Happy Friday Friends!
So I’m sitting in Starbucks and I started scrolling through the pictures on my phone when I came across the pictures of my apartment pre-renovations (aka the basement).
You see, when my best friend and I decided earlier this year not to move out and get an apartment together, my parents cut me a pretty sweet deal. They said I could turn our basement into my own apartment as long as I funded all of the renovations. Let’s just say they didn’t have to twist my arm.
Now, if I’m being honest, it was a lot harder and took a lot longer than I expected. But it was also extremely rewarding. It’s so cool to look back now and see the difference between what it used to look like and what I’m living in now.
With that being said, I’d like to take a minute and thank my AMAZING parents for all of their help. From painting, to pulling up carpet, to helping me lay the floors, to moving furniture, to hanging pictures, and so much more, they were right there with me the whole way. And I would also like to thank my wonderful grandparents for all of their help. I’m very blessed to have a carpenter for a grandfather and an interior decorator for a grandmother. I feel like I hit the jackpot.
So, without further ado, let’s get started with this tour!
Here is what the basement looked like at the beginning of the project. (Mom please don’t kill me for posting these.) The room at the bottom of the stairs was serving as an extra living room where us kids could watch TV and hang out with our friends when our parents were watching TV in the main living room upstairs.
Then there was Brett’s bedroom. Yes I kicked him out and made him move upstairs…I know I’m a terrible sister. But he forgave me so we’re fine. Below is the picture I took right before I started painting, hence the mess. Again, mom please don’t kill me. The carpet in this room was the same berber that was in the living room, but the walls were white and a dark royal blue. (Go UK Wildcats!)
The first thing I did was paint both the rooms the same color light gray (Subtle Touch by Behr). And because I was going to rip up the carpet, I didn’t have to put down cloths in case the pain splattered. Brett was thrilled about this because he ended up standing on one of the paint can lids and leaving painted footprints across the room.
So after we ripped up the carpet, we had to scrape off some random clumps of glue on the concrete. Then we got to start the biggest part of the entire project: laying the floors. I decided to go with laminate floors, which I love! They look like hardwoods but didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. The kind I chose actually ended up being on sale when I bought it too, and who doesn’t love a good deal?
Once we get the floors finished, things really started coming together. I decided I wanted to do an accent wall where the kitchenette was going to be. (Plus there was a hole in the wall from where the full-size basketball goal used to be, and I needed to cover that up somehow.) So I found these stone panels that could just be nailed to the wall. They were $25 a piece and I only needed three of them so this was a super affordable way for me to add a custom element to the space.
Next came the fun part: the decorating! Let’s start with the kitchen. We ended up painting the cabinets my mom already had downstairs just to brighten things up a little. Then we hung two cedar shelves and filled them with some decorative pieces and some other kitcheny things. I also decided to just stick with my mini fridge from my college dorm room until I feel like I need a bigger fridge. Because let’s be honest, all that’s in there right now is coffee creamer, sparkling water, and leftover Chinese food.
I originally thought about getting a “dining room” table to put in the middle of the room to kind of separate the kitchen area from the living room, but I saw this island at IKEA and changed my mind. My grandmother gave me the two bar stools so I still have somewhere to eat, but it’s a lot more practical for the way I want to use the space. And just a piece of advice, if a piece of furniture from IKEA comes with directions that say you need two people to put it together, you should probably follow those directions.
Then there’s one of my favorite parts of the space: the coffee bar. My grandmother actually decorated this entire setup while I was on vacation. I told you she was awesome! Also, I want to give a shout out to the old school cash register on the floor. I scored that at an old antique store for $25!
Next we’ll move on to the living room. I love absolutely everything about this room. It’s so light but still so cozy at the same time. I wanted to have a lot of light-colored pieces because there are no windows on this end of the basement because I’m completely underground.
The couch is from Ashley Furniture, and was probably the 37th couch my grandmother and I sat on that day. But as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. It’s probably my favorite part of the whole room. Another fun fact: the coffee table and the end tables were given to me by my grandparents, and they are made from wood that was saved when the old Sears factory was torn down in Atlanta. Super cool right?
Other than that, the rug was from TJ Maxx. The chairs, pillows, blankets, floor lamp and potted plants were from IKEA, and basically everything else came from my grandparents’ basement. (I’m currently trying to talk my grandmother into opening her own home decor shop.)
Lastly, there is my bedroom. I kept all of my furniture (IKEA) and it ended up matching really well. I added some gray pillows on my bed to coordinate with the wall color. I also bought most of the wall decorations from IKEA, including the record frames, the canvases above my cube unit, and the canvas over my dressers. IKEA and I got to know each other very well through this process.
So there you go! A full tour of my own little space. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I loved working on it. It was an amazing experience full of sweat, tears, laughter, and lots of trial and error. Also, I would like you to please soak in how clean everything is in these pictures, because I can promise you it doesn’t look like this right now. 🙂