Project of the week: Repaint the basement

 I have a very dark basement, or at least I did prior to this week. The first picture is of my staircase the second is of the rest of the living room area (even with the flash it is pretty dark) and we wanted to brighten it up because the basement isn't very welcoming and doesn't really go with our style, but we have avoided painting it because, well frankly, it's burgundy (and who wants to try to paint that). Well, we decided to give it a shot because we are pretty tired of the darkness.

We decided to try the Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint, which has the primer in the paint and let me tell you- this stuff works! (makes me wish I had selected this type of paint for the kitchen too!) It is more expensive, but if you want to save time and effort- it's perfect. We did one coat over this very dark color and we were done! This room is pretty big to start off with, so we decided we would probably need two gallons to finish the drywall portions of the room. We also decided to do a two tone wall to give the room some additional interest. We selected Polar Drift for the upper wall and duct work and Blue Willow (which was a special request paint in Ultra because it isn't a standard color for that line) for the bottom of the wall. We ended up needing a third gallon to finish (as there is another set of walls just as big as this area that you cannot see in the pictures. I think it turned out really nice and much brighter. (No camera flash required). Yay!

The biggest issue with the two tone wall idea (especially if you don't have a chair rail like this room) is to make sure you get a REALLY straight line for that color split. To do this get an accurate level (my first attempt with a tiny little level definitely left something to be desired) and a pencil and draw a line all the way around. Don't measure from the floor as it is more than likely not even anyway. Once you draw that first line, paint the top color on the wall so that the edge on the bottom goes over that line. Then after it has completely dried, you will draw the line with the pencil and level again and using painters tape (I highly recommend Frog tape) carefully make a straight strip go above the line leaving the area you will be painting below. Then paint down starting on top of the tape to prevent any bleeds of the darker color from under the tape to above the line you drew. It's not perfect, but it looks pretty close even from within a foot, so I'm pleased with the result.

 I think the room looks much more inviting, especially with the new entertainment center/fireplace we installed because I am forevermore chilly- (see that picture of me sitting on the couch (writing this post) I am wearing sweatpants, sweatshirt and slippers with a thick lining). Our basement is always cold and winter is not my friend and it hasn't even gotten into full swing yet! I have always wanted a fireplace, but it's definitely out of the budget range to put in a real one, I also am not a fan of the look of the little (anti-tip, auto-shut-off) spaceheaters we had been using to get the basement a bit more comfortable in the middle of winter (there is only one central heating vent in the entire basement, and one cold air return, so whenever it fits into the budget you better bet I'll be adding some additional vents! In the meantime, we got this lovely little fireplace/media center from electricfireplacesdirect.com/ and I couldn't be more pleased. This room is huge and this little thing actually puts out enough heat to make it quite comfortable and the flames look realistic enough (it is LED lights- so it is fairly energy efficient too) to pass for the attractive aspect that fireplaces possess. Only downside is, of course, that in the event of a power outage, this fireplace won't work, but since it's from a place called electric fireplace direct - I obviously expected that. It really does add a nice focal point and as an added bonus hides the rather unattractive mass of cables that ran down the wall from the TV to the components. So there you have it! A much more cheerful and bright basement with a bit of ambience to boot.

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