Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward us a small commission – at no extra cost for you.
I’ve found that there are a few major things in life that will really test your patience: children and building a house. If we’re being all technical about it, we were supposed to move in last month. But of course, when do things ever go according to plan? I’m learning to continually adjust my expectations (as in, learn to have none) while also embracing (not just enduring) the season of life that we’re in.
But that’s enough about the problems. (Poor you, your new custom home isn’t finished when you want it to be? Yes, I hear it.)
There are certain times when I need a mental break and just can’t think about the house for a month or so, but for the most part, designing and dreaming of the space we’re eventually going to live in is what keeps me going. (You know, besides family, love, and faith.)
And because we just started framing last week (yipee!), I’m giving myself permission to finish the design plans. So I might as well share them too! Interior design isn’t something I wanted to hire out, though I totally understand why people do. I’ve just been having way too much fun with this part!
This is the start of a long series of mood board room reveals, so buckle up. First, we’ll start with the basement because this is the area they’re framing first.
Our Basement Plan
We are building a ranch (or rambler) home with a walk-out basement. This is one of the most, if not the most, common styles of homes where we live. New basements here are treated as an extension of the main living space. And though we have the freedom to do whatever home we want, this is the layout we like best.
In our basement, we’ll have a family room with a fireplace, a kitchenette, a full bathroom, a guest room, a playroom, Titus’ office, a workshop/garden garage, my office, and storage.
Our current new normal in our rental is an unfinished basement that is smelly and gets water in it. Short on space, we still use it to play and hang out and we’ve made it work. Literally anything will be an upgrade after this!
We’ll have taller than average ceilings and that, coupled with the extra big windows we made sure to put in, will make this feel more like a stylish hang-out space instead of your typical basement.
Okay, so that’s an overlook at what our basement will have. Now for the fun stuff…
Our Basement Inspiration
The overall design inspiration for the house is European inspired. For the basement, I want to go a little bit cozier and moodier because the basement is where we can kick back and relax.
I like the patterned rugs, cozy fabrics, and deep colors, balanced out with brass accents and a little bit of glam. The overall feeling I want is cozy, rich, comfortable, warm, and relaxing.
Our Basement Mood Board + Selections
The water problem in our current rental has ruined a lot of our things, but secretly I feel okay about that because I wanted to start over anyway haha. Up until now, our basement furnishings and decor were always overflow pieces. Nothing ever felt very intentional, so I’m grateful I get the chance to be selective about the furniture we have.
The main item I’m designing the basement around is this olive green sectional, aka, “the pit”.
I took advantage of a Labor Day deal and we’ve already been using it! There are a few small things I would change about it (such as a taller back and a softer cushion), but all in all, we love it. It’s the perfect family basement couch.
Everyone can fit on it and then some. It’s modular, so you can do a few different configurations to fit your space. The velvet is cozy as is the dark green.
I want the basement to be really kid-friendly, without necessarily looking like it, so I’ve been strategic in all the furnishings and colors. I was debating a leather couch to easily clean up spills, but the modular aspect of this couch sold me. As did the color. Plus, we already got pizza sauce on it and all we had to do was wipe it up (as opposed to scrub it). Happy with the purchase!
On the topic of being kid-friendly, this rug seems perfect for a basement. Not only will the pattern hide dirt, but it’s washable! Perfect for the inevitable pizza sauce smear from Friday Family Fun (our little tradition).
Plus, the vintage style makes everything seem rich and cozy and it adds some interest and pattern to this space. I’m drawn to the rich colors not only because they make a space feel more inviting, but because they mimic our wooded surroundings, which is why I find greens and browns so enticing lately.
I’m leaning towards a round leather ottoman for a dual coffee table and footrest. Our sectional technically does have an extra cushion that could work as an ottoman, but if you’re not in the mood to relax in “the pit” then it does make getting in and out a little trickier. Something smaller with more space around it would be a nice addition.
To complement the couch, I already picked up these leather chairs. These will flank the fireplace. The only small thing is that I wish they would lock in place better when they’re reclined, but other than that, we’re very happy with them! The color and material are scrumptious and we’ve already spent many nights reading in them.
To hold a hot drink and to have a place to set a book, these brass cocktail tables will come in handy. (Currently trying to find something cheaper, but the cheaper ones all look fake.)
To hold blankets and games, I’m eyeing this cabinet. The cathedral arch detailing brings in some of the European details.
For flooring, I haven’t 100% decided yet. I’m debating between luxury vinyl plank or tile. Our stairs leading to the basement will be wood, so I don’t want them to butt up to fake vinyl wood.
So if we go LVP then I want to do something that doesn’t look like wood and it’s hard to find something I like. Tile sounds pretty, but also more expensive and not as soft as a landing for kids. I’m leaning towards LVP and I like the non-wood options below, though I haven’t received samples yet.
But then I was walking through Lowes and I saw these tiles in person that I really liked:
I don’t have to make a decision on anything right now (at least I don’t think I do haha), so I’m still mulling over it.
Now, for the kitchenette. My inspiration is a moody Parisian bistro bar. It won’t be the biggest space, but we have plumbing for a sink which will be really nice. We also plan to have a mini fridge and maybe even an oven.
On the opposite side of these cabinets, I kind of want to forgo the traditional bar/island and either do a stand-alone bar or a table for card games, puzzles, etc. I think I’ll just wait to see how it feels with all the furniture when we move in since a bar or island doesn’t have to be done right away.
We envision using this space as a family for hang-out nights and popping in a pizza, or making apple cider to sip on while we watch a movie. Or making some coffee as we take a break from working in our offices. And of course, it will be a bonus space for guests too!
There won’t be a ton of cabinets, so it’s a great time to bring in some color I wouldn’t normally do on a larger scale. I’m thinking of dark green cabinets with brass hardware.
What does almost every Parsian bar have in common? A glass backsplash! This antique mirrored backsplash looks so cool and would complement open shelving nicely. This type of backsplash is pretty pricey per sq ft, unfortunately, but when you’re doing a small area it’s not as bad.
Speaking of shelving, glass and brass open shelving is a common feature you’d see in Parisian bars too and I’ve been holding onto these shelves for a while. Can’t wait to actually use them in this space! (Let’s just hope they didn’t break in our multiple moves.)
For a Parisian vibe, black and white bistro bar chairs fit the assignment.
For countertops, I want to do marble. Yeah, maybe seems a little overkill for a basement, but I’ve been dying to have marble countertops in at least one place in the house! And if it’s too “risky” (my husband’s words) to use them in the kitchen, then a small-scale area like a basement kitchenette seems perfect.
To round out the design, I’ve been searching on Etsy for authentic French decor. I think authentic vintage pieces will add such a nice touch.
Can’t believe we’re finally far enough along in the process to start posting the mood boards. More to come!
In the meantime, continue to get Parisian interior inspiration here: How to Get a Parisian-Themed Kitchen That Is Très Chic