Ideas for Badly Needed Budget Basement Apartment Redo?

Good Questions

Q: Our basement apartment was never really all that appealing. It absolutely reeks of the seventies, and in such a way that we couldn't really update without doing some major teardown. Independence Day broke it for us, though. We had a major, major flood, and had to tear out all of the carpeting, which my husband maintains was the best thing that ever happened to this place.

I think we've decided what to do with the floor, but we're going to use it as the launching point for the rest of the (low budget) renovation that desperately needs to be done. We'll be painting the floor a dark, slate grey and stenciling a lace pattern in a light grey or white over top of it, instead of putting more carpet in and risking having to tear it out again.

But from there? I really am overwhelmed. The totally unusable fireplace absolutely dominates the room, and the heater (our only source of heat in the winter, ye gods) doesn't fit in the fireplace. Fixing the fireplace will cost approximately six thousand dollars, according to the estimate I got last fall. There is ONE OUTLET in the whole room, so the paneling will be coming down so some rewiring can be done. Thank Glob, the horrible seventies mountain print will be disappearing when we finally accomplish that, and yes, we covered it up with a horrible shower curtain, because it really is that bad. And yes, we have wall hangings on our walls that remind me of my teenage years… but it was so dark in here that it was really a relief, and we'd been told that painting the paneling would be a nonstarter, which it no longer is.

THERE IS A SKY with recessed? reflective? lighting. The lights aren't as overwhelming as they seem in this picture, but it's still blue.

Needless to say, I'm glad the floor will be taken care of. I'm not sure what we'll be doing with the wall. I guess the biggest thing I'm hoping for from this amazing community are some ideas to go along with this project over the next couple of months, suggestions of things that are fixable. I realized as I was writing this that I might be able to paint the ceiling a cream color instead of a horrible, faded, yellowed blue, and I would love some other color suggestions for the rest of the room. I'm not going to be able to get rid of all of the dark, dark brown wood paneling, no matter how much I want to, for instance, and the nonfunctional fireplace is going to continue to dominate our living room and remove the use of an entire wall. We were thinking about painting one or two of the walls a burgundy or a cranberry color, but I realized today that it might clash with our "sky." And I still have a teensy tinsy budget.

Anyway.

Help. Please. SOS.

Sent by Amanda

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