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before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A Dated Basement Family Room Gets a Bright White Remodel

by Lauren Chorpening

Seeing potential in almost any space is a skill that comes easily to Michelle Gage, an interior designer in the Philadelphia, PA area. She works with her clients to unveil what could be in their spaces while utilizing the same budget-savvy eye to make-over her own 1920s colonial home in Havertown, PA. Michelle and her husband, Alex, have been working room by room in their house to make it home. They’ve recently transformed their dated basement into a gorgeous family room.

Michelle and Alex wanted to do this project for less than $1,000 — minus the cost of furniture and accessories — which meant doing the process themselves from start to finish. “The basement was one of the last spaces we tackled. We started by ripping out some of the paneling and a dated ‘church-pew-like’ bench. Alex built a custom cabinet for the TV and décor. We painted the walls a fresh white coat. One hurdle we faced was asbestos tile. We couldn’t rip it up, so we had to layer flooring on top of it,” Michelle says. “This faux-wood floor looks like the real deal, but snaps into place and was super affordable.” The exposed beams were left the same, keeping the richness and charm from the wood in the space. Michelle chose furniture that layers color and texture in a cozy way and utilized eclectic accessories from years of collecting as the focal point in the space. The clean look of the bookshelves, beams and paneling is complemented by the collected feel of the accessories and decor. Through some cosmetic changes, Michelle and Alex have turned a space that they never used into a place that they enjoy every evening. –Lauren

Photography by Kyle Born

Image above: Built-in cabinetry adds a focal point and makes the room feel taller. The white paint on the paneling breaks up the brown tones in the space.

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Before & After: A Beautiful Family Room Remodel on a Budget | Design*Sponge
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The basement before the renovation.
Before & After: A Beautiful Family Room Remodel on a Budget | Design*Sponge
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"This is the only room in our house with a TV," Michelle says. "We wanted to create a comfortable space to relax. The space has very little natural light, but the white walls help to brighten it up. All we do down here is sit on the sofa with our dogs and watch TV."
Before & After: A Beautiful Family Room Remodel on a Budget | Design*Sponge
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"We're pretty pumped that the project cost only about $1,000 to renovate. Half of that cost was dedicated to the built-in and the other half to the floors and paint. It was the most affordable transformation in our home, but also made the biggest impact," Michelle explains.
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The church pew was built into the room. Removing it was the first thing they did when they started the basement project.
Before & After: A Beautiful Family Room Remodel on a Budget | Design*Sponge
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"The room is awkwardly shaped, but truly only needed to serve one function. We didn’t try to make the room do too much," Michelle says.
Before & After: A Beautiful Family Room Remodel on a Budget | Design*Sponge
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The white walls add contrast while the green sectional adds personality, comfort and style to the space.
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The size of the basement felt awkward with the previous furniture. By purchasing a sectional and placing it in the center of the space, there is more functional real estate throughout the room.
Before & After: A Beautiful Family Room Remodel on a Budget | Design*Sponge
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"Aesthetically, we wanted the space to look a little like a library," Michelle says. "The styled shelving and green velvet sofa helped to drive that look home."
Before & After: A Beautiful Family Room Remodel on a Budget | Design*Sponge
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A mix of collected pieces works perfectly on the shelves that Alex built.

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