(Julius Goyanko/For the Washington Post)

After spending their honeymoon in Florence, Shawna and Will Smith of Potomac want to give their guest room a “Florentine feel.” The hurdles: Finding a proper place for the TV and adding art to spruce up the bare walls.


By emphasizing “old world opu­lence” with bright colors and floral prints, designer Barbara Margolis brought the couple’s romantic honeymoon back to life.

Conserve space with a flat-screen TV. This will de-clutter the floor and allow for a rug and small end table.

Shawna and Will Smith of Potomac (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Strip the paint from the furniture to leave a rubbed white finish that will appear worn and antique.

Create a seating area by the window. Move the dresser to free up space for a chair and framed wall hanging.

Emphasize height with tall, clean lines. Stress verticals by removing the chair rail and mounting curtains at the ceiling.

Bring the outdoors in with spring-like patterns. A floral duvet and muted area rug are subtle sources of color.

Occupy wall space. An ornate headboard can make the room appear fuller while also adding an old world feel.

Freshen up the room with an airy, light paint, such as Benjamin Moore’s Watercolor Blue.

Margolis, of Barbara Margolis Interiors (301-384-7667, www.barbaramargolisinteriors.com) is based in Silver Spring.


Furniture: Cute-as-a-Button Erin chair ($230, www.worldmarket.com); Pinecroft 709 Series unfinished traditional mirror reversible bi-fold doors ($240 each, www.homedepot.com ).

Lighting: Mounted Library swing-arm lamps in antique brass ($165 each, www.restorationhardware.com).

Accessories: Spring Sparrow duvet cover ($70 for queen) and shams ($22 each) both from www.potterybarn.com; Firenze embroidered panels in gray ($200, www.restorationhardware.com); Sarafina rug ($470, www.ballarddesigns.com); framed Pergolesi Decorative Panel VIII by Michelangelo Pergolesi ($175, www.allposters.com).


Gabriella upholstered headboard ($700, www.potterybarn.com)

Adorable antique brass floral mini chandelier (no longer available, www.shadesoflight.com)

. . . OR SAVE

Claudette headboard ($400, www.

Murray Feiss Gianna DuoMount mini chandelier in gilded silver ($337, www.lightinguniverse.com)

Tell us about your design challenge.

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