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Budget Design Rooms: Italian Modern Living Room


Admittedly ‘Italian Mod’ hasn’t been my go-to style. It’s not how I would define myself in any way. But I’m a style polygamist so I fall in love hard and can easily add it to my love collection (am I allowed to say that if I was raised Mormon?). Right now I’m designing these two houses and one of them might have some elements of this Italian Modern design. Thus our budget post for all y’all who are into it.

‘Italian Modern’ means sculptural and even futuristic furniture,  sleek finishes, good flow and smart function. Typically the ‘budget’ version is bad (a lot of contemporary/cheesy finishes), so we thought we’d offer our budget design skills, and show you how to do it right, regardless of budget.

First up the not-so-schmancy-but-still-kinda-schmancy version:Emily Henderson Budget Room Living Room Modern Italian Structural Rich Tones Traditional Under 5k1

Sofa | Rug | Accent Chairs | Coffee Table | Accent Table | Media Cabinet | Floor Lamp | Table Lamp | Mirror | Planter | Tray | Candlesticks | Leather Pillow | Black Pillow | Burgundy Pillow | Picture Frame | Throw Blanket

Oh, my apologies. I forget to mention that ‘Italian Modern’ is typically crazy expensive. It’s not normally done on a budget because it needs special pieces to pull off the minimal nature of the style. While you might think the first version is expensive, the individual pieces aren’t.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make it even cheaper. Thus …

Emily Henderson Budget Room Living Room Modern Italian Structural Rich Tones Traditional Under 3k1

Sofa | Rug | Accent Chairs | Coffee Table | Accent Table | Media Cabinet | Floor Lamp | Table Lamp | Mirror | Planter | Tray | Candlesticks | Leather Pillow | Black Pillow | Burgundy Pillow | Picture Frame | Throw Blanket

Good news is that I like those cheaper chairs even better. Sure, they can go ‘Star Trek’ but that’s a good thing when you are going ‘mod’. I like the sofa from the most expensive version more, but overall I love this look too.

But let’s knock another grand off and give you a real budget version.

Emily Henderson Budget Room Living Room Modern Italian Structural Rich Tones Traditional Under 2k

Sofa | Rug | Accent Chairs | Coffee Table | Accent Table | Media Cabinet | Floor Lamp | Table Lamp | Mirror | Planter | Tray | Candlesticks | Leather Pillow | Black Pillow | Burgundy Pillow | Picture Frame | Throw Blanket

NOT BAD, FOLKS. For those of you into this look you should feel proud that you can have this room with an affordable budget. It’s ‘Italian Mod’ without the pretentious price tags, and yet still interesting and pulled together. That lamp for $36 is ridiculously good, so is that credenza. While many of this wouldn’t work in my English Tudor, if I had an apartment in Rome this is what I would do.

Like ‘Memphis’ (which I wrote about last week) I feel like this is controversial, design-wise. Are you into it, or it it too Mod and cold for your eyes (and butts)?

Fin Mark


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I’m into many of the pieces here (that marble side table and the cheaper credenza for example), but I’m not into the look as a whole. I can still appreciate this style though. I think the white rugs are lovely but would never last in my home with kids and pets! Thanks for bringing us different perspectives – one of the many reasons I love this blog.

I love the look! I would love to stay at a hotel designed like this for a few days, but I don’t think I would want it for my own home. My favorite is the $5k version, but I would switch out the pebble coffee table for the round black and gold coffee table. Love to see your take on different styles!


Yes! Agree to that swap, and the cheaper credenza

Jen M

I dig it. Not what I would go for in my own home but I do appreciate it. Amazing job showcasing this look at three different budget points. It’s funny – I think blue is considered a “cool” color, but somehow adding that punch of color in with the accent chairs and throw blanket makes the overall look feel warmer and cozier somehow. It’s a clean, modern, handsome look – I appreciate it.


I feel like I learned something from this post! Not my personal style, but really cool to see something different pulled together for us.

I like most of the individual pieces, but overall I kind of give it a shoulder shrug.

