THE CHALLENGE

Jen and Dana Madsen would like to use the 27-by-28-foot family room in their Arlington basement for entertaining and watching movies. They aren’t sure how best to arrange the furniture around the large brick fireplace and wet bar (not shown).

THE SOLUTION

Designer Paul Corrie removes the paneling and moves the exercise equipment to the adjacent guest room while adding a sleeper sofa to accommodate visitors. He creates separate zones for watching TV and conversation or playing games.

Corrie, of Paul Corrie Interiors (www.paulcorrie.com, 202-234-0653), is based in the District.

Remove the paneling and paint the walls and brick fireplace the same color. A pale green, such as Benjamin Moore’s Celery Salt , will give the homeowners the stucco look they desire and complement the room’s black accents.

The Madsens’ basement before and after. (The Washington Post)

Light fabrics and upholstery keep a basement from feeling closed-in and dreary.

Hardwood flooring in a dark finish is more durable and consistent with the floors in the rest of the house.

Create space for playing games or conversation with a table and comfortable chairs.

A mirror above the mantel reflects light and creates a focal point. A small vase of flowers softens the fireplace wall.

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Salinger upholstered armchair in Stone Performance Everydaysuede ($1,099) and frog rain-drum accent side table ($624), both from www.potterybarn.com; Maldives trunk ($279) and Hamilton bar stools ($139), both from www.home
decorators.com
; spindle chairs in espresso ($899, www.wisteria.com ); Carlton chair with antique brass nailheads in chamois microfiber and dark cognac finish ($799, www.ballarddesigns.com).

Accessories: Killian pillar candle holders ($89 for set of three, www.homedecorators.com); Sandscape natural jute handwoven rug ($581 for 9-by-12-foot rug) and Adirondack ivory/silver rug ($225 for 9-by-12-foot rug), both from www.overstock.com; petite candlestick table lamp in aged steel with black linen shade ($219) and Circa 1920 Spanish torch table lamp in iron ($725), both from www.restoration
hardware.com
; Ken Fulk Tramp art mirror ($699) and retriever fireplace tool set ($199), both from www.potterybarn.com; Belgian linen 96-inch drapery panels in Flax ($299, www.ballarddesigns.com).

SPLURGE . . .

(www.potterybarn.com)

Turner square-arm leather sleeper sofa in Saddle ($3,499, www.potterybarn.com).


(www.restorationhardware.com)

St. James 65-inch panel media console in antiqued black ($1,795, www.restoration
hardware.com
).

. . . OR SAVE

(www.homedecorators.com)

Custom Markham sofa in beige velvet ($1,199, www.home
decorators.com
).


(www.ballarddesigns.com)

Vetrina 60-inch media console in worn black ($799, www.ballarddesigns.com).

More from Home & Garden:

Pottery Barn pumps up its classic American style with Ken Fulk designer line

See answers to frequently asked questions about House Calls here

Tell us about your own design challenge here

See past room makeovers by local designers here