Wendy Cossman complained that the room gave off a 1980s vibe. (Leah L. Jones/for The Washington Post)
THE CHALLENGE

When you walk into her family room, it says: “I’m from the ’80s,” wrote Wendy Cossman of Potomac. With a two-story ceiling and limited wall space, she says decorating the 20-by-23 foot room has been difficult.

THE SOLUTION

By creating three seating areas and introducing a fresh, new color scheme, designer Sandra Meyers brings this dated space into the modern world.

Create one long curtain rod from three smaller rods by placing them flush against each other.

Wendy Cossman (Leah L Jones/For the Washington Post)

Find a neutral carpet remnant at a local carpet store. Have it cut and bound to the shape of your room, but allow for a border of hardwood.

Paint the walls a lighter shade (Green Tint) below the moulding ledge and a darker shade (Silver Marlin) above: both by Benjamin Moore.

Have layers of light. Use a combination of a ceiling fixture, wall sconces and lamps. (This is especially important in a room this size.)

Install moulding on the fireplace wall to add architectural detail and help balance the height of the two-story ceiling.

Update the current mantel with one that is more modern in style. The larger scale will be better-proportioned for the room.

Create a photo gallery using various sizes of frames in the same style and color.

Sandra Meyers Design Studio (301-929-9788, www.sandrameyersdesign.com), is based in Rockville.

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Milo sectional, two-piece, in platinum ($2,200) and Ella leather sofa in white ($1,900) from www.macys.com; Mason console table ($800) and Bel Air oval coffee table ($800) from www.crateandbarrel.com; framed side table in chocolate ($150), Martini side table in silver ($130) and aluminum hexagon side table ($150) from www.westelm.com; Hans Wegner wing chair and ottoman in gray ($700, www.buy.com).

Lighting: Small gourd lamp in gray green ($130, www.ballarddesigns.com); floor lamp ($330, www.crateandbarrel.com); wall sconce ($334, www.yahoo.com).

Accessories: Alton II fireplace screen ($180, www.crateandbarrel.com); Adriana mirror ($280, www.ballarddesigns.com); cotton window panels, 108-inch ($49 each) and oversize metal rod, 60-to-108-inches, in brushed nickel ($79 each) from www.westelm.com.

Tell us about your design challenge.

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