before and after: from bungalow basement to toddler bedroom

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When Marshal emailed me the link to check out a cute two-bedroom home in our desired neighborhood that had just been listed for sale I nearly hit delete without even opening it. We already had two kids, one of which was currently sharing our bedroom with us. And I was 20 weeks pregnant. With our third son. Why would he send me a listing for a two bedroom home. Rude! I agreed to look at it with him since it was in the neighborhood we wanted and in our price range and it was love at first sight. Walking through it I noted we would only have two bedrooms upstairs, BUT, we also had a finished basement that would be perfect for the boys to use as a combined bedroom/playroom. The basement –including the ceiling– had been painted in very dark colors
(burgundy red and chocolate brown?!) and felt dark and cold and very unappealing, especially for two toddlers accustomed to being within ten feet of our bed at night. We also didn’t really have the budget for any major remodeling so the dark tile floor wasn’t going anywhere for a while. But, as It turns out, being on a limited budget was not as challenging as we thought when it came to brightening up our little bungalow basement. With some paint, a few area rugs, neutral furniture and new ceiling lights and lamps we had ourselves a fun and modern toddler room/play area. One that our boys actually sleep in!
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We painted the walls white to bring in more light. The ceilings are not very tall (maybe about seven feet) so using a neutral color opened the space up quite a bit. We use a bright orange as an accent color to make the space modern but also kid-friendly.
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To cover the tile floor we found an assortment of rugs in bright colors and lots of different patterns from Zulily and Ikea. The rugs were the most expensive purchase; we spent roughly $200 for 5 4×6 area rugs. We swapped out the dim recessed ceiling lights for some track lighting over Nolan’s desk and two LED ceiling lights form Home Depot. We bought a few pieces of furniture from Ikea, found the beds at a garage sale and Marshal built the rest, including the bookcase (not shown), nightstands and couches (also not shown but are in a cove at the bottom of the stairs where we also store their toy bins and have a tv/sleepover area. My favorite is the sawhorse desk for Nolan’s “workstation.” The saw horses were purchased from Ikea and we just put a large piece of finished plywood over the top to create a desk.
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The walls are still bare and we will spend the next few months adding finishing touches and accessories to really personalize the space (wall art, prints, shelves, and other organization units) but nevertheless it’s such a happy space and an area we get to spend a lot of time in as it is the perfect refuge from the summer heat.


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