Basement Playroom Makeover: House 1.0

Basement original 2


The house came complete with a retro, wood-paneled basement that we turned it into a playroom on a pretty tight budget. So how do you turn a Brady Bunch basement into a crisp white kid zone? See below.

First up, tips on how to paint the paneling.

1.) Sand it to get the sheen off. This is messy—masks recommended. We used an electric sander on the main part of the paneling, and then hand-sanded into the grooves. It took a weekend to complete.

2.) Wash the walls down to remove the grit.

3.) Prime the walls using Kilz primer. This effectively covers the knots in the knotty pine and gives a surface for the paint to grip to. This step took us a weekend and some weeknights after the kids went to sleep.

4.) Paint the walls using semi-gloss white paint. This took two coats.

5.) After we finished the walls, they looked so fresh and white that the ceiling looked drab so we painted that as well.

Before and after view down the basement stairs:



Another before and after view. Totally de-knotty pined.



The curtains and window seat were created from cute sheets I found at Urban Outfitters. The shelves are IKEA, and the train table — the bargain of my life — was obtained for $25 at a kiddie consignment sale.



We turned the nook into a reading spot and toy storage. The decals are from Etsy, the pillows are Marimekko, and the pads were covered by Urban Outfitters sheets.



My mom created toy bins in the seats by sewing canvas bags and velcro-ing them around the top so they can be removed and cleaned.


The cockpit was made by my husband (the door behind it hides the sump pump, so we don’t need to access it).



Expedit shelving and Sophie the Giraffe should be issued upon a child’s birth alongside those blue and pink striped newborn blankets. The shelvingand bins are Ikea; the couch is re-purposed from my parents house. The art along the back is homemade — a spaceman collage, ferris wheel and gumball light. The play table and rug are from the Land of Nod outlet in Naperville.


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My husband had to make a door out of knotty pine so we could keep the kids out of the unfinished part of the basement. The result is here, complete with cat door.



And there you have it! A basement play room for some sweat equity and a whole lotta white paint.

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