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Basement Dwellers

Basement Dwellers

Why do teenagers like to be basement dwellers? 

Is it because they feel more independence when they are separated from the main space? I remember wanting to live in our basement when I was a kid, I was equally scared of being alone but also craved the separation. My daughter, Avery, was the first one to move into our basement when she was 16. Mind you, it’s an unfinished basement. Painted block walls and concrete floor and in the summer time it’s the perfect temperature to escape from the heat and humidity. My daughter is so independent that she would not let me help decorate or arrange furniture or anything. She wanted to do it all herself, and she did. As a Designer, this drove me crazy! I wanted to give my input SO BAD, but as a Mom, I felt so proud that she had the confidence to handle it herself. She did a nice job. She painted her dresser, arranged furniture, hung a parachute to cover the ugly exposed unfinished ceiling. 

Now let’s talk about Charlie. 

Charlie likes it when people do things for him. Don’t get me wrong, he is also a very independent young man, and a hard worker. But when it comes to his room, he is perfectly happy having a little input and then magically having things take shape without him. This works well for me too, because I love to take charge of the project and decorate. You see, comfort is my love language and it’s also my design style. I’ve never been one to admire high design and expensive price tags. Those things never impressed me much. I’d rather have a cotton covered sofa that you can sink into with a soft blanket and comfy pillows than the finest leather money can buy. Charlie likes comfort too, but he also likes brand names. Good thing he’s working now. 

When Avery moved into her first apartment, the only thing she left was a bed and a loveseat. Charlie wasn’t allowed to touch the loveseat though (per Avery) because “it’s white and he’ll ruin it” and she’s going to use it in her house (after apartment living is over). He didn’t care. Charlie got to upsize from a twin to a queen. He was pumped. He only asked one question. Is it comfy? Looks matter, but not as much as how comfy it feels. Oh, I should probably mention that Charlie is color blind. Sadly, it’s a trait that runs in the males in my family and sometimes Charlie can’t tell what color he’s looking at. I think this is partly why he likes having help from his Designer/Mom. 

Avery’s walls were white with a couple girly murals on them like “good vibes only” and some pink and yellow images. We did keep the landscape mural that was painted by a friend of Avery’s, because it fit within the outdoor theme we were aiming for. In order to masculine the place up a bit, we painted the walls a warm gray and the floor the color of dirt. Charlie is very outdoorsy, and works outside too. We just needed something darker to cozy it up a little, and hide some footprints if possible. The parachute that Avery hung on the ceiling is still there and covers the floor trusses and plumbing pipes nicely and it can be removed with no damage. There are even twinkle lights in it, but Charlie’s afraid they’ll catch the parachute on fire so he won’t use them. (They won’t, Avery used them for years). 

The solid wood dresser is a $20 thrift store find that I sanded down and painted. The bust of the deer is something I painted for him years ago and he still loves it. After painting the white, I went over the entire dresser with stain and then sealed it with polycrylic minwax. It’s still in great shape, 7 years and one teenager later. At some point, I may try to find a matching dresser and do one similar but with a fish on it, so my avid hunter/fisher has a set. Need some polycrylic for your project? Order it here with my affiliate link.

We already had the little mini chest of drawers from Avery’s old room upstairs. I took the iridescent knobs off and bought these cool deer knobs from amazon and switched them out. Simple update for under $20.

 Here’s the affiliate link if you need them too. Fyi, If you buy them, I will make a little commission.

Charlie’s couch. The room is pretty big and there is more than enough space for the queen bed, dresser, couch, and tv cabinet. His closet organizer is just outside his doorway, making it literally next to the laundry room. Even so, this kid can’t find a laundry basket to save his life. I’m starting to take it personally. Anyway, the couch. Originally I found this exact couch on facebook marketplace for $250 and I made plans with the seller to pick it up in two days. I had to arrange some muscle and a truck, luckily I have a brother with both! I was so excited. It was too small for them, so they didn’t use it. Score! Except someone came and got it the next day and then he told me it was gone. I found the same one on Amazon, still under $500. We needed the storage for extra pillows and blankets for when Avery comes home or Charlie has a friend over. The chaise lifts up for storage and the loveseat part extends and turns it into a queen size bed. Avery is the only one that has slept on it so far, and she says it’s very firm. For under $500 it’s built well and is staying in good shape. Plus it gives me a place to put all of the fun pillows I found for him! Oh, it came in 3 big boxes and there was a little assembly required, which is even better because if we (or Charlie after high school) move, it can be taken up the stairs in sections. 

Want the same couch? Here’s my affiliate link for it:

Let me save you time shopping. Anytime I open a blog, I always want to know where to get the cool things I see in the photos. So here you go. I have some affiliate links. Do you know what that means? It means, if you click on the link and buy the product, I get a little commission from it. 

