THE CHALLENGE

Betsy Howes-Bean renovated the kitchen in her Arlington home a few years ago, altering the footprint of the living room as well. Now that her children are older, she wants to get rid of the piano and add a TV to create a comfortable place to relax, as well as a space for entertaining family and friends. She is struggling to arrange furniture in a room with no uninterrupted walls.


The Howes-Bean living room has no uninterrupted walls to work with. (Photos by Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

When the family updated their kitchen, it changed the footprint of the living room as well.

THE SOLUTION

Designer Shawna Underwood uses furniture with clean lines and a neutral palette to create a more sophisticated design for the room, taking advantage of the abundant natural light.


Designer Shawna Underwood’s proposed solution. (Julius Goyanko/for The Washington Post)

Underwood (www.sunderwooddesign.com,
240-338-2247) is based in the District.

Keep the walls a crisp white, such as Decorators White by Benjamin Moore , to give the room a bright background.

A chandelier placed in the center of the room draws the eyes up and adds height.

A wall-mounted television keeps the space neat and orderly.

Antique brass, marble and wood accents bring warmth and texture to the space.

Linen drapes give the windows a soft frame and heighten the room.

Remove the drapes from the center window to de-emphasize the uneven height of the ceiling and keep the window seat open.

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Lounge II 93-inch sofa in cement ($1,699, www.crateandbarrel.com); teak cube coffee table ($279, www.wisteria.com); Besta TV unit in white ($89, www.ikea.com); Leila marble-top side table ($249, www.potterybarn.com).

Accessories: Loloi Nyla sand and charcoal 9-by-12-foot area rug ($1,995, www.rugstudio.com); Tilda chandelier ($1,512, www.lumens.com); Emery linen/cotton 96-inch drapes in gray ($139) and extra-large light twist and knot basket ($119), both from www.potterybarn.com; acrylic column floor lamp in antique brass ($399) and small sculptural sphere in gold ($29), both from www.westelm.com; Stella pillow in blush ($35), artisanal patched lumbar pillow in indigo ($35) and blush embroidered tile pillow ($30), all from www.pier1.com; linen farmhouse three-seat cushion in flax ($175, www.ballarddesigns.com).

SPLURGE . . .

(www.jaysonhome.com)

Graydon chair ($1,950, www.jayson home.com)


(www.horchow.com)

Olivia marble-top coffee table ($1,999, www.horchow.com).

. . . OR SAVE

(www.wayfair.com)

Misha upholstered club chair ($723, www.wayfair.com).


(www.overstock.com)

Lucille gold/tempered glass top coffee table ($460, www.overstock.com).

More from Home & Garden:

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