Colorful Basement Family Room: House Peeping #2 (Room Tour)

Hello, my friends, and welcome to my second edition of House Peeping where I’ll give you a little your of my very own basement family room renovation!  (Here’s the first, in case you missed it: My Sister’s ‘Tuscan’ style home in Nova Scotia).  I haven’t shown you much of our basement since last summer when we finally finished the renovations. (You can see that original post here: Our Basement Reno).

That’s because it typically looks like a toy bomb went off down there!   And in case you don’t believe me, I’ve included proof (see right)! If you have small kids, I’m sure you get it.

As well, I am still terrible at taking photos in low natural light, despite immersing myself in a few tutorials.

I’ve determined that neither of these limitations is going to change any time soon – hey, what can I say, I’m a realist. So if you can ignore them like I’ve chosen to, then I thought I’d share a bit of the space where I spend most of my time with our kiddies.

It’s still a work-in-progress, but it finally feels like the space is coming together.  I wanted the basement to be a bright and cheerful space that our kids would love to spend *LOTS* of time in.  That means that things stay more tidy upstairs, not that I had selfish motives or anything ;-).

So I kept the style of the basement very whimsical and playful, starting with the stairway.  I posted about this alphabet stairway wall awhile back, which includes each of our initials. If you want to learn more, you can find that post here: Our Alphabet-Inspired Basement Stairway.

When you reach the bottom of the stairs, this is the typical scene.  Anybody who has had a 2-year old boy will know it well!  What is it with toddler boys and Thomas the Train, anyway?

Even though the boys have a large playroom in another area of the basement, the busiest room on this floor is our TV Room.  Big surprise there!

This is where they should be playing…

But, alas, this is where  they, and their toys, always hang out.  I fought it for awhile; then, I just gave in.  I find that’s always the ways things work around here!

At the other end of the room, I’ve been working on putting together this little craft area for them.

Our nearly-8-year-old daughter loves art.  So, having easy access to her supplies was important to her.  This wall storage system from IKEA is a great solution because it keeps her coloring leads and markers within her reach, but out of our two-year old boys’ hands.

I usually cover the table with a long piece of paper (from a paper roll) so that the boys can sit with their big sis while she’s drawing.  They have a ball coloring on the paper with their crayons .  It’s always fun to see what everybody’s contributed at the end of the week!  Sometimes Mommy even gets in on the action.  Hey, there’s nothing like a little crayon therapy!

I painted a lot of our older wood pieces white for the space, including this bookcase.

Having white furniture, as well as the white beadboard, really helps to brighten the space.

The only piece that I’ve been hesitating to paint white is this old wooden trunk that we found at an auction years ago.    The boys use it as a race track for their dinkies, lol.  I’m not sure why, but there’s something that’s holding me back from putting on that first lick of paint.  What do you think?  Paint it or not?

The colorful cushions all came from Pier One last year.  They make the space feel happy.

This fun art came from Studio Mela on Etsy.  I’ve talked about that shop here before.  I love , love, love it.  In fact, I just ordered a new print the other day. It’s also where  you can buy the popular “Happier than a bird with a french fry” art that’s on my stairway wall.

 I’m a big fan of using mirrors in decorating.  Its a great way to reflect light and make a space feel larger.

I intentionally minimized the number of breakable accessories in the room, but I did manage to add a bowl of colorful orbs on the mantel – high enough that six little hands can’t reach it!

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Post-script – May 2012: This room was recently featured at Apartment Therapy Family!

If you’re wondering where some of the things in the room came from, I’ve listed some sources below.

