(The Washington Post)

Katie Ryan wants to make the 13-by-15-foot living room of her Silver Spring Cape Cod feel more like an attractive and comfortable place to relax, and less like a pass-through from the front door to the kitchen and family room. None of the furniture or accessories need to stay in the space, and she is open to a variety of design styles. Ryan would like to add a mantel or similar shelving to create a focal point, as hers is one of a few houses in the neighborhood without a fireplace.

(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designer Regan Botts Ruiz suggests removing the chair rail and painting the walls one color for a more streamlined, contemporary look. She chooses smaller accessories and furnishings that better fit the space.

(Interior rendering by Rodney Co/3D Storm Studio/for The Washington Post)

Choose an open-style bookcase to display art, books and photos without weighing down the room. An L-shaped sectional fits the rectangular shape of the room well while also providing ample comfortable seating. Give the room a cozier feeling with warm beige paint. Try Stone House by Benjamin Moore. Deep jewel tones on the seating, textiles and window treatments add warmth. Add an electric fireplace to anchor the space and serve as a beautiful and functional focal point. Brushed finishes on the tables and bookcase give the room a vintage vibe. A large framed mirror in front of the sofa adds dimension and reflects light.

(Courtesy of Regan Botts Ruiz; The Washington Post)

Ruiz, with Regan Ruiz Inc. (4rri.com, 202-581-8100), is based in the District.


(Wayfair; American Freight)

SPLURGE: Wath-Upon-Dearne sectional in navy ($1,295.17, wayfair.com), left. SAVE: Nile blue two-piece sectional sofa ($598, american freight.us).

(World Market; Wayfair)

SPLURGE: Rustic metal Bryson truss shelf ($999.99, worldmarket.com), left. SAVE: 66-inch étagère bookcase ($283.99, wayfair.com).


Furniture: Dillon cocktail ottoman in Milan chocolate ($838, wayfair.com); Colton mix-and-match desk in burnished gold ($199.99 for base and $129.99 for glass top), Palomino Paige round-back dining chairs ($399.98 for two) and blue linen Paige backless counter stool ($149.99), all from worldmarket.com; teal nesting tables ($199.95, pier1.com).

Accessories: Vibrant paisley grommet curtain ($44.95-$59.95, pier1.com); Vienna Full Spectrum glimmer crystal orb floor lamps ($179.99 each) and set of two 31-inch square stained-glass wall art ($393.80), both from lampsplus.com; 32-by-66-inch barn wood wall or floor mirror in blond/brown ($230.16, amazon.com); Martins 8-by-10-foot area rug in ivory/beige ( $334.74) and “Pure Love” 26-by-38-inch print with white frame ($217.20), both from wayfair.com. Materials: Simulated electric fireplace ($689.99, wayfair.com).

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