February 7, 2014

Winter Boredom Buster: Unfinished Basement Playroom

Chris and I have spent some time, effort and a bit of money transforming our mostly unused basement into a functional and fun area for the boys to burn off some energy this winter.  I neglected to take "before" photos because 1.) the space was a bit frightening and 2.) I had my doubts whether we'd be able to transform it into something photographable anyway.
But we did our best, starting with relocating two large wheeled shelving units to the other end of the basement.  We focused on moving all of the tools to one end, where our furnace is, so that the largest area of the basement could be utilized.  It's an odd layout, with our furnace placed in the middle of the floor, rather than against a wall, so it was challenging to work around. 

And while these photos may not look like much, to us, this space is a great addition to our little old house. It's fostered a lot of physical and imaginative play in our kids, as well as their friends.
The concrete floor got some puzzle mats, the kind used in gyms.  That was probably the most expensive part of the makeover, but we're confident that they'll be used in some manner beyond the childhood years, especially that we went with a neutral color.
The steps got a fresh coat of paint. I really regret not taking a before shot of these hideous things; they were brown, dirty, with missing tread mats.
They are SO much more inviting now, painted white with teal and green accents.  And the new tread mats are so much nicer, and safer.  We still need to add a second handrail below the one that's already there, just for peace of mind that no kids will fall or purposefully jump under the railing.

Most of the items in the play space were things I had in storage; the swings (from IKEA) were birthday gifts from a few years back that never were installed, the cardboard rocket was stored in the attic (with an occasional appearance in our small living room) the ticket booth, and the ticket booth was a cast-off from the days when I worked at an art museum.  It had been stored in our garage since I was pregnant with Soren, but finally got screwed back together to be played with.
The paper lantern lights were also in storage; I had saved them from my wedding and use them at birthday parties and other festivities. 

Under the steps, I set up a pretend area with the play kitchen, puppet theater, cash register and a table and chairs.
Christmas lights brighten up the space a little, but we could use some more substantial lighting under there.
It's hard to believe, but many of these items were either found in the trash, thrifted, or hand made by me.  The wall hangings were things I acquired throughout my 20s (hippie chick, that was me) so it's nice seeing these funky things displayed again.
We brought in two lawn chairs that spend their summers outside; they make great seating for adults.  I've been known to knit and drink coffee while the boys play.
I added one of my old paintings too, which was just in storage in our attic.  Can you guess which nursery rhyme I was referencing?
This space will certainly evolve as the seasons change, and as the boys grow.  But for now, it is being enjoyed just as it is.  It's a great way to burn off energy after dinner and before bed, especially that the icy, snowy conditions outside have kept us indoors more than we'd like to be this year.
I encourage you to look again at any unused areas of your home; you just might find a playful refuge hiding within it!

12 comments:

  1. Can't wait until Tuesday! C has a stockpile of energy to burn off and that looks like the perfect place to do it!

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  2. Oh, it looks amazing! Yet another reason I should live closer to you. The kids would be down there in a heartbeat.

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  3. um... I want to be your kid...

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  4. Shut up. ARE YOU KIDDING???? That is awesome.

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  5. Holy kiddy play land! That's SO awesome! I'm in agreement with everyone else; adopt me please?! :)

    Too bad I didn't have something like this when I was a kid!

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  6. How are the swings attached to your ceiling? Love this!

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    1. They're from IKEA and I had the hooks that came from there. But I'm sure one of the big box hardware stores has porch swing hardware you could use.

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  8. Where did you get your floor mat tiles? How have they held up?

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    1. I can't recall--my husband ordered them online from a sporting place...maybe gymnastics place? They've held up beautifully. We just hosed them off last week and they weren't moldy or anything. Our basement is a bit damp with a cement floor but they still look nearly new.

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    2. It's Kathleen, by the way, the blogger. Not sure why it's pegging me as Unknown

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