The Washington Post

House Calls: Rustic living room makeover


Soraya and Rick Strobach want help decorating what Rick calls an “austere, colorless living room” in their Arlington home. The Strobachs are looking to incorporate Soraya’s Spanish heritage with a rustic look and create a focal point in a room without a fireplace.

Rick and Soraya Strobach’s living room. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designer Julie Goss uses furniture with dark woods, leather and nailheads to create a cozy, rustic style and color palette. Goss, of Ethan Allen (703-356-6405,, is based in Vienna.

The solution. (Illustration by Julius Goyanko for The Washington Post)

Add an area rug to ground the seating area.

Add additional seating and storage with cube ottomans, which can be stored under the console tables.

A leather ottoman with nailheads serves as the coffee table and can provide more seating for guests.

Remove track lighting and add table and floor lamps, which provide softer lighting and are better for reading.

The television and console, flanked by two windows, become the room’s focal point.

Rich, autumnal browns, reds and grays in the rug, sofa and console tables add to the rustic style.


Furniture: Barry cocktail ottoman in Mohair Dijon leather fabric and ebony finish with natural nailheads and antique brass casters ($825,; Vintage Inspire stool ($64,; Antwerp exposed-wood armchair ($628,; Abbyson Living Fairhaven sofa table ($525,

Accessories: Barclay six-arm chandelier ($594,; Madeleine floor lamp ($735,; foil print pillow ($17) and oblong pillow in gray ($30), both from; Courbe ottoman in Danish Linen Oatmeal fabric and brass nailheads ($253,


Mahal green and red rug. (Harounian Rugs)

Baker’s Collection Han cabinet. (Baker's Collection)

Mahal green and red rug ($4,320 for 9-by-12-foot rug,

Baker’s Collection Han cabinet ($4,790,

Misa Persian-style rug. (Pottery Barn)

Long Chinese dresser. (Wistera)
. . . OR SAVE

Misa Persian-style rug ($1,039 for 9-by-12-foot rug,

Long Chinese dresser ($650,

Tell us about your design challenge.

Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to

Margaret Ely is a digital editor for Lifestyle. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section.



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