An Elegant Evolution for a Wood-Paneled Basement

The “after” of this basement isn’t necessarily better than the photo above; beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder. But there’s no arguing that this wood-paneled basement no longer looks the way it once did. Gone are the rustic vibes and striped upholstery the previous owners of this house had in this room. What is left after this complete makeover is the cozy, casual atmosphere in a lighter, brighter space.

Of all the rooms in Michelle and Alex Gage’s home, none surprised me the most as the basement. Having grown up in a home with dark wood-paneled walls, I’ve always thought the best design decision was to embrace them. As if trying to change them into something else would only make a room feel out of place.

Alex and Michelle weren’t afraid to change the look of this basement. Here, the couple painted the wood walls a light cream color, making the room feel larger. Alex (the handy husband) crafted built-ins along one wall to house lots of books and the television. Then they filled the room with a mix of comfy new furniture splurges (hello sectional from Article) with family hand-me-downs and fun vintage items. Alex and Michelle gave this room its new moniker, the “library”, thanks to all the books:

“There are dozens[of books] scattered throughout the shelving unit — most notably, there is a set of vintage encyclopedias on the shelf above the TV. We wanted to make sure we had room to grow — so as my husband’s hoard increases, my decor [accessories] will have to move out!” wrote Michelle in a comment on her house tour.

I think what I love most of all about this room redo is that the warmth of the original space remains intact. Even if wood walls aren’t your thing, it’s clear in the before photo that the basement was a much-loved and much-used cabin-like retreat. Thanks to rustic decor and a nature-inspired color palette, Michelle and Alex’s library still exudes that warmth.


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