Tuesday, May 31, 2016

An Organized & Updated Basement Family Room

In just one week we will hit the road for our family's summer adventure. After years of anticipating this trip it is crazy to think that it is almost here! There are piles everywhere...packing is in full force. But there is one space that is in tip top shape. A place for life to flourish, you could say. Why don't you come on in and let me show you around our recently updated family room!

These past few months (ok, year really) we have been tackling different projects down here to create an updated space for our family's needs (our kids current ages are 5, 7, 7, 10 & 12). We also wanted to have a welcoming space for friends to enjoy when they come over. 

Just like people are motivated to finally get to those house projects when they put their house on the market to sell...we were highly motivated to finish up this space with our special guests coming to visit and stay in our home this summer. Our house will be occupied all summer long and we wanted those staying here to feel welcome and to be able to make themselves right at home. 

With all of the life that happens in this space we could see that the walls were in desperate need of a new paint job. However, it was only after the walls began getting repaired and prepped for paint that we realized the reality of life with kids. :-) This picture still cracks me up...such an accurate picture of #lifewithkids

I dug some pictures out of the archives to show you what this space looked like before. One word...dark! It was pretty beige too...beige walls, beige carpet, beige furniture. You can see in the picture below how the basement previously opened up on the left to continue into another area. Here it is blocked off with some shelves when we were using it as a temporary guest room. Before that it was our inviting space for kids and now that we put a permanent wall up it is our permanent guest room

The fireplace was dark and dirty from years of soot. I had been wanting to get my hands on that brick and paint it ever since we moved in four years ago.

Here is what this area looks like now! A bit brighter I would say. :-)

For the main wall color I went with Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. It was actually a gray color that I almost used years ago in a different space but then determined that it was too beige and not enough gray for what I wanted in our bathroom. However, it turned out working perfectly in this space because I actually wanted to use a neutral that was more like a gray but went with all of the existing elements...which were beige. :-) (I wrote some tips on selecting the right gray paint here.) 

For the fireplace we didn't want to keep it a wood burning fireplace because of the carpet, wanting it to be a safe and clean space for kids and because there was a huge draft that would come down through the chimney and make this area frigid in the winter. 

We looked into the cost of adding a gas insert and when the price tag was over two thousand dollars we decided to come up with a different solution for now. A piece of wood was installed to keep a draft from coming in and I put some chalkboard paint on it. The brick got multiple fresh coats of white paint and the final result is lovely. The yellow accent wall paint from Target that I actually used in the girls recent bedroom remodel.

Life truly is about enjoying the little things. (Thank you chewbacca mom for that AWESOME reminder.) ;-)

A barn door was installed that now separates the family room and our guest room. With a large opening between the two rooms we still get lots of natural light pouring into the family room. And anytime a movie is playing the door can easily be closed to create a darker space.

The other end of the room used to look like this when we first moved in and were remodeling. 

There had been some closets under the stairs and when we pulled out all of the paneling to have drywall installed we asked our friend Ben if he could turn that space into a little play house for the kids. With a crew of five we figured that it would get a lot of use.

It turned out great. However, ever since (over four years ago) I had been dreaming of adding some cedar shakes to the outside. I even wrote about why that dream was so important to me here. But I was completely overwhelmed on how exactly to do that. It was something that I had seen my dad do in the home that I grew up in but seeing the finished product and seeing how it was done is a whole different thing.

Then this past April my mom and dad were visiting and spent a week hanging out with the kids while Sam and I traveled together to go and speak at a conference. Coming home I was blown away to find THIS surprise. 

The play house was shingled! 

Besides jumping up and down when I saw it, I hardly feel capable of expressing to my dad just how much it meant to me. I'll be forever grateful.

I guess you could say that each item that was placed in this room was done strategically. Each item has a purpose. The couch was set in the best possible layout for the room so we positioned the treadmill next. After having an IKEA shelf unit in our craft room I couldn't imagine a better way to organize all of the games, toys and books in our house. And with five kids we wanted to create a designated space for things like books and games instead of having so many spots all over the house that they were collecting things. 

