Decorating & Design

November 26, 2008

Basement on a Budget

Q. In our basement, we currently have wood panelling on two of the four walls. The other two are covered in wallpaper, which I don’t mind. The carpet is green and unfortunately underneath is only sub-flooring. How can I affordably update this room?

— T.H., Pickering, Ont.

A. Since you told us that you’d like to keep this project around $1,000, we found some solutions that will work within your budget to help update your finished basement space. The great part is that most of these items can be ordered online, too.

The wood panelling makes your basement space appear dark and dated. Painting the panelling white will really help brighten up the room and take away any trace of the ’70s rec room vibe — and at a low cost. Look for a paint that matches the wallpaper’s background colour.

Since replacing the green carpet with new flooring would be too costly, consider purchasing a large area rug with a neutral background to cover as much of the old carpet as possible. A wool/cotton blend or synthetic rug should fit within your budget. You also told us that you have modern taste, so look for a rug with a graphic pattern that has some dark green in it (since your rug underneath will likely still show around the edges of the room).

Think about replacing the black futon cover with one in a light neutral fabric. Add a couple of coordinating throw cushions for added texture and colour. Either paint your red side table black or move it to another room; also consider having a new cover made for your orange ottoman in a colour pulled from the new area rug.

Add storage to your corner workspace with an affordable shelving unit. Place a couple of large woven storage baskets on the bottom shelves for tucking away throw blankets, games or toys when not in use.

Replace your dark green vinyl mini-blinds with woven bamboo blinds that will add warmth and texture to the room. Or you could make crisp roman shades in a patterned cotton fabric that incorporates the colour of your new futon cover. Remove the round folding chair in the corner and replace it with an upholstered armchair in a neutral colour.

The picture hanging above the futon is too small for that space — hang a large framed print there instead. Finally, inject some ambiance into the space with a floor lamp.