The Basement Dilemma


With two young kids—Lucas, age 4, and Natalie, 18 months—Sheila and Dave were looking to use every room their home had to offer. But how could they transform their cold Midwestern basement into an inviting family gathering place? The couple reached out to Roomations to unlock the potential of the room and tackle a common design dilemma.

Sheila and Dave planned to use their new and improved basement for relaxing with friends and family, playing with the kids and watching TV. The room is a spacious 17 x 22 feet and already had carpeting, drywall and recessed overhead lighting. It also benefits from two full-size windows – a big luxury for a basement! Sheila and Dave’s basement furnishings were limited but included a number of items they were looking to keep as part of the new décor, including a burgundy sofa set. The couple was considering adding a wet bar in a corner of the room that already had roughed-in plumbing and also wanted advice on whether a pool table would fit in the room. Sheila and Dave had set a budget of $1,000 for improvements, excluding the cost of the wet bar, pool table and a new flat screen TV.

Sheila and Dave's existing basement.

Using the Roomations Style Questionnaire, Sheila and Dave identified their preferences for natural colors, varying wood tones and “a cozy and warm, kid-friendly, Pier I style with a little touch of comfortable lodge feel.” After uploading pictures of their existing room and furniture, the couple was matched with a freelancing designer who graduated from Michigan State University’s acclaimed interior design program and currently works at a design firm in Lansing, Michigan. “My goal was to give Sheila and Dave two distinct spaces within their basement while keeping the area cohesive and interactive,” she says. “The color scheme was based off of existing furniture so I kept a lot of the new product palette in the neutral range.”

Sheila and Dave received a photo-realistic image of what their basement would look like with the recommended design. The pool table fit but it was tight. “I asked my friends what they thought,” Sheila says. “I had some of my girlfriends at work huddle around my computer and look at it and tell me what they thought.” Dave and Sheila ultimately decided not to put a pool table in the basement and had their designer update the room vision to reflection the change. 

Design vision for a warm, inviting gathering space.


As a final step, Dave and Sheila received a shopping list identifying the design’s paint, furniture and accessory products by name, product number and retailer. The couple felt that the shopping list was the exclamation mark to their design experience. “The shopping list identified products at practical places we wanted to shop at,” Sheila says. “I really loved that!” Retailers included IKEA, Pottery Barn, Target, Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot and Pier 1. The grand total for all 16 new items on the list was $1386.15, in line with the couple’s spending expectations. Just a week after receiving the shopping list Sheila reported “We’re waiting on purchasing the table and bar stools. Everything else, we’ve already ordered!” Sheila and Dave plan to install the wet bar in the next few months at which time they’ll add the high-top table and stools to their new warm and comfortable gathering room.

An excerpt from Sheila and Dave's Shopping List.

This post was written by Katie.

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