With such memorable features as a sagging drop ceiling, harsh fluorescent lighting, thin paneled walls and a dated deep red brick fireplace, this family room was long overdue for a makeover.


Designer Candice Olson made the most of the basement's cavernous size with a flexible and functional design that incorporated the family room's many roles: casual home office, entertainment central and cocktail lounge. When you're designing a huge space, she advises splitting it into zones.


Zone 1: Olson defined an entertainment area with a large sectional sofa covered in a durable and soft olive-colored fabric. The sofa faces the TV and media center, as well as the fireplace, which was treated to a facelift with a new gas insert and some white and gray marble cladding. Lots of pillows, a comfy leather club chair and round accents -- including wall mirrors, coffee table and pillared side tables -- combine to finish off this zone that spells pure cozy entertainment.

• Zone 2: Right behind the sectional sofa is a harvest table that doubles as a desk. With a rustic yet refined appearance, this table is deep enough to accommodate high school homework while doubling as a buffet surface during parties or as a game table. A couple of stylish indigo croc-patterned chairs with nail-head trim pick up on the color of the two black-shaded table lamps.

• Zone 3: Behind the harvest table, the far end of the family room is defined by two dark-wood cabinets that flank a white French door leading to the hallway. These spacious storage solutions are crowned by white countertops and custom floating shelves with built-in recessed lights that wash down the wall and counter. Everything from home accounting records to board games to family photo albums can be neatly tucked away in these cabinets, while the shelving provides the perfect display surface for stylish art pieces.

• Zone 4: Next stop: the bar. The homeowners wanted their new basement to lend itself to entertaining, and this modern wet bar delivers the goods. The area features durable vinyl flooring that looks like salvaged wood. A contrasting countertop made of salvaged wood extends from one wall and is supported on a chrome pedestal trumpet base. White and chrome stools surround the counter. Dark cabinetry and a white countertop are repeated here, with the addition of a sink and a white and gray tile backsplash that extends to the ceiling. Shelving above the counter provides open decorative storage space for platters and glasses. Under the counter, more cabinets and a counter-height bar fridge complete the look.

Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service. Interior decorator Candice Olson hosts "Candice Tells All" on HGTV.