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BEFORE & AFTER: My Pretty and Colorful Basement Office Makeover

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I feel like Mama just got a new apartment. This cluttered basement office makeover before and after was very uninspiring before I started, but is now a couple hundred of square feet of living space for my family me (sorry, family–mama needs a “she-cave.”)

I turned this boring, dreary basement into a pretty and colorful basement office! And if you think I bit off more than I could chew, you know what?

You’re right. 

But if anyone could do it, it would be me! I love a good challenge.

Here’s how I tackled this cluttered basement office makeover and turned it from a cluttered space into a pretty office!

BEFORE

Basement Office Makeover - See how one mom turned her cluttered basement into a clean basement office she-cave. - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - See how one mom turned her cluttered basement into a clean basement office for working from home. - Thrift Diving

 

In the back section of the basement, to the left, sat our barely-used pool table, just taking up valuable space. We don’t do much entertaining (umm…..maybe because our basement was jacked up!!–ya think??), and I actually considered getting rid of it at the start of this basement makeover. But then I decided that if we just pulled it out into the main living area, I could use that space for my home office! The color needed to change. It was waaaayyy too dark. I wanted a “she-cave” not a masculine “man-cave“!

 

Basement Office Makeover - See how one mom turned her cluttered basement into a clean basement office that's white and fresh. - Thrift Diving

AFTER – Basement Office Makeover!

I pulled the pool table out into the main living area, brought down the TV from our bedroom to sit on top of the mid-century modern dresser I found at the thrift store. And I added same thrifted lamps, chairs, etc. I got the rug for FREE from Shaw Rugs at a blogging conference I went to one summer. (Ahhh….”free” sounds so good, doesn’t it? A rug like this would cost at least a couple hundred).

Basement Office Makeover - See how one mom turned her cluttered basement into a clean basement office and living room space. - Thrift Diving

 

AFTER!!!!

As you walk back towards the pool table, you start to see a tiny peek of my basement office area! I added a long Ikea Hugad curtain rod and used a couple shower curtains folded in half to frame out the entrance to my basement office. I already had them on hand so I didn’t have to buy those.

 

Basement Office Makeover - See how one mom turned her cluttered basement into a clean basement office with living space for the family. - Thrift Diving

 

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

When you look head-on into my basement office, this is what it looks like!

It’s officially my Thrift Diving Headquarters now!

I feel like I suddenly have this little apartment to myself down here (sans bathroom), but hey–who’s complaining??!

And here’s what’s amazing–it’s quiet!!! 

I can escape the ruckus from my three boys, and retreat to total silence to work (until they come down, that is… LOL).

Basement Office Makeover BEFORE and AFTER!

Basement Office Makeover - This mom turned her cluttered basement into a clean basement office with living space for the family. - Thrift Diving

Below is how my basement office looked for a majority of the makeover. I was so unfocused and a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t know which way was UP or DOWN. And I was running out of time. AND PAINT!

Basement Office Makeover - This mom turned her cluttered basement into a clean basement office with living space for the family. This is the BEFORE. - Thrift Diving

 

BEFORE

Basement Office Makeover - This mom turned a cluttered basement into a clean, pretty, functional basement office with living space for the family. This is the BEFORE. - Thrift Diving

Feeling Overwhelmed

I felt like I was just shifting things from this place to that place, with no real progress. I didn’t know where I wanted to start or what needed to be done when and how.

(Psssst…If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your room makeover, too, enter your name and emil to download my free room makeover Journal packet and learn how to make a DIY journal notebook out of scrapbook paper so you can track your room makeover projects. You’ll get the free download printable with pages for tracking progress!).


Download the FREE printable to include in your DIY journal notebooks to keep track of your room makeovers! - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - Turn your cluttered basement into a clean, functional basement office with living space for your family. This is the BEFORE. - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - Turn your cluttered basement into a clean, functional basement office with living space. To cover cold basement floors, get IKEA rugs and lay them side by side to create larger rug. - Thrift Diving

 

But I knew the first thing I wanted to do was to stencil my logo on the wall using a projector that I bought from the thrift store (for only $7.00!).

Related: How to Clean Up at Thrift Store: How to Thrift

I had decided that the pink and orange from my logo would be my inspiration for the room.

I wanted to keep the middle wall relatively clear from pictures and stuff because this is where I’ll be able to shoot my videos for my YouTube channel (while having the logo in the background). I’ll be able to easily move the card catalog out of the way if necessary.

BEFORE

Basement office makeover - BEFORE - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - Use a projector to trace your logo on the wall in your basement office - Thrift Diving

AFTER!

