(The Washington Post)

Michelle Guck and Ken Ward are trying to figure out how to best configure the L-shaped living/dining area in their Crownsville, Md., home. They plan to use the space for entertaining and relaxing and would like a nautical look to tie into the view of the water from the glass doors.

(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designer April Force Pardoe uses furniture to break up the large space and create separate zones for dining, conversation and watching television.

(Interior Rendering by Rodney Co/3D Storm Studio/ for The Washington Post)

 Sconces around the room complement the recessed lighting. Use dimmer switches to make the lighting flexible. A deep neutral color will give the room a warm backdrop. Try Gray Screen by Sherwin-Williams. Paint the brick fireplace a soft white, such as Downy by Sherwin-Williams, to create a more open feel. Divide an awkwardly shaped space into two or more zones to maximize seating. Use one color palette throughout so items can be easily moved around when the urge for change strikes. Shelves can display collectibles and books, as well as add an architectural element to counter the glass doors.

Pardoe, with April Force Pardoe Interiors (afpinteriors.com, 410-782-0762), is based in Elkridge, Md. (Courtesy of April Force Pardoe; The Washington Post)

(All Modern; Dwell Studio)

SPLURGE: Morefield modern coffee table ($822, allmodern.com), left. SAVE: Iris coffee table ($199, dwellstudio.com).

(Restoration Hardware; Lamps Plus)

SPLURGE: Surveyor’s tripod floor lamp ($1,595, restorationhardware.com), left. SAVE: Cherry finish wood surveyor tripod floor lamp ($220, lampsplus.com).


Furniture: Nova 20-inch end table in brass ($449) and 15-inch martini table in brass ($399), both from arhaus.com; leather director’s bench ($449, cb2.com); Sanna chair in Tatum oatmeal boucle fabric and charcoal finish ($799), 83-inch Percy sofa in Tatum blue boucle with charcoal finish ($1,499), Adams 72-inch table in maple with shell stain ($1,299) and Doyle dining chairs in shell finish with Sunbrella canvas blue fabric ($299 each), all from roomandboard.com; Cabrio TV stand in walnut ($1,155) and Reese tufted-fabric retro side chair in light beige ($151), both from allmodern.com); Mantz 63-inch bookcase in white ($262, wayfair.com).

Accessories: Oh Buoy lamp with shade ($165, dotandbo.com); Carson tray ($65, dwellstudio.com); Mirage 8-by-11-foot area rug in chevron pattern ($498, esalerugs.com); Fisherman’s indoor/outdoor sconces ($378 for two, potterybarn.com); jute striped ivory 84-inch curtain panels ($40 each, pier1.com), coral embroidered bisque pillows ($35 each) and coastal embroidered sea fan pillows ($40 each), all from pier1.com; Zena pillow covers in tangerine ($39 each, birchlane.com); 1866 Chesapeake Bay and Virginia’s Eastern Shore chart ($80 for 24-by-32-inch giclée print, art.com); set of two round wall mirrors with metal frames ($112, houzz.com); Natalia three-light rope-enclosed chandelier with bulbs ($215) and set of two Tuscany solid decorative cedar wood serving trays ($85), both from overstock.com; “West Coast” print by Carol Dysart ($86 for 18-by-24-inch unframed print, minted.com).

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