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How to create a fun, modern basement for entertaining and relaxing

(The Washington Post)

Enjoli Ramsey wants to update the look of the 18-by-18-foot basement of her Fairfax townhouse. She’d like to get rid of the large bookcase (not shown) and the dark, dated furniture and create a fun space for entertaining and relaxing. Ramsey is struggling to arrange a comfortable space because of the two columns in the middle of the room, the angled fireplace, and the windows and doors that break up the perimeter.

Designer Annie Elliott creates a fun, modern space that, with a sleeper sofa, can double as a guest room. She keeps the walls neutral but brings in colorful furniture and accessories to brighten the space.

Use a bright neutral to keep the room light and fresh, such as Mayonnaise by Benjamin Moore . Give the fireplace a dramatic update with Blue Nova, also by Benjamin Moore. Mount the television lower on the wall, at eye level, to make it more comfortable for viewing and to keep it from being the focal point of the space. Colorful carpet tiles can give a custom look to a room with an awkward shape, without the custom price. Replace the dated Venetian blinds with floor-length curtain panels in a bold geometric pattern. A rolling bar cart (not shown) is a modern touch that will be a useful addition when entertaining. A sleek acrylic coffee table provides a place for drinks and books without weighing down the space visually. Add color and versatility with a sleeper sofa in a bold orange.

Elliott, with Bossy Color ­(202-265-0443, bossycolor.com), is based in the District.

SPLURGE: Bliss queen sleeper sofa in heathered weave, cayenne ($2,199, westelm.com), left. SAVE: Friheten sleeper sofa in Skiftebo dark orange ($499, ikea.com).

SPLURGE: Libations antique-brass bar cart ($599, crateandbarrel.com ), left. SAVE: Metal cart in bright gold ($219.99, target.com).

Furniture: Peekaboo acrylic coffee table ($279, cb2.com); Isaac swivel chair in ivory ($449.95, pier1.com); Stockholm TV unit with walnut veneer ($389, ikea.com); martini side tables in antique brass ($159 each, westelm.com ).

Accessories: Fall in Line carpet tiles in Wisteria ($10 each, flor.com ); Peyton metallic geo embroidered 95-inch window curtain panels in gray ($34.99 each, target.com); tapered pinewood Aiden floor lamp base ($179.99) and linen floor lamp shade ($34.99), both from worldmarket.com; “Weekend Getaway” limited-edition 18-by-24-inch print with light gray wood frame ($185, minted.com); Mongolian 22-inch pillow in Spa ($159.95, zgallerie.com); Nora 18-inch coral flower pillow with feather-down insert ($99, crateandbarrel.com).

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