basement progress | removing & rearranging

by | Jul 8, 2021 | All Things Home, Decorating, Family Room, Room Makeovers | 20 comments

Progress in the basement is slow and steady, which is becoming the norm for me when it comes to large projects.  I’ve learned the power of chipping away at something instead of tackling it all in one shot.  It removes so much of the overwhelm and it forces me to be more methodical with each step.  Instead of pushing through to get something done, I can take slow and careful steps, reassessing all along the way.  While it drags the project out, it does so in a way that is beneficial and I think the end result will be better for it.  I will say, though, it is against my nature.  I’m generally impatient and just want to check it off the list.  But, I’m getting a little older, a little wiser, and definitely a little slower!

In the basement, we’ve been putting in about 30-60 minutes of work each day this week and we’ve already made some substantial progress.  We removed the climbing wall and vertical blinds and we rearranged.  All of the exercise gear is now in the former playroom and I’ll show you that in a minute.  We also moved the bulky recliner into the guest room.  We have a pretty roomy corner for it and figured it might be a nice quiet place for guests to relax and read a book.  The important thing is that it’s down there for when/if someone needs it after a surgery or because of an injury.  That’s why we bought it initially, so even though we don’t have a great spot for it, we wanted to find a place to keep it just in case.

Here’s how the area behind the sofa was looking before we started work this week…

basement family room makeover progress | miss mustard seed

And here is how it looks now…

basement family room makeover progress | miss mustard seed

The interesting thing about this arrangement is it was quite accidental!  We moved the rocking wing chairs out of the playroom in order to just find a place for them or decide if we wanted to sell them.  The wing chair was displaced by the recliner and was also put in this area until it found a new home.  When I stood back and looked at the chairs, I realized that could be a great option for this area.  While I envisioned a rectangular table here, I realized that four wing chairs around a round table could be very comfortable and create an inviting spot for cards, games, puzzles, and reading.  I happen to have a twin to the slipcovered wing chair in my office.

I couldn’t find a great inspiration picture, but it brought to mind the library in The Retreat, a house owned by Suzanne of The Lucketts Store.

wing chair around a round table | basement family room inspiration | miss mustard seed

Here’s a super professional mock-up I drew with my finger on my iPhone so you can see exactly what I’m imagining…

basement family room makeover process | miss mustard seed

So, against the wall between the sliding door and the window is an empire dresser that’s been hanging out in my garage for a while.  (As a side note, can you believe I couldn’t sell it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for $50?  It may be a fortunate thing since I now have a spot for it.)  I would hang a large piece of art over it to hide the surround sound speakers (which aren’t hooked up.  The dresser could hold puzzles and games.  I think a cabinet or hutch might provide better storage, but the dresser is what I have, so I’ll use it for now.

I also meticulously drew out the checked curtains I bought, the wooden rod, and a light that we could connect to the ceiling outlet and swag over the table.  (We removed the track light and put it in the former playroom to replace the light that hung too low.)

I would obviously slipcover the other two chairs so they all “match.”  I’m going to live with this little arrangement for a while to see how it feels, but I really like it so far.  If that’s the route we decide to go, I’ll get an antique round pedestal table and we’ll adjust the height if we need to.  The downside to using wing chairs with a table is that they are often not quite the right height, but that’s an easy remedy.

I also played around with other displaced pieces…

basement family room makeover progress | miss mustard seed

It would be nice to have a couple of extra chairs to pull up to the table.  This little dry sink belonged to my Opa.  While I don’t feel like I have to keep it, it is a piece I’d like to use if I can.  I would paint it and the top needs some attention.  The original top flew off when my dad was transporting it in his truck!  We found a replacement pine top and cut it to size, but we need to round over the edges and attached it to the back.

I need to patch the walls and install the chair rail and then I’m ready to paint in there!  I can’t wait to see the color up on the wall.

I’m looking forward to making this family room feel more like my style, but I’m just as excited about this exercise room!

basement makeover progress | miss mustard seed

It’s not pretty, but it is such a functional space.  Yesterday, Jeff and I moved the track light from the family room and replaced the low-hanging light, which was meant to hang over a game table.  It was so low that I even had to duck under it.  I can’t believe we waited almost four years to change it out.  And it only took about 10 minutes.  I’m not in love with the track light, but it was free and it lights the room well.

We also got our old Apple TV hooked up so I can AirPlay my workout classes to the TV.   I’ve been using the TV in the family room, but the space isn’t great for really moving around.  The new exercise room is perfect and I’ll use it almost every day.

