The Homeowners: Cynthia Shipman and Brian Green.
The Dilemma: Brian and Cynthia's new house had a basement with a built-in bar. Normally, this would've made it the perfect lounge for entertaining -- except the space was terribly outdated and dreary looking. The walls featured unfinished wainscoting and a decorative border that resembled peeling wallpaper. Behind the bar, packed wooden shelves made the space look messy. The shelves also didn't make sense, considering the bar itself contained plenty of underutilized storage. An overstuffed couch dominated the floorspace, while wide-backed barstools were both unstable and unattractive.
The Fix: The first order of business was to tackle the walls. Normally, wainscotting goes in more formal rooms--but after trying to remove the panels and finding no backing wall, the makeover had to take a different approach. The easiest course of action? A fresh coat of white paint, which helped make the wainscoting feel more casual, while brightening up the dark room. Then, after peeling away the wallpaper border, the upper walls were updated with chalkboard paint. And while chalkboard paint might seem unusual for a basement, it reflected the fun vibe that Cynthia and Brian wanted to have in the space. After all, it's a space used primarily for entertaining, relaxing and having a good time.
Next, the wooden wall shelves behind the bar were taken down and replaced with sculptural acoustic tiles, which were painted a soft gray for a more decorative feel. This completely transforms the look of the room, functioning both as art and as a way to improve the sound quality of the wall-mounted TV. The geometric pattern also made the vintage touches in the room feel more up-to-date.
Once those major updates were done, all that was left was to furnish and rearrange the space. The arcade games were relocated to a corner, where they wouldn't impede traffic flow. The large couch was moved into another room, and replaced with modular seating. The new armchairs and slipper chairs can be arranged into many configurations, based on Cynthia and Brian's entertaining needs. At the bar, the rickety old chairs were swapped for bistro-style bar stools.
To further optimize the space, a nook by the bar (previously used for a second table and stools) was turned into a buffet area with a stylish console. Its drawers has plenty of space for storing any extra entertaining must-haves. And speaking of bar accessories, a few fancy glasses, a classic cocktail shaker and some silver trays added grown-up flair that completed this modern basement update.
Click on items in the images below and scroll through the product rails to find some of the pieces used in the makeover.
BEFORE YOU GO