How to make your living room a happy place to be by Jonathan Adler

Fill your living room with happiness with these expert tips by Jonathan Adler

 Jonathan Adler living room
(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

If there's one designer full of living room ideas to make your space a happy place, it's Jonathan Adler.

‘A happy home is the fuel you need to slice through life!’ enthuses Jonathan Adler. ‘Your home is an expression of who you are – or who at least who you want to be – and it should make you feel like the most glamorous, eccentric version of yourself that you could ever imagine. Take the time to adorn your home in creative confections, you owe it to yourself.’

Jonathan Adler and dog

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

‘Call me a megalomaniac (you wouldn’t be the first), but my home is happy because it’s full of the furniture and objets that I’ve devoted my life to creating, I love to live with my designs and be in constant dialogue with them. It’s also happy because of my adorable bloke Simon Doonan, and our even adorabler mutt, Foxy.’ 

The living room is important because it’s where two out of my three favorite activities happen: watching TV and reading (my third favorite activity is paddle boarding, which I have found is much better done on a body of water rather than a living room).’ 

Jonathan Adler living room

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

‘Unless you’re a surly teen locked in your bedroom or a Star Wars super fan beavering away in your basement, the living room IS the house. It’s the center of everything and sets the foundation for the rest of your home – and your life. Are you even living if your living room is sad? The answer, of course, is no. It’s probably the room where you and your guests spend the most time, so I think it’s where you should spend the most effort.’

‘To create a happy living room, start with these three things;


‘You need to be able to plop down into your sofa, not worry about spilling a bit of tea, have a convenient spot to put said tea. Everything must be intuitive. Side tables where they should be, a cocktail table just where your feet want to rest, everything ready for you.’


‘Don’t skimp on light – ceiling, floor, table, wall – a well-lit room has a wide range of light sources. And don’t splurge on wattage, it’s low wattage bulbs and dimmers galore.’


‘Color is an antidepressant. For realz. We’ve all seen the impossibly chic rooms with recycled floors, a lone distressed Louis chair covered in hessian linen flanking a flaccid linen slip-covered sofa, with a moody and quiet light, a priceless glass chandi, blah blah blah. I call this unimpeachably chic but joyless style Miserablism. A dash of bright color goes a long way.’

Amy Moorea Wong

Amy Moorea Wong is a freelance interior design journalist with a decade of experience in contemporary print and digital editorial, previously News Editor at Livingetc. She writes on a broad range of modern design topics from news and interior zeitgeist to houses, architecture, travel and wider culture. She has a penchant for natural materials, surprising pops of colour and pattern and design with an eco edge.