Basement Renovation Design Plan

Our basement renovation is just beginning– perfect timing as I’m getting back to the blog! I spent the weekend clearing things out, and have secretly been scheming & planning since the beginning of summer. Read on for the before images and to see my design plan for the space…

Basement Renovation Design Plan -


Our basement is really spacious & functional, but most of it is stuck in 1994, in terms of aesthetic. We weren’t planning to tackle the basement next, but alas- another plumbing issue bumped it higher on our renovation list. The sink faucet hasn’t even been functional for five months. We use this space often and I’m looking forward to an overhaul. First, let’s remember where it started…

Basement Renovation Design Plan -
Basement Renovation Design Plan -

Back in 2019, we gave our basement media room a facelift, highlighting the Sherwin-Williams color of the year, at the time. Our boring, gray basement suddenly had personality and to be honest- I really really loved it.


Basement Renovation Design Plan -

We had high hopes of a total basement renovation and I always imagined it looking very different than it looks now… but this space feels like home. I love the deep blue palette with perfectly dyed drapery panels to match, my vintage ski prints, the velvet upholstered wall panels Emmett & I constructed, and even the bulky credenza I pulled from the dumpster at his work and painted. Who knew? I’ve only swapped subtle things since then.

When working through the design plan, I found myself not wanting to change the “media room” side of the space all too much. When designing, I always trust my gut- and this time my instincts were telling me to build upon what we have.

Roundup : Serena & Lily Lighting -

Therefore, we’re going to keep much of the aforementioned decor and color palette on that side of the room, while updating the floor plan with better fitting furniture.

One thing I’m most excited about is the flooring we’ll be installing in the basement. It just arrived over the weekend and looks so good. I’m excited to share it with you.

Basement Renovation Design Plan -

We’ll be installing Stuga hardwood flooring throughout the ENTIRE basement- including the newly finished basement bedroom, our workout room, the media room, and the kitchen we’ll be tackling. The icky gray carpet is finally coming out, and the flooring will look so beautiful and cohesive.

The majority of our renovation budget will be going toward the adjacent, open concept basement kitchen. I’ve also decided to keep that existing footprint while making smart upgrades: new cabinetry doors, tile, stone, plumbing fixtures, lighting, etc.

Basement Renovation Design Plan -

Design Plan

Ready to see the design plan? This is where I’m headed, of course anything is subject to change at this point…

Basement Renovation Design Plan -

As I mentioned, I’m oddly attached to the current design, so that isn’t changing much. The biggest update will be new furniture that better fits the floor plan (it’s U-shaped). Maybe you noticed the new sectional? Let’s just say, Emmett & I are both happy about that. More to come soon on how it functions in the room.

Basement Renovation Design Plan -

We really needed an additional heat source, being a cooler basement, and an electrical fireplace made the most sense. We’ll be swapping the sconces, adding built-ins, and I’ll have more shelving to style (my favorite). I’m definitely trying to cozy things up down here!

The kitchen is going to be really fun, yet attainable. We’re keeping the existing cabinets, but will be replacing and painting the doors. The existing countertop has got to go, and I’ve been stone shopping for the perfect slab.

Basement Renovation Design Plan -

The existing black refrigerator will be getting swapped, which I’m eager to see. It always felt so heavy and out of place alongside the lighter cabinetry.

We’ll also install a tile or bead board backsplash (I’m still undecided), new plumbing fixtures, update the hardware, and of course- updated styling… my favorite part. This kitchen doesn’t have a cooktop or range, so we primarily use it as a bar. I’m looking forward to showcasing some of our beautiful glassware.

Basement Renovation Design Plan -


When will you begin the renovation?

This coming weekend! I cleared most everything out and will begin installing the flooring first. I’ll be working on the basement while Emmett keeps moving forward in the entryway.

Are you tackling the basement all at once or room by room?

Room by room! We’re starting with the media room and kitchen, then will move down the hall toward the workout room and basement bedroom.

Will you share sources?

Absolutely! I always share sources in the reveal post that concludes each renovation. From paint colors and decor to exact links for furniture & fixtures, I’ll wrap it up with an organized little bow for you.

What related blog posts can we expect from this renovation?

