Home & Garden: House Calls Home & Garden

Design Solutions

Click below to learn more about the designer's concept.

1. Paint.

2-3. Pick ottomans, an armchair and a sofa proportional to the room's size.

4-6. Create an entertainment and storage area

7-10. Consider a slim desk that can double as an end table or dining table.

11-13. Draw attention to the fireplace wall

14. Anchor the living room with a rug.

15-16. Lighting.

17. Windows.

18-19. Glass vases and art add color.

- Dolly Howarth, Designer
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E-mail: makeover@washpost.com
Write: House Calls
Home Section, The Washington Post
1150 15 St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20071

Previous Makeovers

See past redesigns for more advice on updating your space.

The Renter

"I live in the smallest house in Arlington. It has less than 500 square feet," says Kathy Dodd. She and her gray tabby moved into this Arlinton, Va., rental this fall, and she has had trouble arranging furniture to make the most of the 10-by-12-foot living room. Dodd wants to use the room primarily to watch TV from her couch and work at an oversize desk her dad built (though she's open to buying new furniture). She wants to keep the room light and airy. Because she's renting, she's limited to repainting and redecorating.

Designer's Critique

Designer Dolly Howarth of Howarth Designs in Arlington, Va., says: Draw inspiration from elements in the room that cannot be altered, such as the warm wood floors and the brick fireplace. Stick to furnishings that fit the small scale and add color through accessories that can be changed easily. Pick scratch-resistant fabrics that won't show pet hair. And if you can get permission from the landlord, you could camouflage the awkward heating unit above the fireplace by painting the walls a light, neutral color so the unit will blend in.

- Contact Howarth Designs in Arlington at www.howarthdesigns.com.

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ILLUSTRATION: Julius Goyanko - For The Washington Post; PHOTOS: Courtesy; EDITED BY: Kathleen Hom - The Washington Post; WEB PRODUCER: Andrea Browne - washingtonpost.com; INTERACTIVE: washingtonpost.com

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