I have never had a basement until living in Colorado. They have always seemed a little creepy and dungeon like to me. My ultimate goal in finishing ours was to make it feel more like a resort suite than a dungeon.
We moved into our home in Colorado a little over a year ago and our basement was partially finished. There were walls, drywall, flooring, and a finished bathroom. But the design choices were awkward – like gray wood tile floors and warm brown stone shower (see the before photos below) and there were portions of walls left unfinished with exposed insulation and ductwork. It definitely felt cold and unwelcoming – not a place guests would want to stay, let alone if someone wanted to use this as a bedroom later on!
The Project Details
We budgeted $10,000 on finishing the basement. This was to include finishing all the walls, adding a wall to the utility room (because who wants to look at those things?), adding a full closet, a bench to hide the sump, and all new flooring and paint. Spoiler alert – we went just a little bit over when you add in styling, but we stayed pretty close to our budget!
Basement Mood Board and Inspiration
The beach is my happy place. I love the water, sand, tropical vegetation, all of it. I really wanted to bring nature into the basement without being ‘beachy’. I don’t love a theme, or matchy matchy items, plus it’s Colorado – beachy just doesn’t make sense. I wanted it to feel like it could be a resort in Tulum or a boho boutique hotel in the Rocky Mountains. I did draw a lot of inspiration from our recent trip to Cancun. This can be seen in the color palette and layout of the room.
So we knew going into this that we were wanting to add a closet for added storage, and to be able to call it a bedroom for rental purposes later on. The issue was just where to put it. Being a basement there is a sump – which if you are not familiar it is a giant hole in the ground in case of a flood (you can also add a pump to it to pump water out, but we just have the hole). And of course it’s not placed in the corner or in the utility area or down the hallway, but kind of inconveniently right in the middle. My original thought was to place the closet here to cover the sump (I should note this area is not at risk for flooding and our neighbor who has lived there for 30 years said he has also never had any issues) as well as the water shut off handles and pipes. However, being such a small area already I felt like the closet would have just made it feel smaller. There is a large hallway that leads to the bathroom that I was just using as a gym area. It just made more sense to place the big closet here.
Back to the sump issue- It was right next to where we were placing the bed, so I came up with the idea of a bench that extended from the sump to the wall. This bench is way more aesthetically pleasing than a hole or a little box to cover it! Plus it serves as a nightstand and also a place to sit in the room. My only regret is that we didn’t add storage to it!
Materials and Finishes
The flooring in the basement was a gray carpet in the bedroom area, and gray tone wood tile through the hall and bath. The bath was already finished, and while I don’t love the shower tile and vanity, we chose to leave those and allocate that money elsewhere. So those two things were actually my starting point in selecting finishes since I wanted them to feel intentional.
This is a big design tip if you are not able to fully remodel right away – find a way to work WITH the finishes that are already there instead of against them, even if they wouldn’t have been your first choices. It will feel more cohesive and intentional, rather than unfinished or scattered.
Drawing from my inspiration boards I chose a warm darker wood vinyl flooring throughout. I did briefly consider doing some carpet for the warmth aspect just in the bedroom area, but carpet was pricier and I love the clean feel of vinyl and having just one flooring material. I feel like it makes the space feel larger.
For the stairs, we chose to have a carpet runner. Since our parents would be using the space when they stay with us (and let’s face it because I’m clumsy too haha) I didn’t want the slick vinyl on the stairs. I went with a Dash and Albert rug, and I love it so much. It’s an indoor outdoor fabric which is perfect for the feel and texture I was looking for. It’s this perfect shade of dusty gray blue which adds a beautiful pop of color without being obnoxious.
For paint, I went with Swiss Coffee by Behr for the walls throughout. It’s a warm white, so it brightens the space and still feels warm and cozy.
Styling the Basement
I wanted to use the styling to bring in some warm and textural elements to the space. I chose a jute area rug to bring in natural elements. We wanted to have a dresser to hold guests’ clothes and also a tv. We are completing this on a budget, and it won’t get used daily, so we went with this IKEA dresser. The dresser itself is by no means good quality, so if you are planning to use it every day I would recommend a different dresser! But the lines are simple and it fit the dimensions we needed for the small space.
The lamps are intentionally small to give the feeling of calm and minimalism. They are balanced out by the taller arrangement of grasses (that I cut from my neighbor’s bush!).
The pocket door to our laundry/utility area is broken and wont go all the way back into the wall, so we added a large brass pull to the door, and I actually love that it broke because this touch of brass is so pretty there.
In the bathroom we added a wood framed mirror, and some new textiles to complete the space.
Layer in some throws, art, office and gym organization and I just love how this space turned out! This space went from a place no one really wanted to be to a beautiful retreat!
Do you have a basement in your home? Do you love it or does it need some help like our did?
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