family room makeover | plans & inspiration

by | May 17, 2021 | Decorating, Family Room, My House, Room Makeovers | 19 comments

Well, it’s time!  This summer is the summer I’m going to start working on the basement family room.  Well, we’re going to do some work on all the basement, including the playroom and the bathroom.  I’m also going to get the storage areas truly purged and organized.  I’ve organized them and tidied up, but I haven’t gone through everything in detail and it’s time.  It’s tricky when you move because you don’t want to get rid of things you “might use” until it feels like you’re done with the house.  But, there is plenty I can get rid of.  We also want to move our fitness equipment into the playroom, since the boys are getting older and rarely play in there anymore.  It’s time to pass the toys along and make better use of the space.

The main goal in the basement family room is to make it feel like it’s truly a part of our home, that is, to put my personal stamp on it.  Of course, the men in the house are totally happy with it as is, but it feels a little foreign to me.  I’d like to make it feel more like my style while allowing it to be what it is – a place to hang out.  This room needs to be comfortable, functional and welcoming, specifically for the boys and their friends.

suburban basement family room makeover before | miss mustard seed

Here are the highlights of the room as it is now…

  • For a room that’s in the basement, it has great light!  It has a large south-facing window and a sliding door that leads out to the patio.  Last summer, we got plantation shutters for the windows to replace the faux wood blinds.
  • The room is a good size and has nice features, like the built-in, a fireplace, and a wet bar.  The previous owners did a wonderful job finishing the basement and making it a great, useable space.
  • I know big sectionals aren’t always the prettiest things, but we love this sectional!  Our entire family can and does pile on it to watch movies and TV together.  The boys have had many sleepovers on that sectional.  It’s very functional.  The fabric is a nice, neutral gray and the style is traditional, so it works well for this room.


suburban basement family room makeover before | miss mustard seed

These are the things I want to change and address…

  • I don’t use the word hate very often, but I really hate vertical blinds.  I am going to take them down and replace them with black-out curtains.  (You can see a peek of them in the far right of the picture below.)
  • We are going to move the treadmill, which is behind the sectional, and workout gear into the playroom.  That way, the space behind the sofa can accommodate a table for games, puzzles, etc.
  • I want to tie a bunch of mismatched furniture together through fabric and paint.  I am going to settle on a paint color for the walls first and then work on the fabrics, which is usually the opposite of how I do it, but I feel like the wall color is very important in this space and I want to get that right!
  • In addition to painting the walls, I’d like to add some trim work to them to give the space a little more architectural interest.
  • Jeff is pretty adamant about leaving the built-ins alone, so I need to find a paint color that will enhance them and not compete.  I will change out the hardware, though, and will give them some styling attention.  I *might* be allowed to paint the fireplace, but I will definitely paint the surrounding granite.

suburban basement family room makeover before | miss mustard seed

I also want to give this wet bar a makeover, so it feels more like me, and will paint the banister since that is sort of the only light-colored wood in the room.  I am not 100% sure what I’m going to do with the wet bar, but I will paint it at the very least and probably remove the glass doors, similar to what I did with our butler’s pantry.

suburban basement family room wet bar makeover before | miss mustard seed

Definitely paint, paint, and more paint here…

suburban basement family room makeover before | miss mustard seed

I know that color is going to be so important to set the tone of this room.  The vibe I’m going for is a European library/gentleman’s club sort of feel.  Does that make sense?  Think moody, eclectic, yet traditional and classic.

When I looked around for inspiration, I kept finding rooms painted in Farrow & Ball colors.  Maria of Dreamy Whites is a brand new Farrow & Ball retailer, so I thought it was a good time to finally try their paints.  Here are the colors I’m considering…

farrow & ball paint samples | miss mustard seed

From left to right – Blue Gray No. 91, Pigeon No, 23, and Oval Room Blue No. 85.  To help me select the colors, I actually have a design book by Farrow & Ball that I could reference to see the colors used in several different spaces.

farrow & ball recipes for decorating book | miss mustard seed

You can buy this book HERE.

For example, Pigeon can look a little green on the paint swatch, but it is a beautiful blue-gray.  Isn’t it so lovely on this door and trim below?

door & trim painted in farrow & ball pigeon | miss mustard seed

And I really love it on this millwork…

Living room painted in Farrow & Ball Pigeon | miss mustard seed

Oval Room Blue is the brightest of the bunch, but I think it could look striking against the built-ins and white trim.

Dining room painted in Oval Room Blue | farrow & ball | miss mustard seed

And Blue Gray, which is a pretty straightforward and self-explanatory name, but it’s nice to see it in the context of a room.

