Before and After: A Drab Basement Corner Becomes a Music Lover’s Retreat

published Apr 27, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Living Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: White basement with gray carpeting and little decor

White walls have a lot of fans, and for good reason: In the right setting, they can make a space feel brighter, bigger, and timeless. But sometimes white walls just aren’t quite right, as Brianna Thomas (@bloomintheblack) found at her home. When she and her family first moved in, Brianna wasn’t sure exactly how she wanted to decorate her basement, so she had it painted white.

“Big mistake!” Brianna says. “The white walls felt so cold and boring in that lower-level space. But it’s huge and we were out of budget at that point so it sat there, sterile, for the last two years.”

Brianna knew she wanted to add some color but wasn’t sure how to lay out this nook so, she says, “I left it basically empty.”

Once the family — like so many others — started spending way more time at home last year, though, Brianna’s husband Matt picked up his music hobby once again. “It finally became clear that this space needed to become a music room,” Brianna says.

The realization gave Brianna some direction in styling the hangout space. She knew she needed plenty of guitar storage — “I swear, they breed overnight,” she jokes — so she set aside the side wall as the main storage/display space. She chose a deep cranberry red paint (Clark and Kensington’s California Cabernet) for the backdrop. “A deep red seemed fitting for a rock-and-roll sort of space,” Brianna says.

Just painting all the walls red felt a little flat to Brianna, so she decided to add a wood accent wall for some natural texture. Timberchic peel-and-stick wood planks gave her the look — natural material and all — without having to reach for a nail gun. “I love how the wood pulls through the wood of the guitars,” Brianna says.

Finally, Brianna added some seating in the form of cozy matching chairs and a wire-frame coffee table. Since she had those on hand already, she only needed to purchase paint, wood panels, and guitar storage — bringing her total to $1,300. “I do eventually want to add a shallow console along the main guitar wall to hold books and games,” Brianna says — but for right now, the new space is a vast improvement over the old. Now, it has a sense of purpose, and a cozy vibe to go with it.

“I just love how much it warms up the space!” Brianna says. And now, the basement gets lots more use: “Matt finally has easy access to all of his guitars and he plays more than ever.”

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