(The Washington Post)

Ellen and Ralph Johnson want to refresh the dated 13-by-17-foot living room in their Annandale home. They plan to add a big-screen television to shift the function of the space from formal living room to a comfortable place to relax and watch TV. They would like to keep the blue chair, but are willing to get rid of the piano, curtains and most of the art and furniture to bring the room from the 1970s (and 19th century) to today.

(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designers Jan Bertin and Lorin Petit create a comfortable and functional furniture layout, including a sectional, that will provide good sightlines for watching TV. They use art to establish a focal point and add height to the room.

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

A sectional is a great choice for relaxing and watching television, because it provides more seating and room to put your feet up. Choose durable fabrics for upholstered pieces in rooms that get heavy use, because they will stand up better over time. Use one large area rug to expand the space visually and make the room feel larger. Keep the wood blinds to control the light and reduce glare, and add side curtain panels to soften the windows and add warmth. Go with a more modern paint color, such as Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl, to update the space. Vertically oriented art creates a focal point and adds the illusion of height in a room with low ceilings. When mounting a television on the wall, place it over a piece of furniture to better integrate it into the design.

(Courtesy of Bertin’s Decorating Den)

Petit and Bertin, with Decorating Den Interiors (, 703-299-0633), are based in Alexandria.


(Ethan Allen; Wayfair)

SPLURGE: Bennett four-piece sectional in Hailey ivory solid texture fabric ($5,746,, left. SAVE: Alice right-hand-facing sectional in Bull natural fabric ($1,904.99,

(Williams Sonoma; Pottery Barn)

SPLURGE: Gissar Ikat hand-knotted 9-by-12-foot area rug in blue ($5,995,, left. SAVE: Heather chenille 9-by-12-foot jute area rug in gray ($719,


Furniture: Nash round coffee table ($124.99,; Blake carbon 42-inch media console ($999) and Colette round side table with drawer ($299), both from

Accessories: Emery linen/cotton 50-by-84-inch pole-pocket drapery panels in gray ($119 each,; “Cote de la Mer” prints I and II ($399 each,; “Daydreaming” art ($550), velvet lumbar pillow cover in sage ($89) and pleated velvet pillow cover in Tapestry ($99), all from; A-line floor lamp in aged gold leaf ($474) and tie-dye double gourd table lamp in Sea Spray ($389), both from

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