Before and After: $200 Later, This Basement is Now Living Its Best Life

Basement makeovers generally include a fresh coat of paint, perhaps some new furniture, but nothing too dramatic or formal. This particular transformation is an exception, and the results are damn delightful.

What we have here is one of those rare multi-step Before & After projects: this photo documents an in-between stage, after the walls and balusters have been painted and all kinds of handy and attractive storage has been added, but before the final stage. Keep scrolling for the rest.

Robyn Santamaria of Shibang Designs is responsible for all of this basement’s progress, and explains a bit about the process here:

Over the past 2.5 years I’ve been gradually working away at a basement makeover that involved keeping all the main elements the same but just refinishing or adding onto what was there with lots of DIY projects.

As much as I admire and envy all-at-once, dramatic-reveal renovations, I relate much more to the slow-and-steady approach: changing things whenever you happen to have the time, money, and inspiration. Okay, on to the final look:

I love how elegant and stately this is, especially because it’s in a basement. The board and batten wall creates drama, while keeping everything white helps maintain the brightness of the space—brightness is almost always a precious commodity in basements. The completely unified palette helps link the basement with the stairway, and also serves as the perfect blank canvas for artistic work, as we’ll learn below.

Robyn accurately describes the effect of the new paneling:

Paint has quick and inexpensive results, but the addition of paneling takes it to another level and can expand the sense of space, which can be very useful in a basement. The natural light that enters from the stairwell emphasizes the grid pattern on the wall.

Sometimes adding one detail to a room can be enough to improve the whole space, without making any other changes.

Look how perfectly the storage bench works with the new board and batten wall and how all the vertical lines (including the balusters) emphasize the verticality of the space.

The total cost for the board and batten including all the wood and supplies was $200. On my blog I have shared a tutorial with how to create this wall in your own home.

That seems very reasonable for such a major upgrade! I’m sure the real investment was in time, but it’s still good to know that such a game-changing look can be achieved for only $200.

Here’s another Before/During shot that’s perfectly cute. That’s a lovely shade of green, the storage is excellent, the desk is gracefully minimal but offers additional storage, and the mirrors reflect the natural light.

Here’s the same desk, which again works well with the gridded wall. The wood desktop has an organic warmth that pairs wonderfully with the rosy—and artfully distressed—frame. The black door also looks fantastic against all the white—which, as I mentioned earlier, is perfect for a creative studio:

This is also my textile studio and this space is way more inspiring now.

Congrats to Robyn for creating such a lovely, inviting, and inspiring basement. If you end up further upgrading this space, please let us know.

Thank you, Robyn Santamaria of Shibang Designs!



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