I tend to use the word “decor” pretty loosely but in this case I use it very loosely. No Pinterest worthy pins here! However, Rob and I worked hard on this project and I like documenting our home and the things in it. They tell a lot about us as a family.
We received a surprise, monetary gift in the mail with the words “Do something fun!” attached. We thought about going on a weekend trip, updating our wardrobes, getting some patio furniture, or a couple of other things but Rob and I settled on creating a playroom in the basement for Nate, Madeleine, Caroline and their friends.
Sure, the size of our house is decent, but the 2 bedrooms that the kids share are small. Very small. Their rooms and our family room were overrun which made it hard for them to play in them. I’d been annoyed that we were only effectively using 2/3rds of our square footage due to the unfinished basement. We do have plans to finish it but need to finish paying off our student loans first, which is in 3 years. In the meantime, when the kids did go down there to play it was somewhat precarious and absolutely freezing during the long winter months. I also wanted a space that was more removed from the rest of the house in order to cut down on chaotic noise when we have the whole neighborhood over to play.Therefore, we decided the best use of this generous gift was to build an adequate playroom where they can be loud and boisterous and creative, and, you know, kids! For all our sanity’s sake.
I had actually whitewashed the stairway a year ago. It was unfinished wood, drywall, and concrete. It just looked dingy and scary. White was exactly what it needed since there isn’t a light fixture at the top of the stairs, only the bottom. It’s much more inviting this way (except Rob thinks this pic makes it look creepy). I decided on a pale, reflective blue for the playroom wall color. Since it is a dark basement, we needed something that reflected some light around and made it feel less heavy.
This shelf belonged to my brother who passed away a few years ago. It had sliding glass fronts but we took those off to make it more kid friendly. We didn’t have any other use for it anyway and it fits really well there. We bought the carpet on KSL. There isn’t a pad, but it feels soft enough anyway.
This shelf was our old tv stand years ago. It’s been holding toys in the kids closets and so we moved it downstairs. These are Caroline’s absolute favorite toys. She gathers all her little princesses and plays for long periods of time, imagining.
We used the recess under the stairs as the girls’ dress up area. The cords belong to an overhead spotlight on a dimmer that they can control themselves. We inherited it from my parents.
Dresses, hats, shoes, etc belong in the lower side. We will be adding some more goodies here with Caroline’s birthday coming up. Shhh!
Now, for the bonus. Since it’s an unfinished basement and we wanted something a little crazy and super fun for the kids, we decided to build a stage. The girls use it for dancing, plays, performances, among other things. Nate uses it as hard surface for his cars and building toys and eventually wants to use it for a band. Rob wants to set up his drums here. It doesn’t take away from useable floor space since it can be used for all kinds of activities. Rob built it to the standards of an actual floor so it’s extremely sturdy. We covered it with the cheapest-you-can-buy wood-looking vinyl floor tiles. It can be unscrewed and moved without completely destroying the whole thing. There is rough plumbing for a bathroom safely tucked underneath.
As you can see, the stage is a good size. Three people can easily spread out and dance without running into each other. The curtains are hung using Ikea’s wire system. I had the brown drapes from our master bedroom when we lived in Layton and the flowered ones came from our family room, before I made new ones. I sewed each pair together and they can easily be pulled open and shut. We covered the fiberglass ceiling with breathable gray fabric that we already had on hand. Rob just stapled it up. There was a bare bulb here and on the landing at the bottom of the stairs. We put up 3-way spotlights from Walmart. The wall on the right side of the stage and one of the main walls were already framed so Rob just needed to hang drywall. There was unpainted drywall already installed underneath the stairs. The two other walls are concrete that we just painted over. (lovely phone pic)
The playroom has an opening to the rest of the unfinished basement. We stapled up a pair of $10 Ikea semi-sheers to close it off a little. We needed something that let some light in but some of the draftiness out. On the other side are a ton more toys, a swing, treadmill, a drum kit, furnace etc, food storage, and all the other stuff a home’s basement tends to have. The kids still play in there on the swing, but it’s a lot less inviting and too cold in the winter. With this room separated like this, it’s much warmer and in the dead of winter we can effectively put a small space heater down there if needed. After studying this picture I remembered that Rob still needs to put a small piece of drywall up in that opening…
Some things that are on the kids wish list for Christmas:
Mirrors behind the stage
Real microphones with a speaker
Colored strobe lights
I think I can safely say that we’ll have the neighborhood’s party basement come January. A HUGE thanks and LOVE to our generous contributors for making this fun project happen. The kids use it every single day, much to my pleasure. Hugs.