Whether you like your living space sweet and Scandinavian or sleek and edgy, these three designers show us how to do it in a quick and affordable way

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Photography: courtesy of SM Home

Character, intimacy, and modern lines are elements present in the works of Misty Floro and Pai Edles, who lead the multi-disciplinary design firm Morfosis, and interior designer Iriss Mangio. The two prove that creating a unique space need not to be done in an expensive and time-consuming matter—all you need is to choose a theme, do a bit of research, and add your own personal touches.

At a recent event, both teams created modern spaces with a Scandinavian twist. Far from being staid, the living area was created with a young and fresh edginess. “Morfosis is known for their modern and edgy designs and we tried to incorporate it in our vignette,” says Misty.

Meanwhile, in Iriss Mangio’s vignette, she infuses her signature feminine-chic style into a Scandinavian-themed home office. “Pretty goes with pretty,” advises Iriss. “If you like something pretty, go ahead and add it to your space.” See how you can upgrade your own home with the help of these designers’ tips:

Choose the right Scandi color palette.

The colors associated with Scandinavian style are usually black and white or other neutral colors. But if you want a fresh-looking palette that still has a Scandi touch, go for soft gray with chic accents of rose quartz pink and powder blue. Iriss chose the soft pink “Techy Romantic” and grayish blue “Space Encounters” from Boysen Paints for her study. “You can really just choose colors that depend on your style and personality; sometimes you just have to look at your closet and see what colors you wear a lot,” she says.

A home office should still look “homey.”


Iriss envisioned a home office that could still be used as a place to unwind and relax in, after you’re done working. “Even if it’s a home office or study area, I wanted to still make it homey…I included an armchair in one corner where you can read a book in peace. Place a bookshelf where you can showcase your travels, keepsakes, and your collection of books.”

Accessories are your friends.

“Accessorizing is my thing,” says Iriss. “When you want to update your home, adding or changing accessories can easily make a huge impact to the space” she continues. Incorporate picture frames to display your favorite captured memories or even have prints of inspirational quotes or photos of animals or scenic views. Having small plants also make the space brighter and fresh.

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Create a space that’s cozy and inviting.


“We wanted to show that the living area is not just a place for people to watch TV and lounge around but a place for a family to congregate, entertain friends, and can even be a place for a game night or two,” Misty explains. Arrange your furniture in way that promotes conversation, have them face each other or circle around the center table.

Add a bit of quirk.


“Try to add humor to a space because when a guest enters your home, it will add or give a different vibe that will welcome them in a different way.” Say Pai. For their living area, the Morfosis team created a DIY accent simply by nailing string and cutout circles into a striking pattern, forming a “wall sculpture” of sorts.

Use geometrics.

Geometric shapes and graphic prints can immediately add that sharp modern touch to a contemporary room. You can choose an area rug with a geometric pattern, throw pillows that have strong, graphic prints, and accessories such as candleholders and vases that have irregular, sculptural forms.

Angle it.

To add edginess to this living area, Morfosis placed their sofa in an unconventional angle. Having colors that contrast each other also helps, like having bright yellow walls (Boysen’s “Glow With The Flow” paint) offset a predominantly gray palette. Throw in some statement pieces like the floor and pendant lamps—its dark-colored finish counterbalances it being the source of light to the room.

Check out Iriss Mangio’s study and Morfosis’ living room vignettes at the “Complete Your Home” with SM Home vignettes at the 5th floor of SM Makati the whole of July. All items here are available at SM Home.

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