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.


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 (,
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.


Furniture: Lounge II 93-inch sofa in cement ($1,699,; teak cube coffee table ($279,; Besta TV unit in white ($89,; Leila marble-top side table ($249,

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



Graydon chair ($1,950, www.jayson


Olivia marble-top coffee table ($1,999,

. . . OR SAVE


Misha upholstered club chair ($723,


Lucille gold/tempered glass top coffee table ($460,

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