(The Washington Post)

Wendy Hamill is looking for a way to fit more seating in the 31-by-12-foot living room of her Annapolis home, to accommodate visits from her four adult children and their significant others. She wants to maintain a casual vibe and needs help arranging furniture around the walkway from the kitchen to the bedrooms, which bisects the long, narrow living room. She is on a tight budget and wants to maintain the open, natural feel of the space.

(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designer Carol Sheridan suggests decorating in stages when working with a small budget. She recommends purchasing well-made pieces when they are on sale and delaying accessory purchases as necessary to focus on furniture, because it is easier to find accessories than the perfect rug or seating scaled to a challenging layout. She also simplifies the color scheme and creates three separate but related areas within the room.

(Interior rendering by Richman Studio/for The Washington Post)

When the budget allows, continue the hardwood into the back alcove to create a more unified look. Add a table and bar stools, and a console that can double as a bar, to the alcove for use when entertaining. Two comfortable fireside chairs and a soft faux sheepskin rug encourage lingering for conversation. Mount a large television over the fireplace on an adjustable arm, so it can be positioned for viewing from different parts of the room. A pair of small, matching sectionals provides more seating without overwhelming the space. Choose a durable area rug for the center of the space, to hold up to foot traffic. This indoor-outdoor option is soft but can be washed with a hose if needed. Use a more neutral paint color, such as a soft gray with blue undertones. Try Sherwin Williams’s Krypton on the walls around the fireplace and French doors, and Quicksilver on the other walls.

(Courtesy of Carol Sheridan)

Sheridan, with Contemplated Spaces, (301-972-9442, contemplatedspaces.
), is based in Germantown, Md.


(Arhaus; IKEA)

SPLURGE: Hemisphere geode chandelier in antiqued brass (at the far end of the room; $399, arhaus.com), left. SAVE: Brunsta/Hemma pendant lamp in black ($29.99, ikea.com).

(Crate and Barrel; Target)

SPLURGE: Kasbah teardrop brass wall mirrors (not visible in after rendering; $498 for two, crateandbarrel.com), left. SAVE:29-inch luxe hexagonal mirror in gold ($139.99, target.com).


Furniture: Lidia 82-inch two-piece chaise sectionals with storage ottoman in gypsy navy ($1,390 each) and Yu Shan c-table ($94), both from macys.com; geo-marquetry side table in zebra wood ($198) and Morova ottomans in A/S ($298), all from anthropologie.com; Harrisford velvet armchairs in rose ($714.99 each, target.com); live-edge wood Colbie console table ($399.99, worldmarket.com); Canisteo pub table ($173.99) and Arlon adjustable-height swivel bar stools in cream ($159.99 each), both from allmodern.com.

Accessories: Ansley Landis 8-by-10-foot outdoor area rug ($299, grandinroad.com); Barbagallo 18-by-18-inch indoor/outdoor throw pillow in pink ($39.99), Demina 18-inch indoor/outdoor throw pillow ($45.99) and Topper 18-inch throw pillow in navy blue ($38.99), all from allmodern.com; Safavieh faux sheepskin 4-by-6-foot area rug ($167.70, rugstudio.com); Lapa 50-inch four-blade ceiling fan in gloss white ($348, build.com); Weston window pane floor lamp in nickel ($59.99) and vertically ribbed ceramic table lamp in antique blue ($64.99), both from target.com; “Jetties Beach Path” 30-by-22-inch framed art print ($144.45), “Last Light” 30-by-47-inch canvas art ($108.49) and “Boats and Jetty at Pier in Oil Painting” 30-by-40-inch painting print on natural pine wood ($127.49), all from overstock.com.