Tackling a Basement Junk Room
I’ve been challenged with a lot of problem spaces, but this basement project I recently designed really took the cake. Talk about having your work cut out for you. This small, cluttered basement was to be turned into a playroom for the kids, family room for the adults and spare room for guests.
When I first saw it, I thought the homeowner was kidding, but I have to admit that the challenge really got my juices flowing.
The most obvious problem was the lack of storage. Over the years the basement had become a dumping ground for just about everything–toys, skis, bedding, Christmas decorations, you name it. Since the space really wasn’t that large, I had to create as much storage as possible without eating up a lot of room space.
The solution that had the most impact was the sliding walls I had built on either side of the room. When closed, you wouldn’t even know they were there, but when moved the sliding walls revealed a plethora of storage behind them. I put in shelves at varying heights and added single and double hang bars for storing clothing.
Other storage was incorporated by building a custom cabinet in an awkward spot at one end of the room. It’s perfect for toys and, at floor-level, provides easy access for the kids. Just outside this room we opened up the space underneath the stairs for additional storage.
Now that the function had been put in, it was time for style. I brought in a small sofa bed, which would work well for overnight guests. (Something to think about if you’re planning to finish your own basement: Make sure you measure whatever you buy to be sure it’ll fit down the stairs.) I also brought in a few small ottoman cubes that open up to hide clutter and act as additional seating.
Spotlights were the only solution to use in this room, as they offer good lighting in a dark basement and don’t take up any space. There was one small window at the end of the room, and I decided to visually expand it by placing mirrors on both sides. The effect is that of having a much larger window, and since the mirrors reflect the light it makes the room even brighter.
I chose a light color palette for the walls so as not to close in the space any more than it already was. I went with oranges and sands, and the fresh effect was a great result. The painted built-in cabinets housed books and the entertainment unit, which also could be hidden behind the sliding walls.
The final touch–one that’s imperative in any basement–was to warm up the floor. I started by ripping out the pale, stained carpeting and replacing it with a beach-colored floating floor. Then I added a gorgeous Peshawar area rug for warmth and color.
And so it was complete, a former junk room turned into a multifunctional playroom, family room and guest room. The homeowner told me the family spends more time in the basement now than anywhere else in the house.