(Leah L. Jones/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
THE CHALLENGE

Regina Haney of Alexandria has started teaching online courses and wants to make over her 10-by-11-foot home office. She tried to design around a drop-leaf desk that belonged to her dad but can’t get it to work.

THE SOLUTION

Rather than force the heirloom, designer Jennifer Schweikert suggests a large dining table and modern cabinets to maximize space. Try moving the desk to “a place of honor” like the foyer, she wrote.

Schweikert, of Just My Style (703-321-6155), is based in Burke.

Replace the carpet with Flor tiles to make the space feel less like a spare bedroom.

An accent chair makes the room feel inviting. Add a gold throw pillow to tie the color scheme together.

Regina Haney. (Leah L. Jones/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Vary the finishes. A rustic table, industrial cabinets and a wrought-iron floor lamp make the room look updated.

Replace the blinds with Roman shades. A subtle pattern adds visual interest without distracting from the work area.

Use a dining table instead of a desk to maximize work space. Flank it with two chairs, one for you and one for guests.

Paint the walls a buttery neutral. The color is Cream by Farrow and Ball.

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Original Home Office three-cabinet credenza in dark gray ($749) and single-drawer CPU cabinet in dark gray ($199), Messina dining table ($799) and Original Home Office desk organizers in white ($79), all from www.ballarddesigns.
com
); Manchester swivel chair in espresso ($500, www.potterybarn.com); Madeleine armchair in burnt oak ($129) and Couturier’s chair ($335), both from www.restorationhardware.com.

Lighting: French Iron Scroll floor lamp ($295, www.restorationhardware.com); Modern Era desk lamp in antique brass with gunmetal ($299) and letter tray desk lamp in rubbed black ($149), both from www.shadesoflight.com.

Accessories: Flor tiles in Bark, Irish Setter, Canary and Gerbil ($14 each, www.flor.com).

SPLURGE . . .

Harlequin Cage ceiling lantern ($875, www.shadesoflight.com).

. . . OR SAVE

Twig Cage flush mount ceiling light ($430, www.shadesoflight.com).

See past room makeovers by local designers.

We’re planning ahead. Do you have a space you’d like to redecorate for the new year, like a home gym or messy basement? Email us photos and tell us about your design challenge.