(The Washington Post)

Gavin Hilgemeier recently moved into a home in Fairlington, Va., and is looking for advice on how to decorate his 15-by-16-foot basement. He prefers a neutral palette and would like to have room for a large television and seating for four. He also needs storage for books and entertaining housewares. He is not a fan of the “man-cave look,” or of rustic or country decor, and would prefer a transitional/Art Deco style.


Designer Sharon Hayden concentrates on bringing in natural materials, chunky textures and warm tones to give the homeowner the neutral palette he seeks, while using soft blues and greens as accents. She went with a mid-century modern aesthetic to complement the clean, simple lines found in the modern finishes and sleek stair rail already in place in the basement.


Warm up the walls with a softer gray that has a slight greenish undertone. Try Old Prairie from Benjamin Moore. A natural wicker trunk in front of the sectional does double duty as a cocktail table and a storage box for throws, extra pillows or games. A small bar cabinet and floating shelves create a dry bar where drinkware and entertaining dishware can be stored and/or displayed. A floor lamp that arcs over the sectional provides task lighting without taking up much floor space. Sweater poufs, pillows and a throw in chunky textures add visual and tactile interest to the neutral design. Rotate the rug 90 degrees to cover more of the exposed floor. A mid-century modern media cabinet corrals TV electronics and other items. The wood chevron grain on the doors is simultaneously playful and elegant.

Hayden, with Studio Starrs Interiors (571-212-8431, studiostarrs.com), is based in Vienna, Va.


SPLURGE: York 95-inch sofa with right-arm chaise in Sumner Linen ($2,200, roomandboard.com), left. SAVE: Vimle sofa with chaise in Tallmyra beige ($979, ikea.com).

SPLURGE: Suspend media console ($999, cb2.com), left. SAVE: Mid-century modern bookmatched universal 58-inch entertainment center in white ($202.31, amazon.com).


Furniture: White oak finish mid-century modern two-door storage cabinet ($243.23, amazon.com); Winsten antique fir wood display shelf ($233.23, homedepot.com); taupe heather sweater poufs ($99 each, worldmarket.com); wicker large storage trunk in dark global brown ($75.99, target.com).

Accessories: Cantilever drop pendant floor lamp in antique brown ($99.99), chunky double knit handmade throw ($69.99) and artificial rosemary plant in ceramic pot ($10), all from target.com; faux fiddle-leaf fig plant ($129.99, worldmarket.com); rustic luxe wine bottle and stemware 24-inch rack set ($30.44, walmart.com); 29-by-41-inch decorative wall mirror in weathered copper ($313.99, bedbathandbeyond.com); “Wildflower Reflection I” and “Wildflower Reflection II” 24-by-16-inch prints with Allegro bronze frames ($120 each) and “Pompom Botanical I” and “Pompom Botanical II” 13-by-19-inch prints with Allegro bronze frames ($115 each), all from art.com; Pelliccia 16-inch pillows with down alternative inserts in ivory and mushroom ($89.95 each, crateandbarrel.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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A piano goes out and a bar cart comes in to make a light, bright entertaining space