Our Basement Movie and Game Room: Fall in Love

We had six weeks to finish a room in our basement as part of the Fall In Love series with 17 other bloggers….and the big reveal day is finally here!

Room makeover deadlines are funny things. It became clear pretty quickly that there was no way we’d really be able to finish finish the basement room, so it was more a matter of figuring out where the best places to devote our very limited time and money were. It’d be nice, of course, if I could declare this room completely finished, but I’m happy with the progress we did make: we have a functional room that Ari can sleep in when we have guests over Thanksgiving, and one corner of it is finished enough to take pictures of.

This is what we started with:


The most finished side of the room is not the same one I have the before picture of, sadly. Poor planning on my part. So, before I show you the after picture, here’s a shot of that side of the room after we cleaned it out and painted the floor, but before we did anything else:


And here it is now:

Basement movie and game room reveal

Not finished yet, but a pretty big difference. (Don’t look up!)

So the idea in here was to come up with a fun and functional space that could serve as a place for watching movies and playing games and also as an extra place to sleep since we don’t have an extra bedroom for guests these days. It’s nominally the older kids’ space, but I’m sure we’ll spend a good bit of time down here, too, so I wanted the decor to be appealing to kids without being too juvenile. You know, like if I put a big red dinosaur in there, that might be a little immature. Oh, wait–I happen to love big red dinosaurs and I DID put one in there!

One nice thing about having a deadline and rushing to get things done at the last minute is that I didn’t have time to show every little step of the process along the way like I usually do. So the reveal is actually a REVEAL instead of all the stuff you saw last week plus a new lamp and a source list.

Anyway! Here’s what we did in here to take the room from totally unfinished basement to semi-finished awesome big kid hang out space:

I already talked about how we cleared everything out and painted the floor. We hung doors in the two doorways. We put up a plank wall.

Then the structural stuff was out of the way (well, clearly there’s not a finished ceiling yet, but I always knew we wouldn’t get to that by now. We’ll probably go with a drop ceiling sooner or later) and it was time to start in on the fun stuff.

Well, the painting wasn’t fun. We had to do all the trim, and it took FOREVER. But now it’s done! We decided to paint both the trim and the walls Benjamin Moore’s Newburg Green, the same color we’ve used before in our master bedroom and in Abe’s nursery. I wasn’t planning to use the same color in yet another room, but then I realized that all the colors I was considering looked an awful lot like Newburg Green anyway, and I might as well go with something I know is a winner. I’ve joked before that I love Newburg Green so much I want to pretend it’s a neutral and put it in every room in the house. Maybe I wasn’t really joking. My original plan was white walls and fun colored doors and maybe trim….but then I read a lot about how white in a basement will just look dingy, so I figured I’d do color on the walls and white trim. But I was never really excited about it. So we opted for fun color on the walls AND trim…all the same fun color. Someday we’ll have baseboards, and they’ll be the same color, too.


The seating area is the only part that’s really finished at all right now. We’ve had the futon for probably ten years now, and it’s been sitting in our basement most of the time we’ve lived in this house. It might be nice to have a sleeper sofa in here eventually, but for now it will do nicely as seating that converts to a bed. I’d originally planned to get this futon cover from Tonic Living (the old one was a bit of a disaster in all sorts of ways):



…but it was out of stock when I went to order it (it’s back in stock now). So I wound up with this plain, “natural” color cotton cover instead (affiliate link)….and I’m kind of glad it worked out that way. For one thing, the cover I bought was $33 instead of $120. Plus having no pattern on the futon cover made it easier to play around with pattern elsewhere. The cover is nice for the price….it’s a little thinner than what we had before, so time will tell how it holds up to all the kids.


The pillows on there are all from Ikea. I have red and yellow in my head as the main accent colors in here, but there’s not really a whole lot of yellow yet. There’s a tiny bit on that speedometer pillow, though. I bought the Doctor Who throw on Zulily (I don’t think it’s available any more). It was the biggest splurge in the room, and I’m not so happy about getting it, in retrospect. I kind of thought it was going to be big enough to cover up the whole futon and stay on there to protect the zippered cover. But it’s a pretty standard sized throw. So I have a cool throw. But normally I would never pay $50 for a throw. It’s possible we’ll stretch it out and use it as a wall hanging somewhere instead, because it is pretty cool and covered with Daleks and stuff.

