This 15'x24' walkout basement once felt cold and cave-like. But equipped with a living area, fireplace, and kitchenette/bar, the basement had potential to be a cozy retreat. With the help of a few creative ideas, Wright created a new space with new surfaces, fresh paint, and décor inspired by the leafy views outside the sliding door.
Living Area: Before
The living area in the basement was dark and dated. The walls were wrapped in paneling, and the floors were covered with 1970s-style shag carpet. Not even the woodland view outside the sliding door could make the room feel bigger and more open. Stained drop tiles lowered the ceiling, and mismatched furniture cluttered the space.
Living Area: After
New drywall and stain-resistant carpet (SOS Euphoria: #20 Midway) instantly update the space. Wright introduced a natural fall color palette through freshly painted walls (Shade Green, #CI 40) and punchy accents in artwork and accessories to make the space feel light, bright, and inspired by nature. Simplifying the furniture opens up the room. The fantastic view from the new patio door (Pella 750 Designer Series) is now a focal point when framed with breezy curtains.
Falling Leaves Artwork
Leaf motifs abound in this basement makeover. Create your own gallery of vibrant fall leaves. Cut vinyl flashing in leaf shapes, and then play with spray paint until you achieve an authentic finish. Showcase the leaf art in simple-to-construct frames.
Simple Stamped Curtains
Add playful pattern to inexpensive tab-top curtain panels to create custom window treatments. Use self-adhesive felt and a woodblock to make a leaf-design stamp, or design your own stamp pattern to suit your décor.
High and Dry
Comfy carpet was the natural choice for floor covering in the living area. But inside the sliding door and kitchenette area, the floor needed to stand up to wet boots and spilled drinks. Porcelain tile (#199351) is durable and easy to clean. To combat puddles from soggy shoes, Wright made a shoe tray from paint spreader screens (#40315) set atop a kitchen drain board (#276823).
You don't have to spend major money on wall art for a room. These sweet branch sculptures add a touch of playful sophistication to a space, and they're a quick, easy, and inexpensive project you can craft out of wood dowels and glue.
The fireplace may have worked mechanically, but it didn't work stylistically in the basement space. The floor-to-ceiling brick surround made the hearth feel small and anything but warm and cozy. The built-in bookcase next to the fireplace offered valuable storage space for movies and games, but it went unused with a television placed in front of it.
Once an eyesore, the fireplace is now a bold focal point opposite the living area. A new faux stone veneer on the fireplace surround (model #1022 and #1037) and hearth (model #1047) incorporates texture into the room. A wood mantel and artwork visually break up the stone surround. Light-colored wood continues up to the ceiling where the original drop-tiles were replaced with Armstrong tongue-and-groove ceiling planks (#89091, model #1265). Finding the television a new home -- in a surprising location -- opens up the bookcase.
The Layered Look
Stack interior doors covered in sheet laminate to build this simple, yet sculptural coffee table. Let each layer hang over the one beneath it to create storage "shelves" to stack books and other regular coffee table items.
Sleek Shelves and Storage
A coat of fresh paint on the existing built-in bookcase makes the piece look brand new. The unused storage space above the cabinets is now a display space to showcase decorative knickknacks. Red oak boards mounted to a matching back panel and hung with picture-hanging hardware create contemporary floating shelves. With pretties displayed up top, there's storage space in the cabinets below to stash board games and movies.
Stone veneer is an easy way to redo a fireplace surround without starting from scratch. Plus, it can be a fun project that's a lot like a puzzle game.
You need to get "hands on" with the veneer, arranging and rearranging to figure out which pieces work together best.
On-Track Wall Art
Wright came up with a clever solution to conceal the TV mounted above the fireplace. She suspended the two panels from sliding door track and painted on a DIY leaf-motif artwork. Now you see it, now you don't.
This narrow kitchenette had four strikes against it. The walls were covered in paneling, the backsplash and countertop were both covered with bland tile, fuzzy shag carpet creeped up the bar, and -- most important -- the space was non-functioning. The countertop was too narrow for stools, so friends and family were forced to stand around the bar.
Opening up the kitchenette made it more conducive to food prep and entertaining. Guests can sit on stools (#312838) at the new bar table, and overhead pendent lights (#394799 and #266563) add intimate lighting. While guests mingle, the host can prep munchies in the kitchenette, which received new cabinetry (Diamond Reflections Jamestown maple cabinetry in Tidal Mist finish), a countertop (Smoke Quarstone, #246692), backsplash, bar sink (#73308), faucet (#127970), microwave (#7597), and compact fridge (#326299).
Belly to the Bar Table
Wright built this bar table with the same materials used to build the coffee table in the living area: Lauan interior doors. Incorporating similar materials throughout a room with distinct separate spaces is one way you can add unity.
Galvanized pipe hangers are repurposed to hold your favorite bottles of vino on this simple wine rack.
Make a Splash
The mosaic tile Wright chose for the backsplash incorporates more of the room's natural color palette and adds visual interest on a wall. In a small space, installing tile is an easy and inexpensive way to add texture and style.