Basement Ideas and Before Photos: Part 1

In my last post on home gratitude, I mentioned that my husband and I are grateful for our unfinished basement, and as it turns out, we are especially grateful for it right now because this is the year that we are actually going to FINISH it! That’s right—we are about to start our very first major home renovation project, and we are super excited about it! Of course, with that excitement comes a fair amount of trepidation, but we are really looking forward to learning and growing a lot through this experience.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve met with several different contractors and gotten a few quotes for the project. We finally settled on the contractor that we want to work with, and today we put a deposit down for the job! The actual work won’t start for a little while, so I probably won’t have any progress photos to show for a month or so, however I thought I would still go ahead and share the “before” photos, as well as some of our ideas for the space.

The basic plan is to turn the main area of the basement into a combined entertainment area and playroom (once we hopefully have kids, obviously). In addition, we will turn the smaller area of the basement into an office with a small laundry closet. I want the whole space to feel bright and well-lit, but also cozy and inviting. This is one of the inspiration photos that I’ve saved which captures the feeling that I’m hoping to create for the main space (though it definitely won’t look quite this grand):

The primary elements of the remodel will be: drywall walls and ceiling, recessed can ceiling lights, and laminate/vinyl flooring. We are still deciding on the exact material for the floor, but it will have the general appearance and feel of a hardwood floor. I want it to be a somewhat dark wood and not too red. I’m thinking something like this:

However, one of the most exciting aspects of the renovation and the biggest focal point of the room will be a large media center, which will be installed on the far wall as you enter the space. Here’s a before shot of the main space as you walk down the stairs with a view of that wall:


As you can see, we’ve taped out areas of the floor and wall where the principal features/furniture will be placed, and I’ve labeled the photo as well to try and make things clear. We’ve done quite a bit of research on the entertainment center (custom vs. pre-fab, etc.), and we think we’ve settled on this unit from Pottery Barn:

I realized that I really liked the look of custom built-ins but having someone build them from scratch for us was going to be way over our budget. However, we talked to our contractor, and he is going to put this unit together and install it into the wall for us, so that it will have the look and feel of a custom built-in without the impossible price tag.

In terms of furniture for this part of the room, I will definitely have a better sense of what we need once we see the space finished, but I am thinking of a large area rug (probably 8 x 10 feet) and a very comfy sectional. Since we don’t actually have a ton of room, the sectional really can’t be huge, so the size may be the determining factor in making our decision. I’ve been looking at this one from Pottery Barn, but it may end up being too large and too expensive. We shall see.

Other than that, I’m hoping to also get a small ottoman/coffee table and maybe a very small side table. It’s really not a huge space, so I am trying to be careful not to clutter it up with too much furniture. Stay tuned for more photos and ideas on our future “playroom” area and office space in parts 2 and 3 of this series!