(The Washington Post)
THE CHALLENGE

Elisabeth Lowther loves the natural light she gets in the 15-by-12-foot living room of her Colonial in Vienna, Va., but is struggling to arrange furniture around the fireplace (which she doesn’t use), French doors and door to the entry of the home. She would like a larger sofa, such as a sectional, and a place where her family of three can put their feet up while watching television. She would prefer neutral tones with colorful accents to a design built around bold colors.


(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)
THE PROPOSED SOLUTION

Designer Shawna Underwood adds a sectional and uses soft, muted tones to create a relaxing space to watch TV and spend time with family. The neutral palette helps the room feel larger and brighter.


(Interior rendering by Richmanstudio/For The Washington post)
UNDERWOOD'S SUGGESTIONS

Soften the walls below the chair rail by going with a slightly warmer, off-white tone. Try White Heron by Benjamin Moore. Install wallpaper above the chair rail to elevate the space and bring in subtle pattern and color. Add warmth to the design with wood finishes on the chair and sofa legs, and the natural texture of the area rug. Personalize the space by displaying family memories with a gallery wall of black and white photos in matching frames (not shown). A mirror reflects light and gives the illusion of a larger space. Choose a tufted ottoman instead of a coffee table. It acts as extra seating and a place to rest your feet. Adding a tray allows it to hold drinks and other items. Anchor the seating area with a large sectional with plenty of room for family and guests.


(Courtesy of Shawna Underwood)

Underwood, with Shawna Underwood Interior Design (sunderwooddesign. com, 240-338-2247), is based in the District.

SPLURGE OR SAVE

(Crate and Barrel; Wayfair)

SPLURGE: Montclair two-piece left arm corner roll sectional in Duet natural fabric ($3,299, crateandbarrel.com), left. SAVE: Arcelia sectional ($1017.98, wayfair.com).


(Pottery Barn; Hayneedle)

SPLURGE: Farwell accent chair ($1,199, potterybarn.com), left. SAVE: Lilya wingback chair ($419.84, hayneedle.com).

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Amour round upholstered ottoman in light gray ($297.50, lexmod.com); box frame marble/antique bronze narrow side table ($349, westelm.com); Lacey garden stool in cream ($72.99, target.com).

Accessories: Atticus floor lamp in bronze ($299), Logan round mirror ($149) and Emery linen/cotton 84-inch pole-pocket single-width drapery panels with cotton lining in white ($119 each), all from potterybarn.com; casual natural fiber hand-woven 8-by-10-foot chunky thick jute area rug in natural/gray ($286.99, overstock.com); gallery white 5-by-7-inch picture frames ($39.95 each) and Maru white vase ($8.95), both from cb2.com; “Oxnard Violet 1” 24-by-18-inch art, matted with a white frame ($248, minted.com); periwinkle blue herringbone cotton throw pillow ($24.99 each, worldmarket.com); Madu 18-by-18-inch cushion in kohl/oyster ($163 each, susanconnorny.com); small golden glass shadow box ($29), solid basket-weave throw in horseradish ($79) and 12½-inch square acrylic tray ($34), all from westelm.com.

Materials: Hornbeam wallpaper in off-white ($250 per double roll, wallpaperdirect.com).

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