 

Basement Office Makeover - Use a projector to trace your logo on the wall of your basement office and then paint it. - Thrift Diving

 

The left side houses my desk created from thrifted file cabinets and a heavy thrifted top. The whole desk cost a whopping $17.00 :). Because they aren’t the same style and height, I will have to add a piece of wood to the right cabinet to fill in the gap. For now, it works :).

Under the shelf, I added Ikea KLUDD glass noticeboards that a friend gave me a couple years ago. Perfect for taking notes.

The Desk

As I showed you in more detail in another post, this is how I made a desk from file cabinets and what it looked like before getting my hands on it:

BEFORE

Basement Office Makeover - Use two file cabinets and an old door or countertop to create a large basement office desk. - Thrift Diving

 

AFTER!

Basement Office Makeover - Use two file cabinets and an old door or countertop to create a large basement office desk, then paint it all one color. - Thrift Diving

 

I found the lamp at the thrift store last week (the one sitting on the pink file cabinets) and it was too good to pass up! Apparently, lamps like this cost about $120. Mine?? Oh, just a measly $7.50 :).

I already had the magazine rack. I bought that probably a couple years ago, for $7.00, too! (Everything is $7.00 at my thrift store!).

The colorful small rug is from Home Goods, bought a couple years ago.

Basement Office Makeover - Make a large DIY whiteboard to hang on your basement office wall - Thrift Diving

Pink DIY Whiteboard

In December, I also made a DIY whiteboard like the one I did for my Mom, and it will be perfect for keeping track of my daily blog and family activities.

 

Basement Office Makeover - Make a large DIY whiteboard to hang on your basement office wall, and then paint the whiteboard. - Thrift Diving

On the right side of the room, I really wanted a seating area where I could do crafts. I also wanted a place for the kids to sit and work on something while I’m working on the computer. Sometimes my 3-year old will sit here and play cars :). (That’s a spoon hanging out of his mouth). LOL

(Don’t you love my stenciled jewelry box? If you’re looking for other uses for jewelry boxes, you’ll love my jewelry box repurposed into craft storage!)

Basement Office Makeover - Other uses for jewelry boxes include painting and stenciling and storying craft or office supplies in it. - Thrift Diving

To create the pegboard, I found the frame last year on the side of the road and hoarded it in my garage until the perfect time came to use it.

Well, now is the time :). The pegboard I found at a salvage shop for mere pennies, literally.

DIY Chain Wall Art!

I love chains.

For the longest time, I wanted to do something with chains. But I wasn’t inspired.

Until now.

BEFORE

Basement Office Makeover - Use a chain to create DIY wall art on your basement office wall. - Thrift Diving

 

AFTER!!

Why not create DIY chain wall art?? This is the perfect way to add some uniqueness to your walls! The home improvement stores sell chain by the foot and will cut it for you. I chose 8-foot. (And the best part is that I’ve never seen this done before, so yay!!! Originality is so hard today, isn’t it? LOL).

This space is for one thing: CREATING. So spelling out “Create” was perfect! Although, at times it looks like “Creste” but hey–who’s complaining?

Basement Office Makeover - Use a chain to create DIY wall art on your basement office wall to spell out inspirational words. - Thrift Diving

The yellow stool I already owned. I couldn’t decide what color to use. I wanted something to “POP.”

BEFORE

Basement Office Makeover - Turn your cluttered basement into living space and a basement office. - Thrift Diving

 

AFTER!

Basement Office Makeover - Add a vintage drafting table to your office - Thrift Diving

The Rug

Do you know how expensive rugs are?? Ohhhh, I’m sure you do. My first attempt at warming up these floors was a total bust (more on that in the follow-up details).

Lesson learned:  sometimes you just need to go to Ikea and buy what you need. LOL

And that’s what I did.

BEFORE

Basement Office Makeover -Basement walls with dark paint can be painted white to brighten the space for a pretty basement office. - Thrift Diving

 

AFTER!

I bought 6 of these Ikea Hulsig rugs for $14.99 each and laid them together to create one big almost 12′ x 12′ rug for–miraculously–only about $90. They already had the rubber backing, so no need to lay a no-skid rug pad underneath! They stay together pretty well, with very little maneuvering, and now my feet are shielded from the cold basement floor! I honestly don’t think I could have warmed the floor for any cheaper than that.

Basement Office Makeover -Basement walls were painted a bright white paint to create a pretty basement office work space. - Thrift Diving

 Basement Office Makeover - Add IKEA rugs to cold basement floors. - Thrift Diving

Basement Office Makeover - Add a vintage drafting table and a pop of yellow to your basement office. - Thrift Diving

Basement Office Makeover - Red velvet chair from the thrift store with stenciled pillows - Thrift Diving

I already owned the lamp (Home Goods).

The DIY  stenciled pillows were really easy, too.

It’s not the most comfortable chair, but for now, it can just look pretty :).

My Desk Chair!

