(The Washington Post)

Alana and Greg Aronin would like to make the 14-by-23-foot basement of their split-level home in Bethesda more stylish and functional. Their family of six uses the space for a variety of purposes, including playing, watching television and relaxing . They want more seating and prefer colorful spaces to neutral designs (plus, neutrals don’t stand up to kids as well). They need storage for toys and would like to have a sectional, but aren’t sure how to place it without blocking the doors or the flow of traffic to the adjacent guest room and workspace.

(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designer Annie Elliott keeps the walls light and neutral but injects color with furniture, an area rug, accessories and bold green paint on the built-in bookcases. She moves the TV to the wall opposite the back door and floats a sectional in the middle of the space facing it, and adds toy storage with the media console and a cabinet.

(Interior rendering by Rodney Co/3D Storm Studio/for The Washington Post)

To create a bold focal point, paint the built-in bookcases green. Try Houseplant by Sherwin-Williams. Add reading lamps at each end of the sectional. They can plug in behind the TV, with the cords under the media cabinet and area rug (with covers for safety). Accents don’t have to match perfectly — that’s the fun of decorating an informal space. Go for fun and unexpected choices with the pillows and area rug. A coffee table would be in the way if the kids want to watch TV in the beanbag chairs, so use two braided, movable poufs as side tables (with trays on top). They can double as extra seating when needed. Flexible seating options, such as beanbag chairs, can be brought out for TV watching and tossed in the corner when not in use. Natural woven Roman shades will filter light when half down, controlling the glare on the TV during the day, and provide privacy when closed. To keep the room bright and open, remove the chair rail and paint the walls and trim a bright ivory, such as Sherwin-Williams’s White Flour. Bring in color with a pale blue ceiling, such as Lauren’s Surprise by Sherwin-Williams .

(Courtesy of Annie Elliott; The Washington Post)

Elliott, with Bossy Color ­(202-265-0443, bossycolor.com), is based in the District.


(Crate and Barrel; CB2)

SPLURGE: Estilo cabinet ($1,499, crateandbarrel.com), left. SAVE: Muse cabinet ($799, cb2.com).

(Circa Lighting; Restoration Hardware)

SPLURGE: Clemente floor lamps ($840 each, circalighting.com), left. SAVE: Studio adjustable floor lamps in bronze ($365 each, restorationhardware.com).


Furniture: Harding 116-inch custom sofa with left-arm chaise, in Flint blue ($3,098, roomandboard.com); braided hemp pouf ($80) and Congo large media credenza ($999), both from cb2.com; Fatboy original beanbag chairs in red and orange ($199 each, shopfatboyusa.com).

Accessories: Aphrodite 19116 Lake area rug ($770 for 8-by-10-foot rug, rugstudio.com); novelty Jack Russell dog 20-inch pillow cover ($59, thecompanystore.com); synthetic trim ­
20-inch indoor/outdoor pillow in papaya ($39.50, potterybarn.com); Mongolian lamb 16-inch pillow cover in copper ($79, westelm.com); Waterfall woven wood shades in Montauk-3 (from $398, theshadestore.com); conical drum semi-flush fixture in antique bronze ($349, rejuvenation.com).

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