Fall in Love: Basement Movie/Game Room



This is pretty exciting, right? I and those seventeen other bloggers up there are all going to be doing room makeovers of spaces in our houses that are currently hard to love. We’ll talk about them and share progress over the next six weeks and then all the big reveals will be coming to you the week of November 3.

When I found out about this collaboration, I knew I should do it because there are approximately 436 unfinished rooms in my house that I could work on. Our downstairs bathroom? The laundry room? The den? All completely un-fallen-in-love with and pretty much untouched since we moved in. For awhile we thought we might do the other half of the master bedroom, destined for life as an office/grown-up hang out room someday.

Honestly, it was with great reluctance that we arrived at our final decision. Because it’s going to be really, really hard, and I have serious doubts about our ability to whip it into shape in six weeks.

Here’s the room we’re going to make over:


I know what you’re thinking: “That room is FINE! If I had a room that looked like that, I’d just stick a big recliner right down in the middle, lean back, and stay there all the time.”

Not really.

More likely you’re thinking: “That’s not a room. It’s your unfinished basement. Give up on this crazy idea and make over your laundry room instead. It has WALLS at least. Also, don’t you have a half painted master bathroom with no mirror to work on?”

Or maybe that’s what I’m thinking.

We do have reasons for taking on this crazy task right as Halloween/Thanksgiving/birthday/Christmas season gets going. Mostly we told the kids we would do it as a Christmas present to them without thinking the whole idea through and now we feel a little stuck. They’d like to have a place that’s big kids only (or at least big kids and supervised toddlers only) where they can hang out, and we’d all like a place to permanently set up our projector for movies. Also, the grandparents stay at our house at Thanksgiving, and it’d be nice to be able to put them up in Ari’s room and have Ari stay down here (instead of sticking him in Abe’s room on an air mattress, which, in turn, means sticking Abe in our room).

I’ll get into lots and lots more details in the coming weeks, but here’s the very basic plan:

1. seal/finish the concrete floor somehow or other

2. finish/paint walls somehow or other: There are three mostly finished walls in here (though they need some work) and then one wall that’s just framed out. We’re thinking we might do a plank wall there rather than messing with drywall.

3. some kind of built in or built-in-ish storage for games

4. projector screen and somewhere to set up the projector

5. furniture. We have a futon that we’re going to use here (with a new cover) so that it can double as a place where people can sleep. And then I envision two basic zones–one for watching movies and one with a table for playing games or whatever.

6. Doors: the cats’ litterbox room is in the basement, and we need to hang doors so that that will be the only part of the basement they can get to. They regard the basement as their private domain right now, and they’d cover the futon and anything else soft in the room with cat fur and claw marks in no time if we didn’t keep them out.

7. Paint trim

8. Window coverings: probably some kind of black out curtains, so we can use the projector when it’s light outside.

I threw together a mood board with some initial ideas:


basement movie/game room
1. Benjamin Moore’s Oasis Blue: I’m thinking of a teal/peacock blue kind of color. Like maybe this one. I actually had white in my head at first, but then I read a bunch of stuff about how white just looks dingy in rooms without a lot of natural light.
2. The thrifted campaign chest I talked about when I guest hosted Thrift Score Thursday. I mentioned that the finish is in bad shape, but I’m kind of really liking the idea of yellow down here, so I may wind up repainting it a similar color.
3. I already have chairs (similar to these from Overstock). More on those later.
4. Ikea Docksta Table: So when I started writing this post, I was convinced I wanted this table. Then one turned up on Craigslist, and I started having second thoughts. I think it’s too small for what we need. So….currently still thinking about potential table solutions.
5.Fargo poster (affiliate link): that link goes to a reproduction, but I have an original Fargo lobby poster from back in my movie theater working days. I have a bunch of others, too, and they’ve all been waiting around for their chance to live in a movie room. I know Fargo’s going up, but I need to go through them all and pick out some more.
6. Zia Birch futon cover: in this fabric, which you can see better in this picture of a pillow than you could in the futon cover picture they had.
7. Nolmyra chairs from Ikea: I’m thinking of these $40 chairs for some extra movie seating
8. Gummygoods Nightlight : (affiliate link) and of course we need some fun stuff. Like a gummy bear lamp.
9.doorway beads: (affiliate link) there will be two doorways in the room, but only one of them will need an actual door for cat blocking purposes. “Can we have beads in this doorway?!” asked Dave. Who am I to tell him no?
10. 5-panel door: I saw these at Lowes the other day, and wanted one immediately. They come in fun colors. But probably we’ll get a boring color, since we’ll have teal walls.

This is a very quick and and as inexpensive as we can make it makeover, so there are a lot of things the basement won’t have, too.

1. The ceiling is staying ugly for now: we were originally thinking we’d at least paint the ceiling, reasoning that it would be easier with an empty unfinished room. But I think it’s just too big of a job for now. We might or might not address the ugly fluorescent lighting situation. This might just be a “don’t look up!” room makeover

2. central heat/air. Yeah, not right now. It’d be great to do a full scale basement finishing project down the road, but I don’t know if it will ever be in the budget. My friend Kristi’s budget basement makeover is a big inspiration here; it really helped me see how one could make a basement that looked great and was totally functional as a living space without spending a million dollars. The basement stays surprisingly comfortable year round, temperature wise. We’ll probably use a space heater in winter, and maybe a dehumidifier in summer, but we’ll mostly let the room’s undergroundedness be our climate control.

So there you have it. We’ll see where we get in six weeks! I don’t know that there’s much chance it will be finished all the way down to the gummy bear lamp level, but I’m hoping we’ll at least have a decent place for Ari to stay come Thanksgiving.

Make sure to check out everyone else’s plans! I know that I, personally, am much more excited about seeing what everyone else is up to than I am about hanging doors and painting trim ;).


Fall in Love: Basement Movie/Game Room — 35 Comments

  1. Can’t wait to see what you do! We made over our basement/family room (though not in 6 weeks!), and I’m so glad we did. We use that space all the time, and it’s probably our favorite one in the house. We just put a simple sealer on our concrete floor, and it’s been great. Fairly easy, too. Aside from all the toxic fume part, of course. 🙂

    • Good to hear! I’ve found a mix of good and terrifying concrete floor finishing stories online, but my real life friend assures me it was easy. She used an acid stain and says the only thing to watch out for is that it eats metal. Eek. Need thicker gloves before we start this, I think.

  2. Personally I was thinking all you needed was a recliner too. This is going to be such a great space for the boys. You’re going to be so glad you picked it. Remember that as you are cursing the day you said yes to Cassie!

  3. I can not wait to see what you create!!! I know that it is going to rock!!! I can already tell from your mood board! And how wonderful that you are a part of this series!!! Have a great week! Nicole xoxo

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  5. Goodness lady, you have a HUGE task list in 6 weeks, but you know what?! You can TOTALLY crank that ish out!! Such a sweet idea of having a multi-functioning room for your kids. The theater part is definitely my favorite, I’ve always longed for one and will live vicariously through you!

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