Once, we had a dream. A basement dream with lots of big basement ideas. But today the dreaming is finito. You guys, it’s done.
The BASEMENT is done.
And it makes me wanna break into song because you know…
I’m all about this basement, this basement, no more trouble.
I’m all about this basement, this basement, no more trouble.
We brought this basement back!!
Go head and tell those dingy termites that…no, I’m just playing.
I know you think it’s phat, and I’m here to tell you every inch of it’s now perfect from the bottom to the top.
– complete knockoff of Megan Trainor “All About That Bass”…if you don’t know it, you should.
No more welcome to the jungle (another great tune). We worked hard to make our basement ideas basement realities. This former dungeon is today a bit more of a dream.
And before I get too far along in this post, let me share the sources for this space:
basement source list:
- charcoal tufted velvet sectional sofa
- quartzite wall tile for fireplace surround
- orange/white geometric/trellis curtains (here’s a similar set)
- 9×12 wool flokati rug
- chevron gray hallway rug
- white high gloss floating storage units (IKEA Pax system)
- chalkboard paint, back wall
- chalk paint for 2 chairs (IKEA) and (thrifted) sofa table (Annie Sloan Provence)
- chandelier over sofa
- pendant light over kids work table
- magnetic dry erase board 48×36
- kids space orange polka dot rug (no longer sold at IKEA, but sometimes available through another vendor via link)
- electric fireplace (similar options)
- laminated wall map
- paint (wall) – “White Duck” in eggshell, Sherwin Williams
- faux sheepskin in hallway nook
- blue wood IKEA chairs (painted in Annie Sloan Provence)
Our budget was low and our wish list was long, so we did the best we could on our shoestring, DIY budget. A budget that required us to do 95% of the work ourselves (we did pay someone to tape and sand the drywall).
And before I delve too deep in the nitty-gritty, let me throw the source list up here, in case anyone finds something they may want for their very own 😉
When I say we DIY’d everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Remember those two armchairs (above) I snagged a while back for $16 each? I reupholstered those myself, to contain cost.
A basement, especially one which has to serve as a playroom, requires storage for all that kid junk. We packed a TON of storage into this basement. ALL from IKEA. And I really enjoy the clean, modern lines of this cabinet style.
Plus, we needed ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to make this space lighter and brighter, so these white cabinets with high gloss doors seemed like a win-win.
The flokati shag rug is one of my fave elements down here. Hey, you can take the child out of the 1970s, but you can’t take the 1970s out of the child, right?
There’s something so fun and funny and super comfy cozy about a shag rug. Is it the most practical rug? Hellz to the no, but no one ever accused me of choosing function over form, and I have no intention of changing now. I’m telling you, I could sleep on this rug and be completely happy.
That modern wall-mounted fireplace? It’s electric. And it’s also hilarious. You can choose the color of the flame. I kid you not.
Is it realistic looking? Not even a little bit. BUT, it can pump out some serious heat, which is great in a basement. And for those of us who live in homes without gas, I think it’s a really fun option.
This space had a LOT of straight lines, and it still does. But as much as I dig a modern aesthetic, I wanted to soften it a bit. The fabric helped with that.
I mounted a curtain rod behind the soffit you see behind the couch. Now, these playful, bright curtains help create a “private” play area for the kids, and they are used constantly as theater curtains during all of our “performances” down here.
So I scored the shag rug, the gorgeous tufted, velvety sectional, the bow chicka bow wow electric fireplace…but the REAL winners in this basement are our three kiddos, I think.
A couple of other things we did just for the kiddos include hanging a huge laminated map, where we can track our adventures.
We bought an inexpensive craft/activity table. The glossy top on this table is SO clutch for cleaning up glue and markers and all those things that kids get on the furniture.
The chairs we paired with the table were super thrifty as well. We bought the 2 orange folding chairs from IKEA and painted a couple of other IKEA chairs we already had on hand to save some more loot and keep that quirky, eclectic, unpredictable look going.
One ENTIRE wall is a chalkboard. Overboard? Quite possibly, but the kids don’t seem to mind! And I think it gives the space some more dimension, rather than amplifying the fact that this room is just a big, boring, square box.
The board hanging below the map is a magnetic whiteboard. Great place to hang treasures, as well as an additional spot for the kids to let their creativity go wild.
I mean, who didn’t want to write all over the walls as a child? Maybe just me? I don’t know, but if I can somehow green light something that would otherwise be a red light, I dig it.
I knew that I’d likely be working a lot from this part of the house once it was completed. I snagged this console/sofa table from an auction for $9 to use as a desk.
It got chalk-painted to fit the space. And those lamps? They were the cheapest I could find at Wal-Mart. Just doctored them up a bit with some FREE wood…i.e. sticks from my yard, and twine.
So with that, our transformation of the worst basement ever is complete. And as I close my eyes to prevent the inevitable terrorizing flashbacks, let’s have one more reminder of where we started…
Stairs to the basement, before and after we painted them, and gave that boob light a cheap, 5 minute augmentation…
Hall to the rec room. Before, it was windy and weird. Now, it’s chock-full-o-storage and wider than before because we downsized the bathroom and removed some of the previous wall along the stairs.
And finally, the kids space/basement before and after…
I hope if you have a basement that is in need of a do-over that this DIY project has given you some good basement ideas and basement design ideas. Now, it’s time for me to pull a Nicki Minaj and…
Peace on OUT of this here boom-ba-doom-doom boom-ba-doom-doom basement, yeah this here super basement…
Mommy needs a nap.
Pssst…before you go, I sure would love to hang out with you again really soon! Sign up now and get a FREE copy of “Builder-Grade To Beautiful: 10 Totally Transformative Home Decorating Solutions, All Under $100!” Click here or on the image below. Your copy will be sent right away!
Cara Lee says
Love your ideas. One question. How did you brighten up the small windows? I just moved into a basement space myself and I can’t figure out how to make it feel like daytime when it is. All I can see are the metal rounds holding back the dirt.
Hmmmm…not sure I have any great ideas on that front. Some basement windows are definitely dark. The one we have in our guest room is nice and bright because it’s so big, but the smaller ones on the back side of the house don’t get much light at all. I think the only way to really do it is to have the wells dug deeper and add larger windows, but that’s a pricey expedition. The only other recommendation I have is to add LOTS of recessed lighting, if you own the space…that helps.
Cara Lee says
Thanks for your thoughts. I just saw them today.Yeah, I’m renting so larger windows isn’t an option for me. the only thing I can think of is to spray paint the galvanized steel white so that it reflects any light it does get more.
Gorgeous! It looks like you painted the stairs to the basement. What method did you use to keep the paint from peeling or chipping through foot traffic?
Hi Amy!! The stairs have actually held up very well. I’m hoping to write a post in the near future to show people how they’ve held up over the past couple years. I’m AMAZED how perfect they still look. I think the key is using the right paint. We have a full post with the tutorial if you’re interested: https://heatherednest.com/how-to-paint-stairs/
You crack me up!! ???