Until next time,

A few room sources, to the best of my recollection ;-):

  • Wall paint colors: Benjamin Moore Ashley Gray & Lyons Red.
  • Door color: Benjamin Moore Arctic Blue.
  • Stairway wall letters: collected over time at Michaels and HomeSense, and then painted.
  • Stairway framed art: ‘Bird with french fry’ from Studio Mela, Etsy; see this post for the others.
  • Craft desk, chairs, wall storage: all from IKEA.
  • Lamps on Craft Table: Better Homes & Gardens line at Walmart.
  • Bright cushions: all from Pier One (2011).
  • Movie Reels: Pier One (then I spray painted them) .
  • Red Lamps:  Debbie Travis, Canadian Tire.
  • Red tufted leather ottoman: Bowring.
  • Wool throw: Winners/HomeSense.
  • White side tables: Winners/HomeSense.
  • Reclaimed wood mirror: Winners/HomeSense.
  • Art above craft table: Studio Mela, Etsy.
  • Bookshelf: Wicker Emporium (I painted it white).
  • Colorful orbs in bowl: Pier One.
  • Wooden trunk: antique / auction find.
  • White Fireplace: LaZyBoy Furniture Gallery.
I shared this post at:
Home Stories A2Z
and at

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


  1. Jill says

    What product names are the IKEA craft desk, storage and chairs? I love your idea and would love to do my kids’ study/play area like yours.

  2. kc says

    I can see the small pics at the top across the home page. But I can’t see any of your pics on the pages. I love your ideas but they only appear as a small long line instead of a full picture. Is there something I need to do to see the pics?

    • says

      I think this might be a browser issue. Do you mind me asking what browser you are using? If you try opening the site in a different one it should work. Let me know if this helps! Thanks, Kerri

  3. Robin says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I don’t have a basement so I am turning my dining room into a hangout room for my 10 year old. I want the room to blend with the other rooms in the house, but provide him a space of his own for his “stuff” and to hang out with friends. I am currently searching for a rug…would you mind sharing where you got the rug you used? Thanks!

  4. says

    Your basement space is beautiful and even better that it is family friendly! Lovely fun colour choices and your little guys are adorable. They grow quickly and soon all the colourful toys will be replaced with sports equipement, etc. so enjoy! I love that trunk but then I love a warm wood piece or two mixed in with painted pieces.

  5. Tanya Ray says

    LOVE your blog and your style of colors, decorating! Do you rememeber the item number from IKEA for the wall storage? I love it!

    • says

      Thanks so much Tanya! I will see if I can dig that IKEA name/sku up for you. It’s been a couple of years since I purchased it, but I think it is part of their kitchen storage line. Hope you’ll come by again soon, ~Kerri

  6. says

    WOW! I just had to leave a comment because your basement space is adorable. We’re currently renovating our basement and have dedicated a little nook for toys n’ things so this is great inspiration.

    • Kerri says

      Thanks Sarah! I must say, we are happy with how it all turned out! The kids love it. Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck with your own basement reno! (Lots of work, but definitely worth it!) ~Kerri

  7. Denise says

    Kerri, your talent amazes me. Mostly, how do you find the time?? Beautiful basement, we are hoping to do ours next winter. It won’t come close to yours but I am now looking forward to it, mostly getting the kids toys out of sight;) Then I can concentrate on making our main floor adult friendly!!

    • Kerri says

      You’re so sweet, Denise! I find the time only because I stay up way too late doing these kinds of projects! Most days I am a walking zombie, lol. I think you’ll find that having the basement developed will make such a big difference to your house and your happiness in it! I’d highly recommend it! Thanks for coming by! ~Kerri :-)

  8. Ruth-Ann says

    As always amazing! I love everything you have done in your house! I wish I had even a quarter of your talent. I think I am going to subscribe to some magazines to see if that will help me, any suggestions?

    • Kerri says

      Thanks for the sweet comments, Ruth Ann. I think you’re under-estimating your creativity! Maybe you just need some inspiration – like you said – from magazines or other decor blogs. I’ve immersed myself in it for many years; I think that’s why I now have more ideas than I do the time or space to execute them, haha. I’d say subscribe to Style at Home, and pick up the new HGTV mag at Costco every month (I love it!). Other than that, there’s a long list of decor blogs that inspire me in the tab called ‘Blogroll’ at the top of the page. And, P.S. Any time you want some help or ideas, I’m only next door! ~Kerri :-)