Christine Randolph wants to update the 13-by-21-foot family room of her Chantilly home with a more cohesive design and better furniture placement. She prefers a French country style and is drawn toward cool colors, such as blues and greens. The space, which is adjacent to the kitchen and a screened porch, is used primarily for watching television and casual entertaining.

Chantilly, VA - October 7: Christine Randolph has her living room photographed for a redesign on Saturday, October 7, 2017 in Chantilly, VA. (Leah L. Jones/ForTheWashingtonPost)

Designer Barbara Margolis separates the long, skinny room into two zones, with the sliding glass doors dividing them. She uses at least one tall piece on each side of the space to create balance, and an area rug in a stain-resistant fabric to anchor the seating area. She suggests putting the television on a movable arm for flexible viewing.

House Calls (Rodney Co/3D Storm Studio)

Move an existing mirrored china cabinet to the wall opposite the TV to balance the large storage pieces. Choose a smaller, sleeker recliner for a more modern look that still provides a comfortable place to relax. Update the space with warm gray paint, such as Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore. Paint the inside of the china cabinet (after priming to cover the mirror) Benjamin Moore's Breath of Fresh Air to tie it to the blue furniture. An adjustable table and swivel chairs create a versatile place where kids and adults can enjoy games and snacks. Two small cubes in front of the sofa double as extra seating and storage. A large storage unit holds the television, books and dishes while helping anchor the seating area. Additional lighting would brighten the room considerably. Install overhead recessed lighting when the budget allows. In the meantime, add light fixtures across the top of the new bookcases.

Margolis, with Barbara Margolis Interiors (barbaramargolis, 301-384-7667), is based in Silver Spring.


SPLURGE: Westport leather recliner in Urbino ivory ($2,499,, left. SAVE: Modern wingback glider and recliner in metal gray twill ($1,399,

SPLURGE: Andros tufted 8-by-10-foot area rug in gray and purple ($999,, left. SAVE: Oriental 7.5-by-10.25-foot indoor area rug in blue ($205.19,


Furniture: Amalfi 85-inch sofa in Amalfi Blue ($799.99) and River City 34-inch round dining table ($499.99), both from; Liatorp TV storage combination in white ($1,057,; Promenade round end table ($420,; Akron high-back desk chairs ($237.99 each,

Accessories: Urshult LED cabinet lights in white ($24.99 each,; 17-inch leather storage ottomans in Ocean ($149 each,; indoor-outdoor 18-by-18-inch throw pillow embroidered with a tribal design ($39.99,; Grace cotton square embroidered pillow in blue ($42.99,; Inspire 19-inch antique-bronze single-tinted glass drum pendant ($126.27,

More from House Calls:

Follow us on Pinterest.

See answers to frequently asked questions about House Calls here

Tell us about your own design challenge here

See past room makeovers by local designers here