Favorite pieces: The “expensive” floor lamp and media cabinet. The least expensive chairs. The legs on the expense chairs are out of proportion with the body of the chair and it just looks wrong to me. Like a chair on stilts:)


I love the Budget series, even if is not my style, I love to see how these rooms come together. And there are always some pieces that catch the eye, like those floor lamps! Very cool.

Never get rid of this feature! It’s one of my faves



Ha, I grew up in a house that was pretty much Italian Mod. We had an Anfibio leather sofa that set the tone for everything else!


Not totally my style, but those last club chairs are FABULOUS! Definitely buying a pair for my master bedroom’s little seating area. Love love love these budget rooms, keep ’em coming!


I love this style! But I think the thing that really makes it is sweet art of which there isn’t much in this post. Probably because that would jack the price wayyyy up! I definitely like the most expensive version (figures.)


I’m obsessed with that West Elm sofa, what a great find! I feel like it would do well with cat claws..


The second West Elm sofa, obviously not the linen-ey one:p


I’m not a huge fan of Italian Mod either but I really like a lot of the individual pieces and quite a few of them could cross over to an MCM home.

I do however love the post in general. I really like seeing the 3 options for price so that someone who has less disposable cash can afford a similar look to those who can afford to spend more. Plus it’s great to see that some of the lower end items look better than some of the higher priced ones so you could mix and match your higher and lower price points in one room.


Great job. I’m not a fan of the chunky sofa, but otherwise, this style isn’t bad. I’d replace the sofa with more of a mid century, thinner arm design and be good to go. The chairs in the middle design are my favorite of the three because of the scale and overall design. The more budget conscious one doesn’t have the same style. Overall, I like this. It’s MCM, but more contemporary.


I like the sofa, but wouldn’t buy it either. I’d replace it with something you suggest also. Love modern design that’s at the same time timeless. Traditional furniture look a little old fashioned for my taste

I love the console tables that you chose! I’ve been dying to get one for our house!



Oooooo!!! I LOVE Italian modern elements! Admittedly I live in Miami, where this style looks pretty sweet mixed with the Art Deco architecture. Thank you for giving it a shout out today! I hope to see more of it.


Just FYI, in the middle look the chairs that you have linked are not the chairs in the collage. I think what matches are actually these:™-Soham-Velvet-Retro-Mid-Century-Lounge-Chair-MRCR7825.html#readmoremodal1 at $433.71


thanks, I should have read the comments before I posted that the link was wrong!


I might like some of the pieces mixed in with my eclectic mix some day.

Love love love!!!! I love a lot of it – but lean towards having more patterns so guess I can’t do the solid minimalist look in totality. I am mostly mid century mod now but when I get a new couch – these rounded mod ones are on my list.



The Star Wars chairs (from the middle of the road priced room) are not linked to the correct chairs. Do you happen to have the link to the chairs in the photo?


I love those blue chairs in the “budget” version. They just look super comfy and would probably be perfect for my bedroom.

Maggie S

I agree -I just ordered them!!

Maggie S

PS. I LOVE these posts –even when I don’t love the overall style, there are always some gems at each price point!!


I actually love this style but it definitely needs a home that can handle it (sadly mine cannot). Amazing job with the round up, eying some pieces.

What software do you use to do the renderings like this? please please please respond!!!

You can use Photoshop.


One of those styles that I love the look of but, somehow, would never choose for myself. Still, it’s fun to see it and to realize I love the accent chairs in the first, more expensive version and could see them in my house.

The last one is more me! I like it so much! Love the chairs!

This is fantastic! Italian mid-century is a favorite style (I just can’t get enough of those skinny brass legs). Love this. You’re right, it’s def not a cheap look, esp. if you’re getting true vintage. Love look #2! 🙂

I really like this style! It has a hint of glamour to it, but also seems approachable. Love to color palette too!


I love the cheaper credenza, it’s actually been on my wish list at All modern for a few weeks! Great post! I think some of the items individually are good.


Really like the first option, but the couch and mirror links are not working!


