Terence McCormally and Katherine Cole are struggling with the lighting in their Reston living room. Despite the big windows and high ceilings, the room looks cold and dark. With a son’s wedding party and a daughter’s graduation looming, they’d like the space to be warm, welcoming and bright.


By adding task, ambient and decorative lighting, designer Jennifer Snowden makes the room feel soaked in sunlight.

Warm up the walls with a beige paint such as Benjamin Moore’s Limestone.

Layer the lighting. Place floor lamps, picture-frame lights, cable lighting and pendants on dimmers for full control.

Choose furniture and accessories that reflect light, such as a glass coffee table, aluminum side table and leaning floor mirror.

Terence McCormally and Katherine Cole (Leah L. Jones/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Put a neutral slipcover on a dark sofa to make the room feel lighter.

Offset the dark ceiling with a large, light area rug that anchors the seating area.

Add contrast by painting the fireplace a glossy, bright white. The color is Snow White by Benjamin Moore.

Decorating with greenery will add life and color.

Snowden, of Studio I.D. (202-506-1045, www.jsnowden.com), is based in the District.


Furniture: aluminum hexagon side table ($150, www.westelm.com); button armless chair in Marakesh Clove ikat ($280, www.wayfair.com); Linden Street slipcover in khaki (priced according to size, www.
); Simon X coffee table base ($90) and glass top ($50), and recycled fabrics stools ($90 each), www.pier1.com.

Lighting: Ribba picture lights in aluminum ($20 each, www.ikea.com); Hello cable dual-axial track lights in satin nickel ($100 each, www.pendantlightingexperts.com); Cue Kable Lite pendant ($240, www.pendantlighting

Accessories: silver leaf leaner mirror ($418, www.bellacor.com); yucca elephantipes ($20 each, www.ikea.com); Trosso plant pots ($25 each, www.ikea.com); potted sedum ($22, www.crateandbarrel.com).


Arco lamp ($2,700, www.hivemodern.com).

Fallon contemporary rug in ivory ($850 for 8 by 11 feet, www.wayfair.com).

. . . OR SAVE

Big dipper arc floor lamp ($200, www.cb2.com).

Medallion rug in cream ($180 for 8 by 10 feet, www.target.com).

Tell us about your design challenge.

Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com.