I was done with finding books ALL over the house. So I decided that having a designated "library" would work best. Now the kids know exactly where the books go when it is time to clean up. It is incredible, ya'll!

The clear containers from IKEA on the bottom aren't my favorite but until they break I didn't want to replace them. Previously I used and wrote about this system for sorting toys that I used when the kids were smaller. It worked ok but was definitely too many bins for the kids to sort through each time that toys needed to be put away. So most times the toys would just go back in any given bin.

With this new system we sorted through staple toys and lessened the amount of bins that we used. One bin contains baby toys for instance.While our youngest is now five and definitely out of the baby stage, this bin definitely comes in handy when we have visitors over with little ones.

A play kitchen and play food seemed pretty classic and universal for a wide range of ages to be entertained with too.

So we made a bin on the shelves designated for "kitchen" stuff. No longer are we trying to separate all of the pieces into multiple categories...just kitchen.

We decided to utilize the rest of the cubes on the IKEA Kallax shelving unit for board games. I love that you can see exactly what is available instead of games being hidden behind a cabinet. However, they still look organized and uniform by stacking them in the cubes. One of my favorite things when it comes to games is still this handy, dandy little basket for putting lost and random game pieces. You can read more about that here.

Besides games we also do have a few tubs that contain various things like Play-Doh, Lincoln Logs, Beading Supplies, Puzzles & Cards. The bins came from Home Depot and the fact that they have lids on them is super handy. We placed them higher up on the shelving unit so that little hands couldn't reach. And since the shelf is anchored to the wall, and each cubby is filled with items, we haven't had any climbing concerns. 

The thing that I like best about this area is being able to organize all of these various items AND having a limit for how many books and games come into the house. The things on these shelves are played with all of the time. The kids can see everything that is available and everything has a place to return it to. If something new comes in, like a new game or book from a birthday or Christmas, then we choose something to give to someone else to keep the flow of blessing going.

Besides having a space for kids to play the other main use of this space is a gathering place for our Saturday night family movie nights. This tradition started right after our family expanded from four to seven

Family movie night is definitely a family favorite and something that our kids look forward to every week!

Our sectional couch was actually the very first piece of furniture that Sam and I purchased after we were married. It wasn't until over a year after we had been married that we got it on a date night back in 2005. 

This thing is comfy and fits a TON of people. 

Our basement still tends to get a bit cooler than the rest of the house so having warm blankets on hand is a must. I've tried storing blankets for a family of seven lots of different ways but never quite successfully...until now! 

Bonus Tip! Use an outdoor deck box for storing large amounts of blankets inside. It works great! I love that everything is contained yet accessible.

Making your house a home really is about filling it with the things that bring you joy. These pictures were a gift from some dear friends. Each picture was personalized and hand created for one of our kids. The kids know how special they are and love showing their friends where their name is hidden in their picture. 

I can't think of a better place that I would rather be than hanging out with our crew on a cold or stormy night...right here.

Enjoy the place that you call home. 

Make it your own. 

Give it a purpose and before you know it...

you'll turn around and find a place for life to flourish!


  1. Looks awesome! Gives me hope that our playroom and TV room can be organized even with a bunch of kids!

  2. Love the idea of a Games Lost & Found bin. I picked up a random Trouble peg the other day then had to stop what I was doing to hunt down the game. A small designated bin would have been perfect.

    I am amazed that your games fit in the cubes so nicely though! It seems like half our games are very long rectangles that would stick out a lot. I've thought about putting them in other boxes/cased so they fit better, but like the origninal boxes and artwork.

  3. This is totally amazing! I need to get to work in my own home!


Thank you for commenting, I read every single one. Because spam is so prevalent I moderate all comments. I also will delete any that are inappropriate or hurtful. All other comments will be approved and published in between me chasing around my five little tornadoes! For any specific questions feel free to email me at aninvitinghome@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and following along!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...