Our Reading Nook In The Basement


A few weeks ago, I shared a look at our basement finally decked out with some furniture.

The Jonathan extended sofa from Castlery..our new basement furniture

We’ve been loving this space and spending lots of time down here as a family. But, there is still work to be done! While the hangout area is just about complete, I’m getting started on the playroom zone, which is located just in front of the couch zone.

The new wallpaper in the basement

From the start, we’ve wanted to create a little area for toys, a reading nook, and the kids’ coloring table. Before I show you my progress, I want to rewind a bit…

The Bench Area Before

The large "stage" near the window

If you remember our old basement, we had this weird “stage” that was carpeted with a little door on the bottom. It was too deep to call it a bench and it mostly had random crap on it (like the dumbbells above). It was built over the water main line and the little door was there to access it, although we still needed a crowbar to open it because it would get stuck on the carpet. Grrr.

The status of the basement

The bench was ripped out during our flood remediation process and then rebuilt during our renovation.

Choosing new basement paint colors

We still needed access to the main water line (no moving that thing!), so I had my contractors build a smaller bench with a door that lifts open on the top for easy access. This is so much better than that silly door. I also had them make the drywall the same depth (it wasn’t in the previous basement setup), so things would look a tad less wonky and more symmetrical.

Our Basement Reading Nook

Our new basement reading nook

And here’s what it looks like now! I sprayed everything with the color “Greige” by Clare paint and it’s beautiful. I’m a big fan of window benches (just look at Rory’s room,) and wanted to make the most of this space. A reading nook was absolutely the right call!

The Custom Cushion

Our custom cushion from Patio Lane for the reading nook

It all started with a custom cushion from Patio Lane. I used Patio Lane for the cushions in our kitchen breakfast nook and we love them. (Although I do wish I didn’t make them quite as thick. You live and you learn!) It was a no-brainer to order from them again because they can customize everything – the fabric, color, size, welting, and more. Here are the specifics for my exact cushion…

  • Fill: Medium Firm Foam with Dacron Wrap
  • Fabric: Sunbrella Renaissance Heritage Leaf
  • Thickness: 3 inches
  • Size: 84″ x 25″
  • Details: Double-welting, rounded front corners, squared rear

It took a few weeks to arrive and when I added it to the bench it immediately felt cozy and perfect. That night, Rory came running down the stairs, hopped right up there, and immediately asked me to bring her books. LOVE IT!

Our green cushion for our basement reading nook

The color (“Renaissance Heritage Leaf”) looks fabulous with our forest-scene wallpaper. I’m so happy I went with a dark green to complement the paper. Plus, I’m hopeful it will easily hide stains from my kiddos.

Installing Book Ledges

Adding book ledges to our basement

Speaking of books, I started with just a basket up here and eventually decided to add these three book ledges to the wall. I actually ordered these three years ago for Rory’s nursery and I never ended up using them because I didn’t have enough wall space. I’m so happy I never parted with them because they fit here perfectly!

Ellis using the reading nook and book ledges

It didn’t take me long to install them and I opted to use my favorite anchors so they’re extra secure with the kids tugging on them! Ellis can reach the bottom two shelves and Rory can reach all three, so we put her fave books up top. I love how these act as art down here (lots of color and fun!), while also providing vertical storage for some of their favorite reads.

The book ledges in our basement

If you want to make some custom book ledges, I have a tutorial for that! You can find that right here. You might save a few dollars and you can make them the exact size and color for your space.

My Favorite people book

We have so many books in our house and this is a tiny fraction of all of them. My plan is to continuously rotate these so the kids can have easy access to all of their faves. I get questions often about the custom book I made for each of our kids. It’s from Artifact Uprising and I included pictures of all of our relatives so the kids can learn their names/faces even if we don’t get to see everyone all the time. It’s a big hit around here.

Adding Lots of Pillows

Adding lots of pillows to our reading nook

Once the cushion arrived, I got to work finding some pillows for the space.

The pillows and blankets used in our reading nook

I actually picked up a few covers from my recent trip to Mexico, since they were easy to pack in my suitcase, so sadly, I don’t have many links for you. This pillow is a good one that used to live in the family room but has since made its way down here. I love the pattern and red/blue colors to match our basement rug.

Pillows in our basement reading nook

My best advice is to use a variety of sizes (bigger is usually better – around 20×20) and then add some lumbar pillows too. Oh, and of course a cozy blanket. Here are links to some similar-looking pillows…

The Kids’ Coloring Table

Our reading nook in the basement is so cozy

My mom got us this coloring table a few years ago and it’s one of my favorite items we have for the kids. They use it all day every day! Whether they are coloring, doing puzzles, or having a snack, they can sit right here. The best part is that the height is adjustable, so the taller they get, the higher we can raise it. We ended up getting four chairs to match, but in two different sizes, so it ages with them.

Our basement reading nook

This coloring table is a must for this playroom area and it isn’t going anywhere!

Basement Reading Nook – Sources

Our new basement reading nook

Wall Color, Clare Paint “Greige” in eggshell // Door & Trim Colors, Benjamin Moore “Simply White” in a satin finish // Wallpaper // Book Ledges // Cushion in “Renaissance Heritage Leaf”) // Coloring Table // Red Pillow

Choosing basement furniture

Sofa // Leather Ottoman // TV Stand // Rug (navy/multi) // Throw Blanket // Basket Tray // Red Lumbar Pillow (similar) // Turkish Pillow (this Etsy shop)  // White Vase // Green Tray (similar) // Aviary Coffee Table Book

What’s Next?

Ellis playing in the basement

This is just the start of this little playroom area. We still want to add some storage along the wall for toys and in the closet near the couch. That is all a work in progress and I’ll report back soon. For now, I’m very happy with our new reading nook and so are the kids!

In the meantime, I’m knee-deep in our basement bathroom renovation. I’m trying to just do one project at a time, but it can get tough!

Catch Up On The Basement

Casey


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.