Ten years ago, Wendy and Doug Siamon took down a wall in their Oak Hill, Va., home to create a ­17-by-24-foot ­living/family room from two smaller rooms. The enlarged space is where all the action happens in the house, Wendy Siamon says, including quiet weeknight television watching and big holiday gatherings with family. But they are struggling with how to arrange the room around the off-center fireplace. They need to replace the two sofas and want to make the room work better, with plenty of comfortable seating for lounging or entertaining.


Designer Jana Robertson suggests one large seating area anchored by a comfortable sectional to improve the flow of the room and make use of the entire space. She recommends neutral upholstery, then uses a tapestry that Wendy Siamon loves as an inspiration for the warm autumnal color palette.


Less is more. Instead of squeezing two seating areas into the design, focus on one substantial furniture grouping, and leave room for negative space. A cozy sectional is the perfect choice for providing lots of seating while best using the space in a large family room. Choose pieces with multiple functions. Ottomans and poufs are great places to rest your feet, or they can add seating when necessary for entertaining. Versatile nesting tables can be moved around as needed. Keep the core pieces neutral, and bring in color and texture with rugs, pillows and wood tones. That way, if the homeowners want to update the colors in the future, they won’t need to replace the expensive upholstered furniture. Update the look with a light greige paint color. Try Agreeable Gray from Sherwin-Williams. Look for ways to add plants to a room. They bring aesthetic warmth to any design, and they help clean the air and give off a little more oxygen. Echo similar themes across your design. Here, the asymmetrical placement of the accent chairs plays off the asymmetry of the fireplace, giving the space a more cohesive look.

Robertson, with Roberts and Lamb Interiors (, is based in Falls Church, Va.


SPLURGE: Walters leather ­123-inch corner sectional sofa in Palomino with standard down fill cushions ($7,195,, left. SAVE: Kivik five-seat corner sectional with chaise in Hillared beige ($1,499,

SPLURGE: Lína swivel chairs in Maharam Mode fabric, Shell ($1,995 each,, left. SAVE: Charles upholstered and wood accent chairs in silver ($194.44 each,


Furniture: Mosinee three-piece nesting tables ($61.99,; Malone mid-century coffee table in light gray ($221.99,; Natural jute woven round poufs ($76 each,

See past room makeovers at Tell us about your design challenge. Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to

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