As we prepare to move out of our first home in a few weeks, I figure it is probably time to give you an update on some rarely seen spaces. 

One of the more difficult areas of our home is the large walkout basement. It is great to have so much extra space in an otherwise small ranch home, but the main living area of the basement is an odd shape, and it has been difficult to furnish. We finally have it like we like it…and of course now we are moving! 

When we first moved in, there was a garage and a large L-shaped living space with a big section of low ceilings running through it to hide the ductwork. 

Here is the floorplan as we first saw it: 

What you can’t tell is that there is a low drop ceiling in that entry area and a random pole obstructing it. Now for some truly embarrassing “before” photos…

We were working with Jeremy’s clunky college furniture…and it just didn’t work for the space. Yikes! The coloring in these photos makes me queasy. I learned the hard way that just trying to make ugly furniture work by accessorizing with other ugly things that “match” will never give me the result I want. But we lived with it for a while until we got up the courage to get rid of the old furniture, address to layout issues, get some color on the walls, and buy some new, more size appropriate things. 

First of all…the layout. The major thing we did in the basement was convert the garage to master bedroom a couple of years ago (that was one of our most popular blog posts. Check it out here.)

For the main den space in the basement, we wanted to section off the living section from the entry area, so we created a designated mudroom by extending the wall and sectioning off a mudroom space. That made for a more dedicated den area and made the low ceiling less awkward. Here are the layout changes on paper… 

Stylistically, we booted all of that heavy brown furniture OUT of the room and simplified. Then we painted the walls Feather Gray by Benjamin Moore…a light gray/blue color. I like the simplicity of white walls, but here’s the truth: in a space that gets little to no natural light, white walls feel institutional. 

Also, we realized that with just two of us really using this space (when we host guests, they pretty much always stay upstairs on the main floor), we didn’t need SO much furniture. We started out with a couch, a loveseat, a recliner, and a table. Once we removed EVERYTHING from the room, we were really able to realize that a clear floor path to our master bedroom and space to walk around were much higher priorities than seating space. 

So here is what the space looks like now! 

We collect Anderson Design Prints based on the places we’ve traveled. Up on the walls, we have Venice, Rome, Iceland, London and of course our beloved Nashville. 

We found that West Elm sectional on Craigslist for a cool $200. The chaise makes it SO comfortable; it’s the perfect place for an evening movie night for two. 

That old piano turned TV stand adds a fun pop of character to the space. 

And the view from the basement stairs…

Another good example of really stepping back and using spaces to the best of their ability is that back room known on the floorplan as the “Workshop.” First, that was a guest bedroom. Then it was a studio. Then it was an office. But in all honesty…the terrible lighting and lack of windows makes it a really un-inviting space. We dreamed of turning it into a nursery someday, but that would have required ripping the ceiling out and installing some recessed lighting. For now, however, it finally found its fit as the perfect storage room for our tools, extra wood, etc. Not much to this room, but sometimes you shouldn’t make more of something than it is. 

So there you have it! We hardly ever invite you into our basement, but now you’ve seen it for what it is! The next house we are purchasing has a full, unfinished basement. Our own little design playground! Stay tuned.