I should call this chair “The Chair That Drove Me Crazy“! It’s one of the things that held me up in completing this makeover. I have done a few reupholster projects, but nothing like this. This thing required cutting out small pieces and then sewing them all together around the curves. I break out in hives just thinking about it. Thank goodness for streaming online programs. It kept my sanity while piecing this together. I was almost ready to smash it up. Or photoshop a finished chair. HA!

BEFORE

Basement Office Makeover - Thrifted brocade chairs. - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - Thrifted brocade chairs BEFORE. - Thrift Diving

AFTER!

My husband actually doesn’t like this chair much. He says my choice of fabric was all wrong. I say he’s wrong! I understand it’s not as luxurious as the “before” fabric, but it’s what I had on hand.

Basement Office Makeover - Thrifted Hourglass Chair Makeover from Pier 1 Imports. - Thrift Diving

 

My husband also critiqued my decision to use brass-colored furniture tacks.

Okay, yes, shiny silver ones would have been nice, but you know what?? I already had a crap-load left from my thrifted vintage chair makeover from a box of, like, 1000 tacks, and I wanted to put them to good use.

Basement Office Makeover - Thrifted Hourglass Chair Makeover from Pier 1 Imports - AFTER - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - Thrifted desk and chairs. - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - Drafting table, stool, and pegboard are all second-hand. - Thrift Diving

 The vintage drafting table is thrifted! I got it a few years ago for–GASP!–$30, and it’s really worth about $300. The other white stool–you guessed it: thrifted for $10, and I already owned. I reupholstered it. And the white plant holder I already had ($3) was thrifted, too, and holds cans of pens and markers and stuff.

The Shelf!

This is an area I struggled with: what to put over the desk?? 

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. And I didn’t have scrap wood around already.

Miraculously, I found what I needed at the ReStore here in Silver Spring. Just my luck, they had three big 6-foot boards for a total of $5.00! WOO HOO! And the brackets were $0.50 each from Ikea. I used three brackets.

Everything you see up there on the shelf (except for the basket) came from the thrift store!

Even the candy machine is thrifted (and great for my late night blogging cravings, which is why I look like I’m pregnant, but that’s a post for another day…..).

I already had everything on hand, though, except the magazine files.

And the black desk lamp was $3.00 (already owned).

Basement Office Makeover - Pretty thrifted basement office. - Thrift Diving

The only things not thrifted in this pic above are my Apple iMac (27″ baby….I will spend a lot on computers and gadgets, but never home decor!!!), and the printer, which I already had both.

Basement Office Makeover - Pretty thrifted basement office with a big DIY whiteboard, thrifted desk, painted cabinets. - Thrift Diving

When you look out from my office, you see the pool table:

 Basement Office Makeover - Pretty thrifted basement office with pool table for entertaining. - Thrift Diving

Basement Office Makeover - Create seating in the basement office. - Thrift Diving

Basement Office Makeover - Basement office with pool table. - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - Set up a pool table in the basement area. Thrift Diving

You also see the living area from here.

That’s the space I didn’t really get to finish yet (which is why I only have two pictures in the wall collage. LOL.

AFTER

Basement Office Makeover - Basements with a basement office and living space for the basement. - Thrift Diving

But considering what it looked like before, it looks freaking AMAZINGLY clean and organized! I can walk through without stumbling over furniture! WOO HOO!

Later, I added in this pretty pink repurposed IKEA kitchen cart which I upcycled into a command center. It holds files for tax receipts, envelopes, stamps, staples, etc.

 

BEFORE

Basement Office Makeover - Basements with a basement office and living space for the basement - BEFORE. - Thrift Diving

 

I had all these frames on hand (all thrifted, thank you very much!). I painted them all black and started trying to find pictures to put in them. I’m still not sure what I want to fill them with, so this will be done later.

I got the sconces from a seller for $10 each. The pink wall art is just a 2’x2′ piece of drywall that I stenciled. I borrowed pillows from another room, too.

AFTER

Basement Office Makeover - Create seating in the basement for family. - Thrift Diving

The banquet was also thrifted. I painted the banquet with leftover Beyond Paint Off-White from when I painted that pretty china cabinet.

The table was given to me by an old co-worker. I’ll probably strip it and re-stain it.

Related: How to Strip Furniture and Stain It: A Complete Guide

 

Basement Office Makeover - Create seating in the basement for family with a branquet. - Thrift Diving

This is the view from the pool table and gives you an idea of how uncluttered the space is now!

I still have furniture in this living area to refinish, or to exchange for something else. I have lamps to paint. Shades to decorate. Pillows to reupholster. Lots to do!

Again, everything is thrifted :).