The Fish More Work Less pillows are no longer available, but there are some other really great choices if you have a fisherman in your life. Check out this affiliate page:

The Deer in front of the American Flag pillow cover is still available, and you can find it here:

I have no idea where we found the Brown pillow, but here are some other great choices. I could do a whole room based on any one of these pillows:

The deer pillow on Charlie’s bed came from Tractor Supply in the store’s clearance bin, I loved it. He thinks it’s “ok”. 

The rust colored velvet pillows (that usually end up on his floor) came from a white elephant sale we had at my real estate office. I got the pair for $5. Amazing, right? 

The big fish pillow might have come from Bass Pro Shop in Nashville, and now I can’t find the exact one online, but here are some more similar options:

His fish pillow never leaves his bed. He’s 17 years old. 

I’m pretty sure that sums up the pillows. What can I say, pillows are the epitome of comfort. 

The tapestry. Let’s talk about that a little. Because the walls are just concrete block, I did not like leaving the head of the bed unfinished. Charlie couldn’t have cared less, he had plenty of pillows so it didn’t bother him at all. I was on a budget though and the sofa cost me almost double what I planned on, so I didn’t want to spend another couple hundred on a headboard. So, I did what all reasonable people do.. I opened my Pinterest app and looked for ideas. What I came across was one that was homemade with a simple wooden frame and a tapestry, and I thought “omg duh”. I can absolutely just use a tapestry of some kind. It just needs to be a cool visual, it really has no function. Guess how much it was? Under $15. Seriously. Then I bought some thumbtack looking things to pound into the block to secure it. I bought the 51x59 inch size which fit perfectly across the queen size bed. If I ever do it again, I may stretch that tapestry over a wooden frame and give it legs, because trying to pound anything into concrete blocks is a complete nightmare. I was sweating and cussing the whole time. I don’t recommend that route if you can help it. Seriously, don’t. And if you know of a product that’s made for holding decorations on concrete walls, drop me a line. I would love to know about it! 

My affiliate link for the tapestry: These would make great options for dorm rooms and rentals too! 

We went shopping for the rugs for Charlie’s floor. A while back while at Menard’s I had seen a rug that looked like a tree trunk and I thought Charlie was exactly the right audience for that, because he does tree work (that’s his job). He didn’t want it. He wanted something that felt soft on his bare feet and didn’t want an old lady rug. I can’t say I blame him, it wasn’t the right style for us. I kept looking for greens, browns, beiges, even the rust color to keep with the woodsy feel of everything else. As I’m flipping through my pile of rugs, I hear “MOM! You have to feel this. Oh my god. This is the one.” Shopping with Charlie is always fun. He’s usually really quiet, with spurts of dramatic. So I make my way to his pile and he is facedown on a high shag, BLUE, carpet. Remember before I told you that he’s color blind? This is relevant here. Luckily it wasn’t bright blue, but more of a grayed down version and it was varied too, not a solid color. Actually, when you stood back a little, it resembled water. It was 5x7 and we would need two of them. So we flip it over and find out that it was only $49.99! I was like heck ya, get two. That little bit of blue on the floor is cushy on the toes but also brings in the feel of water which he loves, since he’s an avid fisherman. We bought our rugs at Ollie’s Bargain outlet, so if you don’t have one near you, here’s my affiliate link to the closest one amazon has. Amazon’s version looks a little brighter than what we bought, but still only $50 for a 5x7. That’s a win.

The taxidermy all came from family. The deer is his sister's first and only kill and the deer was butchered and eaten. The beaver pelt was harvested on the day Charlie was born by his uncle. I don’t believe you eat that meat, but I could be wrong. The snapping turtle shell came from his dad, after they ate turtle stew. And he got the pheasant from his dad too, an avid hunter. The colors are so striking, I had no idea until he brought it home. The wooden lamp was a $5 find at Goodwill, and I made the Buck Off sign out of an old piece of wood siding that came from one of my construction projects. We picked up a few of the metal signs at our local flea market, and picked up a few from amazon. Yes, I have the affiliate link. There are a lot to choose from, go nuts!

Do you see something you want more info on? Drop me a line. The only thing I ask is that you keep in mind this is a real room. In a real house, that gets slept in and messed up. It’s not a room in a magazine, in a sound state, or a photo studio. Being a designer doesn’t always mean expensive and it doesn’t always mean perfect. It means designed for the user. Job accomplished. I may or may not have even made myself comfortable there and watched a movie when he wasn’t home when we first finished it. I’ll never tell. 

May you be surrounded by comfort and love, 



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