Then, Now, and Next: Comparing Our Previous and Current Basement Family Rooms, to Our Upcoming Theater Room

June 14, 2021

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It’s time for a new “Then, Now, and Next” post, this time featuring our family rooms! Well sort of. In our next house this will translate into a theater room (the room that actually made us almost not get the house). It’s kind of this awkward, long and narrow room that’s not very large. It’s actually right off of where the playroom will be and when we looked at the house a second time it just clicked–THIS IS WHERE THE TV GOES! We’ll get into it more, but for now let’s look closer at our family room in the last house, this house, and peek at some before photos of the future theater room.






Just the other day I was talking about how I actually really miss our previous family room. It was truly a multi-purpose space (theater room, playroom, game room, music room) and somehow it worked! We divided it into moments but it all flowed together seamlessly. Overall it was more of a light, bright, and airy space (which is nice to see in a basement), but it’s a big contrast to our current dark and moody family room.

Sectional, Rug, Toy Storage, Pendant Light, Round Mirror

There are so many things in this basement that were kind of ground-breaking back in the day. The engineer prints, an indoor swing, a dark contrast wall, guitars on the wall, two light pendants above a table, toy storage that’s functional AND classy, hanging curtains in a basement… I could go on. This room looks and feels loungy, modern, traditional, and playful! Still love that space!!!


You can find all of the sources here!

Differences and similarities? The images kind of speak for themselves don’t they?? Overall I think our family room now is much more elevated and intimate (another word for a lot smaller, too). We incorporated a lot more creams and beiges with the sofa and pillows to soften the green black walls that were perfect for disguising all of the speakers and sensors. Funny enough we had an Interior Define sectional in the previous family room, and this sectional is our Charly sofa line with Interior Define. We love a sectional and it’s key for casual lounging. I went even wider with the curtains to add more visual depth to the space. The contrast between the white curtains and dark wall actually reminds me of the contrast between the dark feature wall and the white walls.


See what I mean by a little awkward? It’s really long and quite narrow–to the point where there would be little clearance for even a bed. Our plans for this room are still premature, but we do know for sure that this will be the only room in the house that will have wall-to-wall carpet to help with sound quality. Everywhere else in the house will have white oak flooring. We might close off the door leading to the bathroom and borrow some of that space for an upstairs laundry room. This will allow us to extend seating from wall to wall (I’m thinking of doing tiered so everyone gets a great view and we can maximize it in a small space). Style wise, this room will lend more on the modern colonial side which you can read more about here.

Be sure to check out our previous “Then and Now” posts of our primary bathrooms, living rooms, and the girls’ rooms.

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What do you think?

  1. GBR says:

    Very impressed by your gull to call that first space groundbreaking!

    • Julie says:

      If you have the gall to leave an unnecessarily snarky comment, I would check your spelling first. :)

    • TDM says:

      She says “back in the day..” and it was pretty neat and ahead in regards to renovations.

    • Annalisa says:

      It’s “gall,” not “gull,” so if you’re going to be a critical troll, you should probably learn the difference. She was ahead of the curve and has set trends that have been copied heavily, which is why you’ve seen it a lot now. Where are your projects for us to evaluate?

  2. Hayley says:

    What color white are you doing for most walls in the new house?

  3. Emma says:

    Oh man! Soooo different. In all the years I’ve followed you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many photos of your first basement space. It truly was multi-purpose and man I still love every bit of it! I love the timelessness of your style! You design so well and always find the mix of trendy and classic so it reads well in any year. Well done! Can’t wait to see the new different space!

  4. RC says:

    What about a floating wall with built-ins on both sides. TV on one side, toy storage on the other?

    • Julia says:

      We have two rooms, so I think we’re just going to stick with the larger, sunnier playroom and the smaller, more intimate theater room.

  5. Lisa says:

    Question: Would you still do this level of dark and moody in the basement if you didn’t have the full-height window?

    I adore your current family room and would love to paint it this dark, but I need to convince my husband who is on the “white will make it feel lighter” train. We have bay window bumpouts on the first floor which mean that we are unable to expand the small half-windows in the basement. I especially love your dramatic white curtains against the black walls, but without full windows, what can I replace that brightening element with?

  6. Kristen Eff says:

    We use a drop down projector screen for media watching and it’s great! Design-wise, you also don’t have to accommodate a TV screen. For me personally, it helps eliminate casual media consumption because it’s just enough effort to turn it on and buzz it down for it to be an “event.” A projector with drop down screen may provide more placement options.

  7. Aline says:

    Hey! About the family room: why not make the bigger room (that is meant to be the playroom for the girls) actually the TV/ family room, and make the smaller room the playroom/study room for the girls? The bigger room seems better for all of the family to enjoy together and the other one would be better to hide kids mess or to give more privacy for studies?

    I’m only suggesting because you’re still deciding what to do, hope you dont my mind my two cents! Anyway i’m sure you’ll do whats best for your family and your needs and i love to be here for it! 😘

    • Julia says:

      Honestly, there’s not a wall for a TV in the playroom. Haha. Maybe 1 small option. There’s so many angles and because we don’t watch a ton of tv, I think the smaller more intimate room would make a better theater room. But we’ll definitely consider everything!

  8. Dairyn says:

    White oak floor? In the new house?

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