Basement Office Makeover - Living space in the basement for family and a basement office. - Thrift Diving

UPDATED: I have since stripped and refinished this mid-century modern dresser! I had some problems with refinishing it, which you can read in the post.

 

Basement Office Makeover - Mid-century modern dresser TV console from the thrift store. - Thrift Diving

 

 And Last But Definitely Not Least…

This is the first thing I wanted people to see when they enter the basement: a statement about who I am and what this space is all about.

Basement Office Makeover - Create DIY wall art from thrift store canvases. - Thrift Diving

 

Here are details on how I created this DIY wall art.

 

Basement Office Makeover - Create DIY wall art from thrift store canvases - An Artist Lives Here. - Thrift Diving

 

Basement Office Makeover - Create DIY wall art from thrift store canvases - An Artist Lives Here. - Paint splattered art - Thrift Diving

COSTS TO DO THIS ROOM

1. Ikea HUGAD Curtain Rod – $7.41
2. IKEA HUGAD curtain rod wall mounts – (2 ea) – $2.10
3. IKEA curtain clips 9 (1 pack) – $5.29
4. File cabinets from the thrift store – $14.82
5. Desk top from Community Forklift – $1.76
6. American chalky paint from Home Depot – approx. $9.00
7. Magazine holders from thrift store (2) – $2.35
8. Wooden magazine holder from thrift store – $3.17
9. Lamp on pink file cabinet from thrift store – $7.95
10. Scrap wood for desk shelf from the ReStore – $1.59
11. Ikea EKBY brackets for shelf (3 x $0.50 ea) – $1.59
12. Chain for wall art – $10.93
13. Pegboard – $5.30 (for the whole huge piece although I only used a small piece of it)
14. Nails from Home Depot – $3.43
15. Sample pink paint from Sherwin Williams – $5.19
16. Sample oragne paint from Sherwin Williams – $5.19
17. IKEA rugs for floor – $95.34
18. Wall anchors from Home Depot – $5.56
19. Furniture staples – $2.93
20. Photo box – $2.12
21. Canvas from the thrift store – $15.89
22. 1 gallon of semi-gloss Behr (Snow Bound) for walls – approx $35
23. 1 gallon of turquoise semi-gloss Behr (Balmy Seas) – approx. $35

Total Cost for the Basement = $278.91*

*I’m not counting any item I didn’t specifically buy for the makeover, including furniture or crafting supplies I already had on hand. I consider that stuff “FREE,” shopped from my house :). 

 

This Post Is Soooo Long, But I Have to Say THIS…

It doesn’t take is a lot of money to transform a space. Time?? Yes. But not money. 🙂

If you ever doubt you can turn around a space in your house, remember this room. And then sign up for my next room makeover challenge, which I do a couple times per year.

 

Basement Office Makeover - My pretty basement office with thrifted furniture, logo on the wall, and a big DIY whiteboard. - Thrift Diving

 

Now I would LOVE to know what you think of my new basement office makeover!!!!! Leave a comment below and let me know!!

 

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134 Comments

  1. BEAUTIFUL!! Thanks for posting the before pics… it helped to see what you were working with and how you got to the finished look. I’m a fan! šŸ™‚

  2. I think the rooms look wonderful. I’m sure your sense of accomplishment is great! That’s what I love..the feeling that I get when it’s done!

  3. martineBE says:

    What a nice place to work, to create. Excellent job you’ ve done.
    A new belgian reader.
    MartineBE

  4. Great job, Serena… I absolutely love what you did in this space, you are so talented and have a great eye for color. Best of all, it was done on My Kind Of Budget. I would love to do this in my house, I don’t have a basement, and what I need is a room organized with everything I need to write, as I am starting on my second book. I want to redo my library so it will be more conducive to my needs. I wouldn’t have to do as much as you did for your room, not as many big changes, so I think I could manage it. If I do this project I will post before and after pics and I thank you for your inspiration! This has been such a great article and you provide so much good information and so many tips, Thank you for taking the time to post all this.

    1. Awww…thank you, Sue!! I’m glad my basement office makeover could inspire you and give you some ideas! šŸ™‚

  5. You are the most talented DIY room transformer on the internet! Fabulous!

    1. Awww….Diane, I am doubtful about that! LOL. But I’m so glad you think so! šŸ™‚ It helps when you start with butt-ugly rooms, though. Things can only get better, right? Thanks for the compliments!!

  6. Serena, another great job. Your colors are great also love the desk and the desk chair is terrific .
    Its fun to see other people get confused when doing a project too.

    I REALLY YOUR WHOLE AREA

    1. Thank you, Betty! Oooh, yeah! I get confused nearly every project because how I THOUGHT something would turn out wasn’t necessarily how it worked out! You just have to roll with the punches and try to make it work (as Tim Gunn would say from Project Runway. LOL). Thanks, Betty!

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