(The Washington Post)

Kate Kennedy and Gary Kicinski want a new look for the 20-by-12-foot living room of their Alexandria home, built in the 1930s. They recently bought an apartment-size sofa but need help with other pieces and furniture placement. The space is for relaxing, reading and entertaining, and they don’t use the fireplace. They prefer neutral colors and want to update the ceiling fan but keep the pale green drapery panels. They are looking for a more contemporary design but don’t want it to be so modern that it clashes with the style of the home.

(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designer Helaine Witzal mixes warm and cool neutrals and strong accent colors to create a calm, relaxing space. She places the homeowners’ new sofa against the wall to allow room for more seating without obstructing the flow of traffic.

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

Add subtle color to the walls to integrate the existing window treatments and create a touch of contrast. Try Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray. Update the fireplace by painting the mantel white and the surrounding tile and bricks black. A large basket inside can be used to store books, magazines and newspapers. To contain clutter in the landing zone, use an attractive, wall-hung coat rack and multifunctional cubes that can be used for storage or extra seating. A mirror and pieces with glass surfaces reflect light and visually open up the space. A console with an attractive bowl functions as a catchall for mail and keys and helps define the entryway. The large secretary (not shown) doesn’t really fit the space. Consider finding another home for it, such as a guest bedroom, with a desk chair.

Helaine Witzal, with HW Designs (908-418-3190), is based in Bethesda. (The Washington Post)

(CB2; Rugs USA)

SPLURGE: Orville rug ($699 for 8-by-10-foot rug, cb2.com). SAVE:

Chalet diamond cotton check flat-woven rug in taupe ($249 for 8-by-10-foot rug, rugsusa. com).

(Homeclick; Home Depot)

SPLURGE: William pharmacy one-light floor lamp in polished nickel ($900, homeclick. com). SAVE: Prospect 56-inch satin steel LED floor lamp ($90, homedepot.com).


Furniture: Rebee accent chair in seafoam ($355) and Pisa storage accent table in charcoal ($209), both from macys.com; Rebecca contemporary multifaceted mirrored side table ($175, target.com); Tanner console table in bronze ($499, potterybarn.com); Udan round coffee table ($799, crateandbarrel.com); Manchester chair and ottoman in Callisto stripe gray fabric with walnut finish ($1,519, ballarddesigns.com); round spindle side table in black ($57, walmart.com).

Accessories: Scribble coat rack in black ($91, amazon.com); Fossili bowl ($80) and Clarendon large mirror in brass ($249), both from crateandbarrel.com; diamond-printed square throw pillow in taupe ($30, wayfair.com); solid faux mohair oversize throw in blue smoke ($69) and beachcomber rectangular handled basket ($99 for low), both from potterybarn.co m; Cera No. 1 print with champagne silver frame ($230 for
18-by-24-inch print, minted.com); Benito 52-inch satin nickel indoor ceiling fan with light kit and remote ($252, lowes.com).

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