Posted by Samantha Cowan in Home Design

Decorating your living room can be difficult: you want it to go with your furniture and style, but make you feel relaxed and at home when you sit down. You also want your living room to be a reflection of your personality and give guests a sneak peek into your life.

We asked Columbus Influencer Samantha Lee Cowan how she decorated her new build home into a perfect reflection of her and her husband’s polar opposite personalities.

Whether you are decorating your brand new living room or redoing your décor, Samantha will give you some living room decorating tips and walk you through how she made her living room breathe the Cowans.

Welcome to our living room! Many people say the heart of the home is the kitchen, but in our house, it’s for sure the living room. Everything from Netflix marathons to drinking our morning coffee to playing with our son happens in this room!

When we built our house, we loved the idea of an open floorplan with high ceilings and lots of light! We liked clean lines and simplicity, which helped lead us into decorating my living room.

Picking your style is the first step to decorating your living room. Then you have to implement that style, but also incorporate your personality to make it feel like home.

Our Decorating Style

Our style of living room décor is a mashup between ultra-modern and mid-century modern, yet simple. We love the neutral color palette that comes with the ultra-modern décor, but we also loved the mid-century furniture style.

I also didn’t want to go too trendy with the décor. Both these styles are hot right now in homes, so we wanted to make the style our own without getting caught up in a design we wouldn’t love in six months.

The easiest way to do this is to make sure your investment pieces can work with other décor styles, and your trendier pieces are from more affordable stores. For example, if you aren’t living in your forever home but still want to decorate your space with your current design taste, pull inspiration from a high-end store but search affordable ones for something similar.

We loved the mid-century modern style from Restoration Hardware and West Elm, but that wasn’t our budget.

So, we decided to look at dupes at stores like IKEA, Target, and outlet furniture stores. We ended up landing on a couch from IKEA that you can change the cover on. We were trying to find a perfect middle between our design styles, and this has allowed us to hone in on which is the best fit.

Finding inexpensive and versatile pieces is the perfect start to decorate your living room to reflect your personality.

How to Get Inspired for Home Décor

Decorating can be a stressful and challenging process. Especially if it’s your first time decorating a space, or maybe you want to try a new style of décor, but you aren’t exactly sure where to start.

Living Room Decorating Tips:

  1. Search keywords: Use Instagram and Pinterest to search for words that will help you find your style. If you like a specific color palette, search things like “neutral living room,” “simple living room decoration,” or “monochromatic décor.”
    When you use Instagram or Pinterest, chances are you’ll have multiple results that show full rooms, so you can see if that is something you could put together.
    I use Instagram as a huge inspiration. One of my favorite high-end accounts to follow is @Kristenixinteriors, but I also love following people like @nestingwithgrace, who shares lots of affordable pieces as well as DIY.

  2. Go to high-end stores: Go to the stores you follow on Instagram, even if they are stores you have no intention of purchasing from. Furniture and décor stores usually have mock rooms set up, which allows you to physically see everything from what furniture goes together to what textures and patterns complement each other.

  3. Like I said earlier, having a style and being just “on-trend” are two different things. Focus more on what you like and not just what every person on Instagram is showing.

You will love your space for longer if everything in it is a piece of your personality and not what you thought you were supposed to buy.

Also, remember to take your time! It took me over a year before our living room felt complete.

It’s ok just to have a couch and nothing on your walls yet. Curate a space with pieces you truly love and make you excited to be in your space.

Another easy tip to make the space unique to you is to incorporate art. Not sure what you want on your walls, but don’t want to have framed pieces? Find something unique to you, like the maps we have.

We decided to have custom maps made for our walls that speak to our story as a couple. We both are from Ohio, but our love grew in Columbus. This is our home, and we got married here. We also honeymooned in Bali, so that is a special place for us. Every time we see these pictures, it reminds us of the love that got us here.

Meshing Interior Design Styles

Living with a significant other or roommate for the first time who has a totally different personality and style than you? I got you covered!

When my husband and I moved in together, we had different personalities and styles, but we were able to make it work. I am very outgoing but love everything classic. Zack is more quiet, but is a hard worker who loves to work with his hands. He likes colorful and the craftsmanship of mid-century modern. I was drawn more to neutral and classic style.

Here are a few things we did to make it work.

Find Big Pieces That Make You Both Happy

This is a big one! Do not get big furniture pieces like a couch that only complement one or the other’s style. It will make it very hard to incorporate the other person’s style once the room is defined in such a big way.

An example of this in my house is our couch. I wanted something neutral and cozy, and my husband wanted color and clean lines. We ended up with a black couch that has modern and clean lines. We were able to marry the two styles by picking out what was most important to each of our tastes.

Mine was color over design, and he was more interested in the design than color.

Zack wanted a coffee table that was natural and displayed craftsmanship. The live edge coffee tables are in style, and we both loved how you can use mid-century legs and pull in colors with epoxy inserts. We looked for a while and found many great options, but Zack was able to make a perfect fit. This was important to use that Zack could incorporate his love for woodworking into this space. Incorporating your passion for something like a hobby is a great way to display your personality.

Curate Open Shelving

Adding opening shelving to a room allows for a blank canvas to design each shelf a little differently and pull in your unique style and personality. This is also a perfect place for you both to pick small pieces from your specific design style to express your personality.

The best part is there is no right or wrong way to curate shelves! Just add what you like and place the items in an aesthetically pleasing way.

We incorporated our favorite books, pictures of memorable times, and items like a globe and figurines that resemble meaningful aspects of our lives. A few other things to keep in mind are…

  • Choose a limited color palette. Too many colors can detract and make each piece in your room feel like it stands alone.
  • Also, choose a unifying pattern that complements each style.

Home Décor Flow

If your house is like mine, sometimes open floorplans are hard to change the style from “room” to “room” without the defining aspect of walls.

If you want to change up your style a little into the next room, an easy way to make it flow is to pick something from the previous room you decorated and tie it into the next.

In my house, I chose to do the same wood tone from my coffee bar and bring that into my dining area for my dining table. This can be something as big as a piece of furniture like I did, or as small as bringing a color into the new room from the previous.

If you want a completely different style in the next room, my suggestion is to change up art, furniture, and all big things to match your new aesthetic, but stick with the same color palette. This will tie the overall home together while also bringing in more opportunities to show your personality.

Home design has always been a fun hobby for me, and I hope these simple living room decorating tips help you in your next design project. Just remember to take your time, pick pieces unique to you and your personality, and don’t be afraid to look for a great deal!

For more blogs and design inspiration check me out on Instagram at @samanthaleecowan!

Thanks for reading!

Xo, Sam


Samantha Cowan
Samantha Cowan


Samantha Cowan is an owner of a small online boutique and a full-time local influencer in Columbus, Ohio. She and her husband, Zack, have been married for almost 2 years and have recently welcomed their son Oliver to the world. Samantha loves being a boy mom, running her fashion and lifestyle blog, and curating pieces for Samantha Lee Collection. She loves interior design as a hobby, and their style is a mixture of modern and mid-century. They love to use Zack’s woodworking skills to decorate their home whenever they can.

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