Redecorating a living room with informality


After more than six years, Trish O’Hara’s Alexandria living room is still a blank slate. She and her husband want to finally create a casual place where they can read or hang with guests. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)
THE CHALLENGE

After more than six years, Trish O’Hara’s Alexandria living room is still a blank slate. She and her husband want to finally create a casual place where they can read or hang with guests. Because it’s the first room visitors see when they enter the home, the couple would like some “wow” factor, but nothing over the top.

THE SOLUTION

Designer Anna Kucera makes the back wall a focal point, inviting guests in with a casual but stylish seating arrangement.

Kucera, of Gracious Living by Design (703-688-3111), is based in Alexandria.

Create a clear focal point with a bold wall covering, drawing visitors into the room. The Birds and Birch wallpaper mural is removable.

After more than six years, Trish O’Hara’s Alexandria living room is still a blank slate. She and her husband want to finally create a casual place where they can read or hang with guests. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Use lighting to emphasize the room’s focal point. A spotlight highlights the wallpaper and reflects off the mirrored bar cabinet.

Mix materials and finishes for a room that looks curated, rather than selected from a furniture line in a catalogue.

Vary furniture heights to create interest in a room by guiding the eye to rest on various spots.

Wherever there is a seat, there should be a place to set a drink. This is especially important in a room meant for entertaining.

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Beverly sofa in ivory ($3,300, www.williams-sonoma.com); Cathedral console table ($233) and Deco Bacall faux silk velvet wing chair ($285), both from www.wayfair.com; Tibetan Cloud ceramic drum ($80, www.worldmarket.com); Sylvester bar cabinet ($1,859, www.horchow.com); rectangular parquet-top coffee table ($999, www.wisteria.com); turned brass side table ($248, www.anthropologie.com).

Accessories: Decorative lumbar pillow cover in silver gray and ivory lattice pattern ($28 each) and ikat pillow cover ($36 each), both from www.etsy.com; Dagny curtains in light beige ($60 per pair, www.ikea.com); Birds and Birch wall covering in mocha and beige ($355 for a 47-square-foot roll, www.casartcoverings.com); Patrician rug in dark gray ($447, www.homedecorators.com).

SPLURGE . . .

Elsie swivel glider club chair in Suzanne Kasler greige linen ($953, www.ballard
designs.com
)

Monahan adjustable tripod lamp in antique silver ($1,584, www.bellacor.com)

. . . OR SAVE

Luxe chair ($140) and charcoal slipcover ($120), both from www.worldmarket.com.

Studio spotlight ($279, www.homedecorators.com).

See past room makeovers by local designers.

Tell us about your design challenge.

Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com .

Kendra Nichols is the editor of Local Living.

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