THE CHALLENGE

Be Jennifer and Andrew Snow’s living room. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Jennifer and Andrew Snow are stymied by the living room in their 1954 Bethesda Cape Cod. They have two young boys and use the room for watching television and relaxing, so it needs to be comfortable and kid-friendly. The coffee table has been the source of two trips to the emergency room, so they would like to replace it.

THE SOLUTION

The solution. (Julius Goyanko for The Washington Post)

Designer Joanna Abizaid chooses pieces that are functional but attractive to get the most impact in the small space.Abizaid, of Cline Rose Designs (703-573-4888, www.clinerose.com), is based in Arlington.

Paint the walls a soothing pale gray, such as Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore.

Tall, white bookcases next to the fireplace provide storage and give the look of built-ins at a lower price.

To balance the space, place a more substantial sofa in a bold blue across from the fireplace.

Replace the loveseat with two smaller reclining chairs, which won’t compete with the larger sofa for focus.

Use a larger area rug in a striped pattern to anchor the space.

Choose a coffee table with wood and metal to bring a variety of materials into the room.

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Catalina 89-inch sofa in Harbor Blue brushed canvas ($1,799, www.potterybarn.com); Tuscan large center bookcases in Tuscan Cream ($899, www.ballarddesigns.com); Marble Woods side table ($399, www.wisteria.com); Rhodes accent table in light brown ($161, www.target.com); Irving leather recliner in Chestnut ($1,299, www.potterybarn.com ).

Accessories: Morten table lamp in black ($169, www.westelm.com); set of two 96-inch inverted box pleat curtain panels in white Sunbrella canvas ($539, www.ballarddesigns.com); Mudcloth 24-inch cushion in black stripe ($125, barringtonblue.bigcartel.com).

SPLURGE . . .

(LuLu and Georgia)

(West Elm)

Katrina rug in Beach ($1,754 for 8-by-10-foot rug, www.luluandgeorgia.com).

Rustic storage coffee table ($699 for large, www.westelm.com).

. . . OR SAVE

(Dash and Albert)

(Wayfair)

Olive Branch woven cotton rug ($390 for 8-by-10-foot rug, dashandalbert.annieselke.com).

Jax coffee table ($457, www. wayfair.com).

See past room makeovers by local designers at here.

Tell us about your design challenge. Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com.