I ordered some new heavy-duty mirror clips and we’ll hang that duct-taped monstrosity in the next few days.  That’s the mirror that was removed from our bathroom and they are notoriously difficult to get rid of.  I wouldn’t have bought a mirror for the exercise room, but since we have one, it’s a good place to make good use of it.  It is nice (and smart) to check your form when you’re lifting.

I bought a pack of flexible hooks for the yoga mats and bands and hung those this morning…

basement family room makeover progress | miss mustard seed

If I have enough paint leftover from the family room, I’ll paint this room in the same color and add a chair rail as well; maybe even some picture frame molding.  I also need to patch holes and hang some of the pictures from the storage room.

It’s all coming along.  One step at a time…


  1. Victoria

    I spent a while figuring out why you were hanging an ant in the basement ?

    • Julie N

      I thought the same thing at first! 🙂

    • April Sears

      Me too! I guess it takes me awhile to get my brain in gear in the morning. ?

  2. Lisa P

    Ok, this project is very inspiring! I can see how it will become even more functional and so pretty! I just never (rarely) go downstairs in our house….kind of gave up on it and let the kids run rampant down there. But having a plan to work on bit by bit would help a lot! Thank you for this 🙂

  3. Judeth

    LMBO on the drawings.

  4. elle

    It is so so so nice and very helpful to see these progress pictures and explanations. Thank you!

  5. Fonda

    I’ve seen terrible accidents on treadmills where once the walker falls, they are swept to the end and rubbed raw by the still-moving treadmill. Please don’t let that happen to you or the mister and bring that further away from the wall. I wouldn’t want anything to go awry.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, we have an emergency stop that will stop the treadmill if someone falls off or is back too far.

  6. Julie N

    It’s going to look great! Try hanging those two side chairs on the wall – one above the other? Some European places do that and it saves on floor space and makes a great ‘statement’.

  7. Amy

    Oh, what an inviting space! We need to completely redo our basement but it overwhelms me right now! Taking 30 minutes a day and chipping away at it, bit by bit is prudent. Well done!

  8. Jean

    Marian – It is going to be amazing! I’m so jealous of anyone with a basement / lower level. Here in SE Virginia the water table is so high there are no basements. Hence, there are a proliferation of storage unit centers. And few people put their cars in the garage as they become storage and workout rooms.

  9. Cheri Dietzman

    I can’t believe you could t sell that empire dresser!!! I’ve thought about it a few times this past year —it’s a great piece and will look fabulous in the downstairs!

  10. leila

    You have another one of those units with all the drawers down there too? Where do you find them?

  11. Mary S

    Whew!! I’m exhausted watching you. Making progress tho. I like to go great guns blazing and do it all in a few days. Your process makes so much more sense. And giving it a lot of thought. Looking forward to seeing the finished project.

  12. Crystal Brown

    I’m so jealous! First, you have a basement, no basements here in my part of Florida, and you also have a separate space for a work out room! Heaven!!! Just a tip for anyone who has a monster mirror, we took ours to a glass company and had it cut in thirds for very little money. My hubs framed two of them to use as our individual mirrors over our separate vanities and we gave one piece away. They still look good 25 years later. You can have that mirror cut in as many pieces as you need if it doesn’t work as a large mirror in your space. Frankly, I wouldn’t want a large mirror to see myself working out, I don’t want to be reminded how much I NEED to work out 🙂

  13. Rebecca

    I missed the title of the book you showed in a recent Instagram post with a quotation about color being something you could learn about like you can learn about music—that’s my rough recollection of it. I missed taking note of it because I was traveling, attending a wedding, and to be honest, hoping I could retrieve it at a later date. I would very much appreciate it if you could share the source of the quotation. Doing so would add to the many wonderful things I have already taken from your blog. Happy Trails.

      • Rebecca

        Thank you for sharing!

  14. Kate

    Something you might want to think about instead of the empire dresser for storage. I bought an antique child’s chiffarobe/armoire and stored our games and puzzles in it. The long (hanging) space was a great place to stack the game boxes and the bottom drawer was good for puzzles or card games. I also had one for my son’s playmobil stuff (different configuration – a long closet on one side, drawers on the other half.

    You are lucky to have a finished basement. I love our 102-year-old house, but the basement is very basic and rustic. My treadmill is is along side the deep freezer and the washer and dryer. Since the house was built before indoor plumbing and central heating, the added pipes and duct work, make the headroom lower. It’s not as “creepy” as some old basements, but it’s not a hang out place either.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I actually love the idea of having a hutch, cabinet, or small wardrobe there. I think it will provide better storage. But, the dresser is what I have for now until I find something better.


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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