Hui Anne and Stephen's basement is a multifunctional space that does triple duty as office, TV room and playroom. Their family room is spacious, but it had way too much going on, and none of it was working. When you walked in, you just didn't know where to look -- there were distractions everywhere. The room had become a repository for old, mismatched furniture and storage boxes. But the space had huge potential, and I focused on creating a stylish yet hardworking room, perfect for this young family.
First, I focused on the bulky, broken fireplace. Transforming this eyesore into an eye-catching focal point was as easy as expanding the width and refacing it with gorgeous, 12- by 24-inch natural stone in "wooden beige" color. We popped in a sleek gas insert and flanked the fireplace wall with playful wooden tiles made of oversized jigsaw-puzzle pieces. The black-onyx puzzle pieces provide the perfect backdrop for the fireplace wall, giving it dimension and subtle pattern, and attracting the attention it deserves.
Beside the fireplace we positioned a big-screen TV on a funky high-gloss gray media cabinet. To provide loads of comfy seating, I selected the mother of all sectionals -- a mammoth charcoal three-piece sofa that will stand up to the kids while offering space for the adults to entertain downstairs after hours. Wall-to-wall rich espresso-brown carpeting is soft underfoot and grounds the space, while a creamy area rug positioned under the seating area really sets off the sectional. A couple of funky white stools and a two-piece solid wooden coffee table complete the furnishings in the lounge area of the family room.
When they're not relaxing on the comfy sofa, Hui Anne and Stephen can get to work at the other end of the room. A stylish salvaged wooden desk was given new life with some walnut stain, and we installed the same high-gloss gray cabinetry on both sides of the desk, as well as beside the fireplace, to provide plenty of storage and surfaces to display fun accessories and artwork. The entire wall behind the desk is made from a magnetic dry-erase board, making it the one wall the kids are actually encouraged to write on.
To light up this basement family room, we removed the old acoustic-tile ceiling and installed recessed pot lighting. We selected wonderful new ceiling tiles styled to look like white wooden planks, and the effect is marvelous. The new lighting changes the whole mood of the space, and we accented with task lighting at the desk and with lamps on either side of the sofa.
Maximizing the illusion of height at the small windows, we hung floor-length draperies and custom graphic printed shades that truly create the feeling of larger windows and instantly banish that below-ground basement feeling.
Page 2 of 2 - Finally, to finish off the wall behind the sectional and give it a personal touch, we selected several different salvaged frames -- some painted and some raw wood -- and hung them on the wall empty. Then, we positioned conversation pieces inside the frames -- we selected large old white keys, an antique bicycle horn and some of the kids' artwork. But you can try this idea at home with any kind of eclectic filler. Have fun and let your imagination run wild.
The basement had huge potential, but it was a diamond in the rough. The broken fireplace was a problem, and the room lacked focus -- and a focal point. We transformed the fireplace into the centerpiece of the room, and created a stylish and inviting lounge area with lots of seating for family and friends. The couple also has a working office space now, with tons of storage and some fun touches like the whiteboard wall.
Best of all, we banished the basement blues with floor-to-ceiling window treatments that give the illusion of larger windows, and installed more-inviting lighting fixtures that complement the room's funky yet functional style.
Now, all we need to add is the family to make this room really come alive.
Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV's "Candice Tells All." For more ideas, information and show times visit http://www.hgtv.com/candice-tells-all/show/index.html. Or visit scrippsnews.com.