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In most cases, Hayley Francis of Neon Doves would go saturated and moody for a basement. “Typically I just own the darkness,” she says. And while that may be the right call for a TV room, her clients, a family outside of Seattle, needed the space to serve multiple functions—as a workspace, a gym, a laundry room, and yes, a place to watch movies. So in this case, a deep color wasn’t going to work.

The designer quickly found out that her go-to white paint shade wasn’t the right move either. Normally she gravitates toward Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee, but because this project was underground, she needed all the brightness she could get, so she swerved to Simply White, which reflects more light than the former. (She says to always test it first, because it can sometimes read green.) 

The basement, before.

Once the shade was settled, she went to work on removing the blue shag carpet and replacing it with vinyl flooring. (Real wood was a risk in case of flooding.) She then started filling the space within the client’s three-month timeline, which meant she could only buy in-stock furniture (hello, CB2 sofa). A Home Depot vanity found its place in the bathroom, where Lowe’s subway tile covers the shower walls. In lieu of real terrazzo, which would take time and money, Francis used a wallpaper she discovered on Etsy to give the laundry nook a similar vibe, but she splurged on a real marble slab that she split between the bathroom and the bar.

And for the actual TV zone, oak built-ins would have been out of budget, so Francis pivoted to beadboard on the walls to give the room texture. Below, IKEA Besta cabinets adorned with white Sarah Sherman Samuel for Semihandmade fronts give the console a custom look. 

The result? A bright and airy space that, at some angles, doesn’t look like a basement at all.