Stairway painted in Farrow & Ball Blue Gray | miss mustard seed

I have ordered some sample pots so I can paint them out on the wall and watch how they look in the light of the family room and against the wood of the built-ins.  It is going to be a lot of fun to finally give the basement some more attention!

I’ll share more details of the process soon – we’ll assess the sample swatches together, look at coordinating fabrics, and I’ll do a video tour of the space so you have a better idea of what I’m working with!

You can show the full Farrow & Ball line on the Dreamy Whites website starting at $8.00 for sample sizes.

PS – the guest room is also in the basement and you can see that makeover HERE.


  1. Kim

    Looks like a wonderful summer project! It would be hard to choose the colors, and yes, it will depend on the lighting. I think that the brown cabinets will look great with the right wall color.

  2. Janet in Kansas City

    For the vibe you’re going for (gentlemen’s club) I think the darkest green would be great, but that may not work with your sectional. It will be beautiful whatever you decide. That I know for sure.

  3. Connie

    Beautiful choices! Do you follow @patrick_o’donnel_fb on IG? (May be double l’s on his last name). He is the paint ambassador for Farrow & Ball and always has the best stories highlighting colors & how to use them with their other color combinations, both new & retired colors – not that you need any help on colors but many of us do! Anyway, his IG account is very interesting & helpful! Whatever direction you go, I know it will look wonderful & I can’t wait to follow along.

  4. Betty Bashaw

    I love that you are working with the men in your house to create a space that they use often. And, of course, introducing your style and taste will just make it better! They’ll love it when you are finished, I am sure. Have fun!

  5. Rebecca

    Just in case it might help, I have used both of the green colors and both look amazing with that tone of wood and gray upholstery on furniture. Don’t know how it works, but it does. The darker shade is my preferred to work with of the two, but the lighter also looks nice. Of course the blue looks great with that wood color too. So, you get a win win whatever you choose. Yay! Summer at your house is going to be so much fun!

  6. Amelia Green

    Are you ever going to paint or change the exterior siding of your house?

    • Marian Parsons

      You know, I would love to, but it’s a big project that won’t be cheap and the siding we currently have doesn’t need to be replaced. I would love a different color and there is a little bit of warping where it gets the most sun, but it’s not enough to put it to the top of the priority list.

  7. Julia

    I use Farrow & Ball all the time, it helps that I’m just 25 minutes from their factory in Wimborne. The paint has a great reflective quality there’s nothing quite like it. The outside of my house is French Grey, the house is painted inside with Joa’s White, Wimborne White, Pointing, Elephants Breath, I’ve even had the outside of the studio painted in Cromity and my booth at the antiques centre is painted in Savage Ground. I love the fact that even if the colours been archived you can still get it mixed. Love the paint and the Modern Emulsion and Satinwood are great, hardwearing and washable.

  8. Patricia W Mirza

    I can’t WAIT to see what you will be doing and love that you’re keeping us posted and sharing your ideas. Thank you, Marian!

  9. Darcy

    Your wood might be a touch dark for Treron by F&B, but it’s such a manly (but still light!) color that looks gorgeous with cognac and whites. 🙂

  10. Arlene

    Oh, this is going to be fun to watch!

    • Lisa Proctor

      Someone above mentioned Patrick O’Donnell’s Farrow & Ball IG page. When I looked at it I found a photo of room with lovely blue/green wall and big cabinet that reminded me of the built ins in your rec room. Had the european/gentlemen vibe you mentioned. Something to look at maybe.

  11. Patricia Kasparian

    I’m looking forward to this makeover! It really doesn’t appear to be a basement from the photos…it’s not dark or even gloomy like many are.

  12. Julie N.

    Can’t wait to see your transformation! I have a question: Where did you get your area rug?

  13. Cheryl

    Marion, I love the colors you have picked out for the paint in this room! I know you will make this room as lovely as all the other rooms in your home! Just gorgeous!!

  14. JaneS

    Jeff, let her paint the cabinets!! The rest of the house is so lovely, let the basement join the party!

  15. Victoria

    I would be very interested to see how you pick a color to enhance something you don’t like! I am currently trying to do that in one of my bathrooms. It has cream colored tile, and cream colored (almost tan) toilet, tub, and sink. All of it is in great condition, but just not my style, so I know how you feel! But it is the most used bathroom and I want to make it feel like ME and like it has been updated and still looks nice. It can be a tall order for sure!

  16. Jayne

    I love the Farrow and Ball colours, can’t wait to see which colour you choose for your family room!

  17. Stéphanie

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE oval room. I think it would be perfect for 3 gentlemen and a talented lady !


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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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