julia’s basement revamp

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Good Monday, wonderful people! We hope this finds you rested after a fabulous weekend.

Today, we thought we’d share a few ideas and solutions for our latest Room Redo Wanna Play Winner!

Julia lives in a home built in the late 1800s that has tons of character. When she sent me photos of her basement, I knew this room was just itching for a great solution on more levels than one. This space needs to serve as a multifunctional mecca: Their one area in their home for a place to watch movies, a sleeper for guests, and a toy/play space for her soon-to-be family of six. Oh, and doubling up on that challenge, would be the fact that they have a drop ceiling, and cement walls, which makes hanging things and visual appeal, a bit of a challenge.

Well, I do love a challenge…so after I studied their space for a while…I came up with some solutions. Please note that these inspiration boards are meant to serve as a springboard of ideas for a space: solutions that will hopefully both make the space super functional and spatially appealing… all at once! 

1 + 4 + 10 I thought I’d start with the simplest changes she can make, that will make the biggest impact for the space. Changing a room over is a gradual process, so these are the moves she can make up front, that will make a real difference.

First things first, I love this shade of Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue, paired with Weston flax. I think the Palladian blue would serve to freshly unify the space, with the Weston flax under the stairs in the makeshift playhouse {see more on that below.} I’d also love to see various shades of that blue on the staircase, to throw in some subtle, unexpected character.

Simple shades found in the correct width, would make a great, natural element statement for those windows. I wouldn’t worry about the length, just raise them all the way, in the day, to let in that much needed daylight, and lower them at night to provide ample privacy. Simple, easy, coverage is all that’s needed!

Brace yourselves : I think this may be my absolute favorite thing out of the entire inspiration board. Sometimes, I get really excited over the simplest of things. Because the seemingly simplest of solutions, can make a huge difference. While we know completely removing that drop down ceiling may not be a current, or ever an option for their home, making it visually appealing is! Whether they purchase some great pieces like these {it will be a bit of an investment} or DIY some of their own {it’s possible if they’re willing to put a little time into it and make these for a fraction of a price.} These automatically transform their ceiling into an architecturally appealing, up to date, doable kind of space! Be sure to check out their website for all their selections. Another option may be a simple beadboard installment to replace those tiles. Just something to seriously consider to brighten and lighten their area.


2. On to the sofa: This piece has quite a few qualifications: It needs to serve as a space for guests {a sleeper}, a sectional, but be small enough to fit down their stairs. So while I’ve chosen some in similar styles, their best bet is to shop around for the best deal, style, and piece that works for them. Sleeper sofas are one of those investment pieces. And when it comes to doing it right, they’re usually worth that money. A unifying piece with enough space for the entire family is really the only sitting area this smaller room needs. Another option is one that comes in pieces, to make it easier to move into the basement.

3. This cowhide rug injects just the right amount of personality into the space.

5. These throws are so super affordable…why not inject even more color with a few different shades? A prerequisite for relaxing with a movie…because every room needs a good throw.

6. These fabrics in fun patterns are just close enough to ‘go’, and inject some fun personality into the space. For more go-to fabric sources, click here!

7. Baskets: super essential for rounding up everything from toys… to movies. While these are a great style, I usually score the best baskets on a whim at discount home stores. So for the best prices, be sure to search there first, and save some major moolah. An eclectic mix can make the space more interesting, as well.

8. Since hanging art is an issue with cement walls, I pictured a gigantic version of a simple stencil leaning behind the sofa on the far wall.

9. This pouf offers extra seating, a hint of fun, and are easy to stow away into a closet or double timing it as a coffee table when they’re not in use for sitting.

I’d love to see a hanging lamp shade like this one in the space, to add additional lighting!

11. In the corner, under the staircase, reminded me of this makeshift playhouse. With a few simple pieces of wood, some delightfully contrasting color, and maybe even a window in the right spot, that magical, under-the-stairs place can go from fun, to intentionally amazing + positively delightful with just a few additional, creative touches. It will also help round up those toys when they’re not in use.

12. On the opposite wall, where their TV now stands, I’d love to see a piece like this. Instant storage + a great center for all things entertainment. While most pieces like these can get a little pricey, the link above is actually ‘doable.’ However, it depends on the dimensions, and if they wanted a great customized look, they could always build their own, following plans like these ever so loosely. Have a few un-used bookcases sitting around? Check out this upcycled version, here. 

Now that we’ve discussed most of the super fun elements for the space, let’s not forget that wall, with the ledge. Here’s a before of the space…a little tricky.

And here’s my solution for ‘after’. {See: Last minute super-fast, ridiculously silly looking illustration to explain my concept.} Any beams of wood, whether reclaimed or simple pine, paired with with {three total: 2 for the ends and one in the middle} metal pieces for support. We know that the cement walls still pose a problem, but by placing holes in the metal, and drilling in, they could place an anchor + attach. TADA! Endless storage on an otherwise ‘problem area’ kind of wall. More places for toys, movies, games, etc to help keep their space flowing efficiently. This is exactly like the concept behind our dining room piece, only adjusted, to size. Be sure to check it out in action here with how we did it, here. It’s a super affordable solution for an otherwise wasted wall.

So there we have it. A few fresh ideas to spruce up a challenging, multi-needs kind of space. I hope some of these ideas work for you, and you feel inspired to push forward creating a well used space for your family, Julia! Congrats on your beautiful, soon-to- be-new, addition!

Any of you guys have a challenging space with many needs? what are some ideas you’ve implemented that have worked for you? Have an inspired day!


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11 Responses to julia’s basement revamp

  1. WOW, I think all of your ideas are fantastic! I especially like your drop cealing fix. I saw that stairway on pinterest, and I just loved that too, what a terrific way to brighten up any basement!

  2. I love these mood boards! So helpful. Thank you. I was lloking at your fabric picks and wondering if you have ever done a post on mixing pattern + colour. I’m looking for fabric to recover a platform rocker and make a fe pillos to help coordinate things. I’m not sure whther to slip cover my poang chair cover and my sofa (both olive green) ith bleached white covers. (Our rug is teal) Any way, I’m not sure why I went into all of that, I don’t expect you to pick my fabrics for me: but some direction would be fabulous.

  3. I aplogise for my horrid typing, above! The w key doesn’t work sometimes.

  4. dawn says:

    love these ideas! i’ve been looking for some ideas for our basement that serves many purposes and these are great-i’m sending the ceiling idea to my husband right now :)

  5. Sandra says:

    OH MY…this is beautiful…the textures, patterns, and colors sooo pretty!!!

  6. Your blog first caught my eye because my maiden name is Ashley Mills. Can you believe that we have the same name? And we live in the same town. I love this idea board, as we need some ideas for our basement reno. I’m just stumped on knowing what to do down there, and I love your choices.

  7. Julia says:

    We love it. I can’t wait to get started! Thanks, Ashley!

  8. Rachel says:

    Love the ceiling tiles! I see these in my basement’s drop ceiling in the near future!

  9. Love your mood boards! Thanks to you I now have two more fabric ideas for pillows on a daybed! You Rock!

  10. Natural says:

    Amazing and Creative !!