Basements are a tricky room to decorate, especially when they serve multiple purposes. Too many toys and it’s a romper room, dark paint and furniture and you have an unwelcoming dungeon, the wrong decorating scheme and it pleases one resident but not the other. I was so excited when I first saw Liz and Cameron’s basement because they seem to have found ways to work around all these issues, balancing toy storage, a lack of natural light, and a gender-neutral decorating scheme.
Liz and Cameron chose yellow, black and white as the main colors for the room. Yellow and black are natural partners, and white goes with everything. They opted to paint just the bottom half of the walls a chirpy yellow, appropriately named Baby Chick by Benjamin Moore.
Painting all the walls yellow would probably be a little overwhelming for such a bold color. They also considered just a yellow accent wall, but decided a half wall around the room would be a fun alternative.
Liz says she chose black because it goes so well with yellow but she also thought it would make it easier to get a couch to play into the color scheme. The couch is from IKEA (Manstad) with a cover ordered from Comfortworks. The fabric (Nomad Black) is sort of like a linen, but much more durable. The couch folds out, providing comfortable sleeping for overnight guests.
Liz’s inspiration for the room was the chair she found on Craigslist from a woman who sells a lot of mid-century pieces. Tucked behind the chair is a dramatic floor lamp from CB2 that reaches out over the chair, providing light to a larger area of the room.
The console for the TV is actually a set of IKEA kitchen cabinets. They are mounted onto the wall and covered with a butcher block countertop. Inside, the cabinets hide videos and other TV-viewing accoutrements. Using kitchen cabinets that come in a wide variety of sizes is a great solution for small and odd-sized spaces. And Liz isn’t afraid to add some unexpected accents in her house such as the French horn and bust of Beethoven.
The room isn’t huge, but they made sure to set aside an area behind the couch for all of Angus’s toys (my kids decided to give each one a test run).
Not only do I love the fact that there’s a fireplace in the basement (there’s one directly above in the living room too) but I also love how they painted it black and added a pop of color with the lime green mirror. The chrome accented screen is from West Elm.
The fun continues in the laundry area. While Angus wants to show me what’s hiding inside the basement fridge, I can’t keep my eyes off the orange and white checkerboard floor. The linoleum tiles from Home Depot come in a variety of colors and they are extremely budget-friendly. Liz loves the color orange, which you can also tell if you take a look at her kitchen we featured last year.
While your eyes might be drawn to the striped dress form, don’t forget to check out the black painted steps with white risers. Liz and Cameron had planned on staining the staircase, but when they realized it wouldn’t really match either the existing wood floor tile in the basement or the hardwoods upstairs, they decided to paint it. They’ve suffered a little wear and tear, but touch-up is a breeze.
I’ve definitely learned a lot through Liz and Cameron’s basement remodel:
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with color.
- Find an inspiration piece (here, the chair) and use that to guide your design.
- Make sure you carefully consider the layout of the room to accommodate multiple needs — toys, television viewing/lounging, a guest area.
- And finally, if you have a space or budget limitation, consider using existing or inexpensive furniture in unintended ways such as kitchen cabinets as a media console.
If you’ve remodeled your basement, we’d love to feature it here. Contact us as diydelray[at]yahoo.com.