Before and After: Basement Makeover

Better Homes and Gardens' contributing editor Stephen Saint-Onge takes a standard basement and turns it into family-friendly living space.

Family Room Before

When Better Homes and Gardens Contributing Editor Stephen Saint-Onge walked into this standard unfinished suburban basement, he saw the potential for a fabulous family-friendly living room and craft space combo. On his transformation list: Paint the walls, add media storage, and create a cool hangout.

Choosing Flooring

Stephen recognized the need for durable flooring in a high-traffic space like the family room he envisioned, so he chose FLOR carpet tiles for the room. These versatile squares allow you to create different patterns on the floor and are easily removed for spot cleaning.

Family Room

New track lighting illuminates the freshly painted butter yellow walls and the new carpeting configuration. White wainscoting lightens up the basements and provides shallow shelving, a perfect perch for accessories.

Basic Option: Family Room

With the carpet squares arranged in an even grid, Stephen filled the room with Restoration Hardware furniture and updated the TV with a Phillips flat screen. This arrangement allows for more display space and a wide-open floor for playing.

Final Look: Family Room

In the final phase, Stephen adds a sofa and moves the drop-leaf table to the corner, giving plenty of space for family to play games, watch a movie, or just relax.

Another Option: Family Room

Stephen switched up the FLOR tiles to create a band of green around the rim of the room and focused the pattern in the middle, creating the look of an area rug. He used the homeowner's furniture to create a conversation area with the sofa, coffee table, and armchair in front of the media console.

Livable Color Choices

Stephen chose neutral furnishings, which allowed him to bring in more accent colors, such as the bright orange throw. A pillow with green and brown ribbon adds just the right amount of texture and cool colors to play off the warm yellows and oranges in the room.

Smart Game Plan

This Restoration Hardware coffee table comes with slim drawers perfect for tucking away board games and small toys. Stephen thought the hardwood ideal for handling snacks, playtime, and the wear and tear of kids and pets.

Craft Area and Home Office Before

The opposite side of the room didn't look like much before Stephen began his makeover. His goals for the empty corner: Cover up the concrete floor, define a distinct craft space, and add craft storage and work surfaces.

Craft Room Cabinetry

Installing a complete system of cabinets, cubbies, and shelves from Aristokraft begins the transformation of a dingy basement corner to a super-functional craft and home office area.

Armoire Before

Stephen snatched an old armoire and repainted it to fit the new cream, orange, and yellow color scheme. Once the paint dried, this armoire became a sewing station for the craft area.

Armoire After

Once primed and painted, colorful storage boxes and tacks turned the armoire into a tidy sewing cabinet.

Craft and Home Office After

Lots of work surfaces are key for this home office and craft area. Stephen added a kitchen island to the room for more seating and homework space. The cabinetry, now completely installed, holds papers and supplies, giving the space a tidy look.

Craft Closet Clues

Rows of plastic bins and colorful boxes keep craft supplies in order for easy retrieval. Extending the color scheme to the closet makes it look like it belongs with the rest of the room even if the door is open.

Resource List

Like what you see in this makeover? Recreate Stephen's look with these resources:

About Stephen

Stephen's keen understanding of the homeowner has moved him into the spotlight in recent years through his work on television and in magazines. This understanding, accompanied by his friendly, approachable, and creative style, is making design accessible to everyone -- no matter who they are, where they are, or what their budget may be.

As a husband, father, and homeowner, he understands the needs of the family-focused lifestyle. "I have the same to-do list on my refrigerator that everyone has. There is always something to be to done with our homes and hopefully what I bring to the table will help everyone see the best in their homes," says the designer. He draws upon his background in film and design to help the homeowner create a home that truly captures who they are, but at the same time captures a mood they are looking to bring to life that represents their home in the right light.

Good home design has the power to change lives.

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