We picked up a bunch of throws at Ikea, too (and the basket is from Goodwill). There’s no central heat (or air) down here, so cozy throws when watching movies seemed sensible. Although it was very cold here last weekend, and things stayed reasonable in the basement. We have a space heater to use when we need it:


Those black chairs came from the same Ikea trip (you’ll sense a trend here; we’re not done yet!). They were only $40 each, and really seemed like the best option for comfortable extra movie seating that fit in with the modern vibe of the room and didn’t cost a fortune.


The rug is actually two rugs, and also from Ikea. I liked the idea of something shaggy and thick to go on top of the cold concrete floor. We might actually go back and get two more so that they cover up pretty much this whole half of the room:


The movie posters are orginal lobby posters from my movie theater working days. I’ve been hauling them around from house to house for forever. So I had a very limited selection of movies released around 1996-97 to choose from, and I realized after I’d made my selections that they’re all R rated movies that my kids can’t even watch yet. Oops. But they were the BEST ONES. Ari could probably watch Romy and Michelle…it’s fairly tame, if I recall correctly. And, really, Fargo, while disturbing, is a great morality tale, right? Super wholesome. Also Jerry Maguire. Lots of important messages about the meaning of life and meditations on class and all that. I got nothing with Grosse Pointe Blank, Comedies about hit men maybe best left until the kids are older. It’s funny, though!


I was a little worried about the stark white plank wall against all that Newburg Green at first, but once we got the posters up I fell in love with it again (which is good, since that’s the name of what I’m supposed to be doing with this room!). The frames were on some kind of super sale at Michaels….I’ll talk more about what everything cost in here later, but they were well over half off the original price.

Final Ikea purchase for in here was this little chair for Abe. It was on sale for $20 (usually $30), and he looked cute in it, so we had to get it:


We’ve had this mdf t-rex for years; my Dad made it for us one year for Christmas (I don’t remember the whole story of HOW he made it. I mean, I don’t think he designed it or anything, but he had the machine that would cut it out). I thought he’d be a fun thing to add in here, so I spray painted him red the other day. He likes movies, too.



So that pretty much covers THAT half of the room. In the short term, we still need to make the projector screen and get the projector set up, and get some curtains for the windows (something with black out fabric for daytime movie watching). Long term, we have plans to build some shelves in the little nook area by the Grosse Pointe Blank poster and, as mentioned, finish the ceiling.

Not much has happened yet on the other side of the room. There’s a foosball table:

basementreveal10s basementreveal11s

The eventual (soon?) plan is to build a table in here for games and add a bunch of shelving along that back wall to store games and whatever else. I’m not sure there’s room for all of that plus the foosball table, but we’ll see.

Phew! So there you have it. I’ve loved having this collaboration to push us into getting this done(ish) so quickly, and I’ve also adored seeing the great rooms everyone else has been working on. Make sure to go check them all out; it’s well worth your time!

Decor and the Dog
Home + Style Report
Dwellings by Devore
A Home Full of Color

Shift Ctrl Art
Go Haus Go
The Gathered Home
The Thriftress

Primitive & Proper
Wills Casa
Nalle’s House
Brittany Makes
Number Fifty-Three

Boxy Colonial
Bliss at Home
Eleven Gables
Newly Woodwards
The Chronicles of Home

Unfinished Basement Storage Room to Finished Movie and Game Room in Six Weeks and on a  Budget

Linking with:

Link Party Palooza

Monday Funday

Inspiration Gallery

Β The Creative Collection

Best of the Nest

December Before and After at Thrifty Decor Chick

Best DIY Project of the Year contest at Not Just a Housewife


Our Basement Movie and Game Room: Fall in Love — 54 Comments

  1. I really love how this space is looking. It has a industrial loft look that’s perfect for your boys. Little Pilot is also insisting that I ask if one can ride on the dinosaur. πŸ˜‰

    • LOL! The dinosaur is, sadly, way too fragile for anyone to ride. I’m a little worried he’s not going to make it for long with crazy kids running around in here, but we’ll see πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Stephanie! Stuff I read about projector rooms was another thing that scared me away from light walls….not that I think our projector room is ever going to be as hard core as a lot of the ones out there!