The process of ordering & swapping cabinet doors, flooring installation, more on our sectional that will be arriving soon, addressing lower basement ceilings, smoothing textured ceilings, and of course progress posts leading up to the big reveal. Let me know if there is anything specific you want to see or hear from me on!

What about Emmett’s beloved leather recliner?

It’s leaving… but I promise he’s happy about our new seating situation!

Whoa… two toned cabinets?!

I’ve always liked the look and decided it was time to take a fun design risk. It’s just paint, right?

2020 Holiday Home Tour -

I hope you’ll follow along with the basement project! I’m actually very excited for this space and to tackle another kitchen… even if it’s on a much smaller scale. Kitchens and baths are always my favorite to design & style.

Leave me your questions and thoughts in the comment section below! I’m still working through the new site and some things will be updated and changing today & tomorrow. Otherwise, I hope you like it and can navigate and search more easily. I’ll make a proper introduction and navigation tutorial once it’s totally finished! Also- if something is amiss… drop me a note. It’s always appreciated! Have a great week, friends!

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  1. Good morning Sarah!! I’m sooo glad you’ll be keeping the media side mostly intact! I’ve grown to love this cozy space you’ve created. I’m super excited to see what you have in store for the sectional…I think I already know, thanks to an IG ad and a subsequent follow. My lips are sealed, but if I’m right, it’s a dead giveaway as to why Emmett has no problem with saying goodbye to his recliner. I’ll be paying attention for your honest review.😉 On to the kitchen side- I’m anxious to learn more about the process of ordering new cabinet doors, and seeing how you build on the bones of what you have. Im loving the mood board already, and equally excited to see your bar styling. This is going to be an epic renovation! I’ve been considering Stuga Studio flooring myself- you know it’s been a long process for me trying to find my own flooring. I’ll look forward to hearing all about their line, why you settled on that, and I’m dying to see the color you chose. Perhaps your experience and insight will nudge me further in that direction. I love the layout of the new site, from what I can see- one bump- I didn’t get your post starlight to my inbox as normal. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for your blog links on IG in the meantime. So excited to follow along with this reno, and loving the changes in the entry! Have a fantastic week friend!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Hi Lauren! Comments are finally back up and running and I can’t wait to catch up- yay! I hope the site still feels familiar to everyone (just easier to navigate). I’ve struggled to keep up with Google’s standards and now that AI is so prevalent and beating out actual blog writers (like myself), I had to make updates. Hopefully they’ll be well worth the effort and long blogging break. Anyway… I’m excited you know about the sectional! It hasn’t arrived yet, but I can’t wait to see what the fuss is all about. Cabinet doors have been ordered, I’m starting on the Stuga floors tonight (if all goes as planned), and I finally found a suitable countertop slab within our budget this week (after months of searching). It feels like I’m moving in the right direction. I have no idea why posts aren’t coming via email anymore, but I have a feeling that may not be allowed anymore. I’ll look into it! Make sure you’re on my regular mailing list because I plan to include weekly blog posts in a recap of sorts, and then also know I’m trying to stick to my Mon / Wed / Fri schedule for new posts. Time of day has been a bit weird because my scheduler has not been working, but I’m sorting out allll the things over here. Ha! Thanks for checking in and for keeping up. Hope you’re having an amazing week!

  2. I’d love a post about fireplaces. We’d like an electric fireplace but I’m concerned that it will look fake and tacky.

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Such a great idea, Amy! I’m adding that to my content calendar for after ours is installed. Thanks!

  3. Hello!! Loving the new site! Can’t wait for a proper introduction. As for your basement plans, I say “yippee!” I adore that you’re building on to a design you already have in place and enjoy. That seems not only smart, but relatable. Truthfully, I’m most anxious to see the kitchen develop. I am über curious about the process of replacing just cabinet doors; that info will be so helpful. Definitely eager to see your take on the two-tone look! I’m also dying over that refrigerator! Haven’t we talked about how interesting-looking fridges didn’t really seem to exist (unless you want something retro)? The one you chose is SO cool. Of course, all of the details and styling will deliver major inspiration. Fall is going to be amazing! Cheers to a fab week!💜

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thank you, Peggi! The comments are finally back up and running, so I’m excited to catch up. I’m still sorting some things out, but I’ll do a proper intro as soon as it’s totally finished! I’m very eager to get going on the basement. Everything has been ordered and I’ve got my eyes peeled for a few key vintage pieces. I can’t wait to take everyone along for the ride. I think it’s going to be fun. The refrigerator is the coolest! It hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ve got something special planned for it. Hope you’re also having a fab week!