Isn’t this so funny? In my part of the world, this is how most “designed” places look and is what everyone’s going for – my place looks a bit like this but more mid-century because we are in a 60s house. To my eye, most American design is very fussy and old fashioned, and this is more like it! But definitely with lots of art. So to the US does this look too modern and cold? Here, really high-end modern is a open concept with concrete floors, one enormous Toga couch (in mustard, because the 70s are back) and expensive art.


Being from Europe and liking modern design, I like this as well, and I also find american homes old fashioned and too traditional. I like quality, and good style, lots of art, and some eclecticism, but not old fashioned American style. In American cities (downtowns) it’s easier to find something more modern. And it’s easier to pull off modern because large windows and modern sky scraper architecture just makes it easy. In the suburbs it’s difficult to find modern kitchens and most people decorate in a traditional/ old fashioned manner. Old architecture doesn’t help make rooms look more modern


Yes, I agree after living in the states for 17 years and then living in Europe and studying design, this is a look most Europeans are trying to achieve in their homes. I love the minimalist approach, but the American in me still loves some traditional elements. I must admit though that most homes here seem to always look the same, modular wall shelving with LED lighting and cheap high gloss finishes (usually people with no background or interest in design or they can’t afford the high-end version -which is fine, just an oberservation). I swear I know atleast 8 people with the same exact sofa.


Not my style but I do appreciate the chance to see other “styles” and an explanation of what makes them unique. Plus, thanks for the laugh!! (I’m mormon and the polygamist joke made me snort/giggle)


Yes! Mid-century Italian is a style that I love! There is a local auction here that specializes in original furniture from this era. The prices are incredibly inexpensive.

I can’t do an entire room in this style, but I’m trying to find a way to incorporate some crazy armchairs into an living room with some much older pieces. I have to say, I think the look sings with more color than this, though. Not a criticism, just an observation.


I have been loving seeing you highlight design styles outside your usual style! It’s introducing me to a lot of new styles and I am super into this one! Definitely buying that lamp!


I NEVER would have called my style modern Italian, but I love love love this post. The sofa and table in the first room – swoon. Love the mix of styles in there posts, nice exploration!

Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.


I love the first media console but was so surprised it was target for $850. I didn’t know target sold furniture that expensive. Do you know anything about the quality or that particular line?


Hi Kelyn! It’s by Zuo Modern, and they tend to make nice-ish stuff (like West Elm + quality, I would say). They also sell on Domino, Amazon, and through Home Depot. 🙂


love these posts. Don’t like the Mod style except for a hotel room. Don’t really like many of the other styles you’ve done either, but that doesn’t matter. I love how you show how to get the look and how to use different price points to get the same look. Really great stuff.


I like this look. It’s masculine and sleek. I can’t believe you were able to present a budget version. Nice!


It was fun to learn more about this style, and I think a lot of the pieces are gorgeous on their own, but it’s a little too stark for me all together. Super interesting to read about, though!


Hello Emily!
I couldn’t find a “Message me” page, so I’m leaving this here: I absolutely love your styling tips, but sometimes find them hard to apply to my tiny (as in, REALLY tiny) space… Could you write a piece on how to style small spaces? Like petite nightstands and cramped bedrooms, bathrooms with no windows and more generally spaces with not enough storage! I ADORE the Californian Casual style, but when you live in a tiny Parisian apartment with zero storage, it’s hard to get the minimal and airy feel… Thank you!!


Yes, it would be sooo helpful to have a post about tiny space decorating! Great idea!


Repeating what others have said, I don’t like the style. It wouldn’t look right in my 1928 English Cottage Revival, and it looks uncomfortable. BUT, I really, really like it that you are educating us on “how to get the look for less.” It shows that normal everyday people without a large income can actually get a designer look. And that is why I hope you will keep doing posts like this.

I feel like I discovered something from this publish! Now not my non-public fashion, but virtually cool to peer something special pulled collectively for me.

They’re all great options, but for once, I actually love the least expensive option best!


I know that you guys are going through big changes, but please-oh-please-oh-please keep these posts! I love them dearly, and have implemented a few of your budget room ideas into my own home!


Also, does anyone know what type of plant that is? And will I kill it easily? Haha…

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