One Room Challenge

Before and After: A Stuck-in-the-’70s Basement Transforms into a Bright, Inviting Play Space

published Aug 20, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Children's Room & Nursery
Organic Modern
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Basement with green wall and broken window

Ahh, 1970s basements. If your mind immediately goes to Kelso, Jackie, Donna, Fez, Eric, and Hyde’s “That ’70s Show” hangout space, you’re not far off when it comes to what Becca Buchfink’s (@raisingourbuchfinks) family’s basement looked like, pre-renovation.

“We had florescent orange and sage green paneling and a paper tile ceiling that was falling down,” Becca describes.

The window in the back corner was broken, and there was an old bulky fireplace surround in the corner. “This space has always been on the back burner, but with three kids under the age of three, we needed a space and fun area for them to explore and grow,” Becca says.

She and her husband, Sean, completely transformed their basement during the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge. “We changed it up with cream shiplap for the walls and exposed beams for the ceiling that are a calm and clean whitewashed coloring.”

Becca and Sean worked on weeknights and weekends. The took out the broken window, added insulation and new framing, and replaced old and torn up flooring. They demoed the brown-tiled fireplace surround, a messy two-day endeavor, Becca recalls.

They also built shelving out of materials they already had and installed new light fixtures. “We opted to replace the flush mount lighting with recessed can lights, and it added so much to our space,” Becca says. They also installed two sconces from Home Depot on the wall where the window once was to make up for a bit of lost lighting.

Becca says if she could change one thing about the space, it would be to add large windows, but because it’s a basement, it’s not a possibility.

Instead, the white shiplap walls and freshly painted white ceiling (both in Behr’s Swiss Coffee) do a lot to brighten the space. The neutral color scheme for the decor (like the Target benches and landscape artwork, play cushions, and wooden toys) also keeps things light and airy.

“We love everything about our renovations,” Becca says. “We got everything we set out to do accomplished.”

Plus, her kids love it, too! Becca wrote on Instagram that her kids are now excited to go to the basement. “Our kids can now safely play in a space designed 100% with them in mind!” she says.

This project was completed for the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.