  2. What a fantastic hang out space Gretchen. I just love it. The movie posters are perfect. I really like the rugs and I think it’s a great idea to add two more. Love the new cover and the chairs. That board wall is awesome and I love it with the blue walls and doors. You got so much done in just 6 weeks. Just starting the challenge without all walls was very ambitious and I am SO impressed with all you got done. I say fire up some popcorn and start showing some movies πŸ™‚ Oh oh oh and the dino. LOVE!!!!

    • Thanks, Emily! I will use Newburg Green pretty much as much as I can possibly get away with, it seems. No wall or trim is safe! πŸ˜‰

  3. Love the colors you picked for in there!! That dinosaur is crazy awesome! I did not look at the ceiling. Pinky swear but if I would have I would’ve thought it looked industrial loft-ish! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Amber! We thought about just spray painting the whole ceiling black for an industrial thing, but….okay, I can’t remember any more why we probably won’t do that…..

  4. You’ve made such a huge transformation in such a short time. It looks really fun and comfortable in there. We also have a basement family/movie watching room, and we also added a warm, furry rug and lots of throws. We also painted the walls and trim and doors the same color. So, great minds think alike, yes? πŸ™‚ I think all I’ve gotten done in the last 6 weeks is to sew some kitchen towels. So, wow.

    • Great minds indeed! And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get past trying to remember how to thread my sewing machine if I tried to make kitchen towels πŸ˜‰

  5. gretchen, it looks SOOOOOO good! what a great hangout space! and i love the red dinosaur and romy and michelle is an all time favorite. i invented post-its, you know.
    seriously fabulous job!!!!

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  7. Even though its not finished, its still a killer room! Of course that dinosaur is probably one of the coolest pieces but the fun and playful pillows are a close second. It was enjoyable to read your justifications on letting your children watch some of those movies. I don’t have children so I don’t have a say but they are classics πŸ˜€

  8. Hey ROCKSTAR!!! Are ya kidding!! You guys did such an awesome job on this project! I am in love with the color combinations that you went with! And the rug and floors are fantastic! As are the walls! Such a HUGE transformation! You all should be so proud of this space Gretchen! And holy cow do you guys have awesome light in your basement!!! I think I missed the planking tutorial…did you do one??? I would love to give that a go in our basement….was it hard???? Have a great week pal! Nicole xo

  9. Holy cow, Gretchen, this is really, really impressive. I love the Newburg Green, the red dinosaur, and just can’t get over what you accomplished in six weeks here. Totally digging the movie posters too. What a great space for you and your kids!

    • They really are! And I’m enjoying having a place where they can all go play loudly together and it’s not right in my ear πŸ˜‰

  10. Gretchen! I know you probably feel like you have miles to go, but I am finding this space SO inspiring! It’s just AMAZING what paint on the floors & walls, that planked wall and a “real” door can do to make a space feel finished. It just goes to show that how color and decor can affect the mood of a room so very much. I am in total love with Newburg Green and think this space is the perfect application for it – it’s dark and moody and interesting isn’t it? And the movie posters and your cool furnishings make this such a fun space. Love what you’ve done to make this room functional and awesome! (Thank you for linking it up to Best of the Nest!)

    • Thanks so much, Lisa! We have a good bit more to do in here, but we’re really enjoying it as is so far, so I’m happy πŸ™‚

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  12. I’ve had this tab open for ages! I didn’t see the comment you made about the dinosaur over at Epilog, so I was searching on my own. I found a couple of crafters selling complete models over at Etsy. Just do a search for “Wood T-Rex Dinosaur”.

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