Home Improvement: Before and After, Our Chic Cheap Basement Man Cave

First of all, I prematurely posted this before/after post two times.

Sorry about that, it just really wanted to be posted and I was not going fast enough I guess. :)

My goal with this overhaul of the basement/bathroom was not to win any decorating awards.

I avoided Pinterest, decorating blogs or really any other online resources.

I didn’t want these rooms to be overly staged and unlivable because of too many expensive accessories and DIY projects.

I just shopped online, consignment stores, and Target/Ikea to pull things I liked (and that I knew my family would like, ie not girly).

The purpose was to create an inviting place for the my stepsons to watch TV on the weekends…because if they watch TV with us upstairs they usually complain that Joe and I kiss and cuddle too much for their liking: )And also because I could watch 48 Hours about 24 hours a day. The kids can only take so many murder shows I guess. :)

It really did have a castle dungeon-like ambiance going on down there…which is great at Medieval Times.

We just like to differentiate between our home and theme restaurants.

So anyway I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I did want a comfortable room with meaningful decorations.

Oh and all the guys requested blue walls. Not light blue and not navy blue. Somewhere in between. Apparently they are opinionated in regards to blue.

I think I accomplished what was wanted.


And thankfully I was able to spread the costs over about four months so it didn’t rock our bank account too much.


Basement Before 1
Creamy Yellowy White Walls = gross

Before 3

Basement Before 2


Basement Bathroom


Basement Makeover
Oak vanity before the gel stain treatment



During: We painted, fluffed, steamed, stained, vacuumed, painted some more and then took a nap.

Poppi, the chihuahua, was the paint inspector.
These $13 white roman shades really helped give some privacy to the room.

basement 2

Blue accent wall painted, new mirror and vanity light hung.
final basement 1
Hung new light, and freshly stained “old” media unit in the background


After:   A functional clean room for the kids to hang out with friends.

final 3
The recliner and sofa were both second hand finds in excellent condition.

basement 7

final 6

final 2

final 5
The dark gel stain on the media cabinet really updated it.

basement 10

Basement Bathroom

basement 3
Freshly stained oak bathroom vanity.
basement 5
Modern brushed nickel hardware
basement 7
Love this little owl hook.
The wall art was painted by my husband in elementary school.

Here is the run down of the costs and sources:

Thankfully the tile flooring is in great shape so we could leave it as is, but it did need an area rug to warm up the space. And the rest of the stuff in the room I already owned.

  • 5 pieces of art from my husband’s art class days in elementary school, my mother-in-law let me raid her stash of his old art work when we were in MI at her house in July.
  • $200 (3 years ago), 11×14 sisal area rug was from my old apartment, but fit the shape of the room perfectly.
  • Reused coffee table, lamp and media console that my husband already had
  • $60+$40 (about a year ago) Reused brown velvet drapes from World Market and curtain hardware
  • $40 (5 years ago), Old trunk from Salvation Army as a sofa table
  • Free- Spray paint for a rusty toilet paper holder overhaul

Overall, I am very pleased with how this room turned out. We don’t spend a lot of time down here but when we do it’s nice to have it looking nice:) and not dungeon like.

Honestly the best change for me was getting rid of those creamy yellowy white walls. They were just gross.

And my favorite things in the room are the art we bought on our trips this summer and my husband’s elementary school art. And of course my  $275 Craigslist Haverty’s leather sofa. :)

before after

before after bathroom

What do you think? How did we do with our function cheap chic overhaul?


21 thoughts on “Home Improvement: Before and After, Our Chic Cheap Basement Man Cave

  1. It looks absolutely brilliant!, well done, you are so fortunate to have so much space……the boys must be so chuffed to have their own space to chill. I find it amazing how much more space generally houses in the USA have!!. Also, a useful and private space for guests when the basement is unoccupied. x Helen UK

    1. Thanks, Helen. It’s a simple makeover. And you are right. We do have lots of space in houses in the US. I was surprised when I visited the UK how small the houses are:)

      1. Very small!, well, in comparison that is to the USA. My brother lives in NY and his house is ginormous!. I guess we live on a small island and space is at an absolute premium, tho maybe our houses could be classed as ‘cosy’!.
        God bless

  2. What color was the gel stain for the bathroon vanity. What prep was involved before appying the stain? It all looks awesome!

    1. Hi Sharon, if you click the photo of the stain you will see the amazon link. The color is in the description on the photo, Java. As I stated in the post, I did a very light sanding in areas that seemed extra glossy but otherwise just dusted the vanity and media unit before staining.

  3. Hi! Looks Great! Do you have a picture of the light fixture from Overstock installed? I’m looking at it for my living room at Overstock which is how I found your blog, but was hoping to see a picture of it as well! If you could send me one or post it somewhere, I’d love to see it! Thanks,

  4. Looks great! I found your blog because I am looking at the same light fixture on Overstock! Do you happen to have a photo of the fixture installed? I’d love to see it, will help me make my decision on purchasing it for our living room! Thank you!

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