THE CHALLENGE

Michele Love wants to repurpose the 9-by-9-foot dining room in her Leesburg, Va., rental townhouse as a sitting area. She has a hutch and table and chairs in the space but plans to sell or donate that furniture because her kitchen has a large table, and she doesn’t use the dining area for, well, dining. She would like the space to have a warm, cozy feel and needs recommendations for pieces that will coordinate with the furniture in the adjacent living room. She also wants a new area rug for the living room, to match what goes in the remade dining space.

THE PROPOSED SOLUTION

Designer Liza Jones suggests a few key pieces to create a comfortable sitting area with space to store books and other items Because Love is not allowed to paint the walls, Jones suggests bringing in texture and color with accessories and furniture.

JONES'S SUGGESTIONS

Matching rugs in different sizes define the two seating areas while also unifying the space. Swivel chairs add versatility, allowing guests to participate in the conversation in the living room (foreground) or face each other for a more intimate dialogue. A bold green ceiling fixture adds light and color to the new sitting area (renters should check with their landlord to make sure it’s okay to swap out a fixture, and can offer to change it back when they move out). Scatter accent pillows in complementary colors throughout the two spaces for a coordinated look. A coffee table with round edges softens the design and echoes the shape of the light fixture above it. Don’t be afraid to go vertical when designing. Taller pieces can make a space feel larger. A potted plant brings color and life to the room while also acting as a visual cue to separate the two spaces.

Jones, with Liza Jane Interiors (703-966-1554, lizajaneinteriors.com) is based in McLean, Va.

SPLURGE OR SAVE

SPLURGE: Keely 360-swivel chairs in Newport Harbor fabric with Natural Lee cushions ($1,623 each, crateandbarrel.com), left. SAVE: Emma upholstered swivel armchairs with polyester wrapped cushions in navy brushed crossweave ($499 each, potterybarn.com).

SPLURGE: Heston round 36-inch coffee table in reclaimed pine and concrete ($1,325, restorationhardware.com), left. SAVE: Toulouse round coffee table ($499, ballarddesigns.com).

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Ewing etagere bookcase ($709.99, wayfair.com).

Accessories: Hartwell natural fiber 5-by-8-foot and 9-by-12-foot area rugs in blue-multi ($399-$799, potterybarn.com); Hodge 18-by-18-inch throw pillow covers in neutral/green ($40.99 each), cotton throw pillow covers with down inserts ($48.99 each), and dahlia/mum flower arrangement in decorative vase ($47.09), all from wayfair.com; 18-by-12-inch Bia tassel pillow in ginger with feather-down insert ($29.95, cb2.com); Tepi natural throw ($39.95, crateandbarrel.com); “Green Tea” 30-by-20-inch canvas with black floating frame ($294.99, greatbigcanvas.com); Custis Collection 25.5-inch parrot green and storm pendant ($402.50, lampsplus.com); faux fiddle leaf fig plant ($199) and pure white ceramic planter in medium ($149), both from westelm.com.

See past room makeovers at washingtonpost.com/housecalls. Tell us about your design challenge. Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com.

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