When we moved into our house six years ago, we had a three-year-old and an infant and left behind a condo in the city. We were awed by the additional space of our new house. While I swooned over a laundry room (that now leaves me discontent), the finished basement overwhelmed the toddler. He "unpacked" the boxes of toys himself, scattered them across the basement playroom, and had room for a dance party to spare.
Over time, my kids have played less and less in this tremendous space. I'm sure they have other reasons, but my chief complaint was that it needed a face lift. The wainscoting that surrounds the room was off-white, poorly painted, and looked soiled and dingy. The walls were just a little too dark and a lot too blah. The wall hangings were a hodgepodge of stuff that didn't fit elsewhere. The whole place just bummed me out.
Allow me to share my pain in the form of some before photos. I took these as I started the project, so the blue tarps were project-specific. The rest of the clutter was pretty typical.
Since summer, I speculated that the basement would make a great winter project. One day while the kids were at school, I couldn't take it any more and broke out the semi-gloss white. Once I started, there was no turning back on the giant room of wainscoting, six doors and trim, stair risers and banister, and built-in cabinets.
I was paralyzed by a color choice, so I posted this photo to the Flotsam of the Mind Facebook page and asked for suggestions.
Two college friends--one in California and one in London--suggested the same color, Benjamin Moore Limesickle. Another friend proposed I add an accent wall. I took their advice. After what felt like a gazillion hours patching drywall, caulking wainscoting, and taping off the carpet, I spent nearly a gaziliion hours making it happen.
We now have a white, Limesickle, and Polaris Blue basement.
Even before I finished painting, I couldn't resist picking up a few Target clearance pillows to brighten up the place.
I think that, by itself, the Limesickle would have been too pale. With the Polaris Blue wall, the whole thing really pops. I liked it so much that I painted a second wall in the other section of the L-shaped room.
Here is what the rest of it looks like, in all its Limesickle splendor.
The furniture is still a hodgepodge. I imagine it will remain so until the kids get a bit older and it becomes more of a tween hangout than a playroom. Now that I've spruced up the place, the rest of the family is scheming about how to further improve the space. I've dashed their hopes of a water slide and wrestling pit, but I imagine someday we will cave to a flat-screen TV and gaming system. For now, I remain steadfast in my refusal.
I have some ideas for wall art that I'll be pulling together over the next few weeks. I think some additional color in the artwork will add a lot to the room. I still need to finish painting as well; I left the stairs, banister, and built-in cabinets for Phase 2. Once I feel I have a final product, I'll be sure to let you know.
Thank you to all of you for your color advice. While it still needs further improvement, I'm beginning to swoon about my basement. If the kids still don't play down there when I'm done with the makeover, I'm taking over and moving in.