To add drama to the dining room, Michael Barnum stained the floor dark brown, designed custom cabinetry, installed a zebrawood table, and painted the ceiling a glossy chartreuse, a color echoed in the Kravet Couture fabric in curtains and seating.

See how an empty nester couple downsized to this Beacon Hill apartment

For some empty nesters, downsizing is a chore filled with dreadful possibilities.