Warm khaki paint, floor-length curtains, a framed television and stain-resistant fabric are among designer Iantha Carley’s suggestions to make a living room more family-friendly. (Sketch by Julius Goyanko/The Washington Post)


“My family moved to our Bethesda home over a year ago and we have yet to put our living room to good use,” wrote Jennifer Sullivan. Sullivan and her husband, Brian, would like the 15-by-23-foot room to be a place they can enjoy with their four young children.


With well-placed and easy-to-clean furnishings, designer Iantha Carley proves that style and young children can go hand in hand.

— Paint walls medium khaki to bring warmth and depth to the room: Oak Ridge by Benjamin Moore.

SPLURGE, left: Ellie side table ($495, www.pgbwhome.com); SAVE, right: Spool accent table ($199, www.crateandbarrel.com)

— Hang floor-length curtain panels to soften windows and add pattern and color to the space.

— Move furniture toward the fireplace to create a more intimate seating area.

— Install recessed lighting. Have a dimmer switch installed to offer more control of the light.

— Round tables offer contrast to the right angles in the room and are kid friendly (no sharp corners).

— Frame the TV so it becomes part of the furnishings.

— Cover furniture with indoor-outdoor or stain-resistant fabric to withstand young children.

Iantha Interiors (202-285-2374, www.ianthainteriors.com) is based in Silver Spring.



Belle collection sofa ($2,140, www.mgbwhome.com)

Colin chair (starts at $1,620, www.mgbwhome.com)

Preneau sideboard ($1,950, www.wshome.com)

Gramercy upholstered chair ($403, www.ballarddesigns.com)

Adler oval coffee table ($829, www.ethanallen.com)


Necked pot form table lamp ($135, www.circalighting.com)


Aviary fabric in maize for the curtain panels ($25 per yard, www.calicocorners.com)

Crouse fabric in rattan for sofa and curtain panel trim ($40 per yard, www.calicocorners.com)

Warwick outdoor fabric in barley for the wing chairs ($68 per yard, www.calicocorners.com)

Linen accent pillow ($240, www.beautifulpillowsandhome.com)

Mohawk EverStrand 9-by-16 Sunset Drive area rug in pebble walk ($20 per square yard, www.mohawkfloorscapes.com)

Tell us about your design challenge. Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com.