Over the last few weeks, you’ve seen me meander through decisions about my basement family room makeover. And, let me say, I am so glad I have given myself the freedom to change course and switch directions, I believe that freedom – that relaxed, unhurried approach, will end up making for a better room. Not that my initial plan was bad, but I needed to shift gears based on the materials I was able to source and what felt right in the room as changes started to be made.
As a reminder, this was the plan at the beginning…
And here is where we are now…
The first photo was the inspiration. It was theory. The second photo is the reality. It’s fabric I have in hand that is the right texture, color, and feels right for the room and the direction I’m heading.
The best part is that these accent/pillow fabrics are ones I already have in my stash.
Let me take you a few steps back, so we can connect point A with point B. My hope is that following this process, one that isn’t a clear, straight path, will help you when it comes to designing your own room.
My approach to this has been identifying the non-negotiables (the color of the built-in cabinets, the sofa, the rug, and now the wall color) and then allow myself plenty of latitude when it comes to all of the other decisions. I don’t just want to find something that works, I want to find something I love that will support my vision and the non-negotiables in the room. This can be much harder than working on a room entirely from scratch, without any non-negotiables, but most of us aren’t working from scratch. We’re working within some parameters and we don’t want (or need) to replace everything. It definitely takes a bit more patience, but it forces you to be intentional and creative. Those are two elements that make for a great room.
I knew I loved the wall color, Oval Room Blue. It is a beautiful, rich complement to the built-ins, but I wasn’t feeling the light beige and cream checked curtains I had selected. They just felt too light in color for the cozy, gentlemen’s lounge library soft of vibe I was imagining for this room. I tend to sway a little more feminine in my designs, so I have to keep checking myself to make sure I’m selecting something that feels a little more masculine or at least neutral. I wanted to go a little darker and richer and I was hoping to find a fabric that tied the wall color and built-ins together so that everything looked intentional as if it was all selected ahead of time.
I ordered a bunch of samples (above), but I also ordered three yards of fabric that I thought might at least make good pillows if not curtains. I had a good feeling about it and I couldn’t order a sample. When the fabric arrived, I knew almost instantly that it was the winner.
I hung it up from one of the built-in cabinet doors to get a good visual and it was perfect. It has almost the exact shade of blue on the walls and a brown that ties into the built-ins. I also like that it has a tapestry/European vibe.
But, I couldn’t get too excited, yet. I had to make sure it would work with the gray sectional and the rug. I loved it. Typically, I’ll wait a day or two before I order a ton of yardage for a project because I want to make sure I’m certain. I want to watch the colors in the light during different times of the day. But, I didn’t need more time with this one. I needed to order it quickly while there was still enough yardage available. I was certain that several people at that same instant had decided to use this fabric in their room and the race was on! Not really, but I did want to make sure I could order the fabric I needed – enough for four curtain panels and some pillows.
The fabric is P Kaufmann’s Into the Woods and I am so excited about it! I am going to make some simple full-length panels (like THESE), which will add some great color, texture, and height to the window and sliding door. I have dark wood curtain rods and rings to hang them from and will use inexpensive dark blue twin sheets as lining. (The back of the fabric is white, so it needs a liner.
Over the weekend, I painted the rest of the walls in Oval Room Blue and it looks so good. I absolutely love this color and I am sold on Farrow & Ball paint. (I am going to share a whole post about the paint, using the primer, the different finishes, etc.) The boys also helped me rearrange the furniture over the weekend. It’s a subtle change, but we turned the rug and pushed the sectional up so that it is a little closer to the TV and a bit more centered on the window. It just feels so much better and I wonder why I didn’t do it years ago!
Turning the rug makes this side of the room feel more cohesive and like one intentional space. It also leaves more space for the other side of the room to feel more like its own separate area. Ideally, the rug would be 10 x 12 instead of 8 x 10, but it’s fine.
After living with the wing chairs in a sort-of circle for a few weeks, we really like the idea of having a round table for games and puzzles surrounding by comfy wing chairs (that we already have.) We moved the empire dresser to fill the wall between the window and sliding doors. I sort of imagine a wardrobe or hutch there to add height and provide more storage, but I haven’t found anything that is perfect for it, yet. I also haven’t found a table, but there is a potential one on Facebook Marketplace that I’ve inquired about. I am going to Gold Rush Days in a few weeks (it’s a huge antique market in my area) and I’m hopeful I’ll find things I need & want for this room there if I don’t find them sooner.
Just imagine a tall, stately hutch, cupboard, or wardrobe in that spot with full-length curtain panels on either side…
In addition to deciding on the main fabric for the room, I have decided I am going to paint out all of the trim and doors in the basement in Oval Room Blue. The stairs, too. We’re going Oval Room Blue all the way.
If you can’t quite picture it, here is an example of the trim and doors painted in Oval Room Blue…
And here is a picture of stairs painted in Oval Room Blue (although I’m painting my banister and newel post as well and I’m not installing a runner.)
I don’t think it’s right for every room, but for a basement with a European/Library sort of feel? Yep, that works. I am going to install a chair rail and maybe do some picture frame molding if I feel like it would make a big difference. There are some wonky walls and angles I’d have to work around, but I can always add that once I’m done with everything else.
I think it will really help with making all of these disjointed finishes and elements look cohesive.
And, I have a fun (and free) idea I’m going to try for the chandelier in here. It’s a little crazy, but I think it’s going to be fabulous and it will make me so happy. Just wait…
Next on the to-do list is to paint the fireplace, trim, and doors. Then, I need to strip the carpet off the stairs, patch & paint the stairs, sew & hang the curtains, make slipcovers for two of the wing chairs, make covers for the poufs, sew pillows, refinish/paint the coffee table, and restyle the built-ins. I’m also planning to try painting the hardware instead of replacing all of it. I’ll likely replace the handles, but I’m hoping I can just paint the knobs to make them look like brass and save a lot of money!
Annnnnd, I want to do some really cool things with the art in this room. I’m planning to paint some studies of old-world art (a portrait or two and a landscape) and I’d love to even find a deer head! Jeff was shocked when I told him that, but I think it would be perfect for this room.
I’m having so much fun with this space if you can’t tell! It’s stretching me but in a good way.