  4. Is your basement “daylight”, i.e., the windows are fully above ground? Mine are primarily below-ground and even after we expanded to really large egress-safety windows, I struggle with low light. Would love to see a blog post on how to address that (bonus: those tiny half-windows at the top of the ceiling, which I still have in my basement family room as they couldn’t be expanded during our remodel).

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Our basement is not “daylight”. We only have egress windows. Luckily they’re large windows, but it’s definitely a darker space as opposed to other areas in our home. Great idea for a future blog post- thank you!

  5. Love the new website Sarah! I’m still looking around but what I’ve seen so far is fantastic. And the plan for the basement is gorgeous. I’m so happy you are keeping the blue in the media room and that sectional looks dreamy. Two toned cabinets for the bar and that marble…..wowza it’s going to be stunning 😍 Quick question regarding the flooring. It’s beautiful, can hardwood be used in a basement? I’ve never heard of the brand before, I’m looking forward in hearing more about it. Such a fabulous design plan and excited for you!
    Good luck on the demo! Have a super fab day! Xo

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thank you so much, Colleen! The comment section is finally back up and running, so I have major catching up to do. There are a few other portions of the site that are still a work in progress, but I’m really happy with it and I’m excited to be back. The flooring I selected is approved for basement use! I’ll share all the details about it and why it’s an appropriate choice once I begin installation. As always, thanks for your kind words- hope you’re having a great week!

  6. The media section is stunning and it will be exciting to see your touch on the rest of the space to match it! Loving all the choices. One question about the electric fireplace – do newer models put out a good amount of heat? Maybe twelve years ago we installed a propane fireplace, chosen over electric for heat output, and we want to replace it with something that can really crank out heat. Thinking pellet stove though I don’t love the profile. But curious where electric falls now.

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thanks, Dawn! Electric fireplaces have definitely come a long way. I still prefer gas or a wood burning option, but in spaces that can’t accommodate a chimney or gas line- it’s an excellent solution (for aesthetics that include a heat source). Our main floor fireplace is gas and it can increase the temp on our main level by 10 degrees in under an hour. It’s quick and nice, and the cost reflected that. I’ll keep you posted on how the electric one I selected does once we have it installed and have lived with it.

  7. Love that you are keeping and building upon the media room! I love the cozy drapery and velvet panels and the way the navy everything envelopes the room.

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thank you, Abby! I’m really excited to enhance this space further, while keeping it the same. I think it’s going to be really pretty and functional.

  8. I’m very excited to follow along with you on this new renovation journey, Sarah! I’m very pleased that you’re keeping the media room design as-is, as its so beautiful and unique to you! It actually inspired my own DIY basement media room/office makeover. Through your design process, I learned how to balance out darker/more saturated colours in a low-light space, and I’m so thrilled with how it all turned out. Your work inspires me! :)

  9. That stone is perfect! I’ve been trying to hunt down something very similar to this and haven’t had any luck – can you share a few places you’ve looked locally? Or did you order from out of state? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Beautiful design as always!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thanks so much, Carolyn! You should be able to find this at any marble retailer in your area… just ask for Italian viola marble slabs. Hope that helps! It’s all imported and readily available.

  10. So exciting!! I’d love to hear how you arrived at picking flooring for your basement. I wanted to use engineered hardwood for our basement, but I was advised against it because it’s the basement. They said they would have to glue the hardwood down, and if there is any water damage it would be difficult (not impossible) to replace. Thanks so much and I look to reading about everything. You have exquisite taste!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thanks, Diana! I’ve got a post devoted to our flooring choice and the installation process coming later this month. I definitely want to go into detail about my selection and how it applies to basement installation. We are glueing it down (also acts as a water membrane), though it can be floated. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  11. It’s going to be warm, inviting and cozy. Love the fireplace built in unit. I’ve been thinking of doing this myself. Please share your source for this.