Basement After Stair Wall

Our 1970s Basement Update: Drop Ceiling is Done & Walls are Painted!

Before & After House & Home

YOU GUYS! You haven’t heard from me because I’ve been dancing the past two weeks (oh, and working 😉). I’m dancing because I still can’t believe it. My drop ceiling is done! And surprise – we got new windows and our walls are painted too! I actually finished our basement drop ceiling last week, but I took a minute to breathe and enjoy it. Sometimes we forget that part should be part of the process!

Kristin Last Ceiling Tile

Since I shared so much of our process and drop ceiling details in this post, I won’t go into too many details. If you want the gritty details and product links, head here. Today is reserved for celebrating, so here are alllll the before and after photos!

Remember the wood paneling and mullet drop ceiling? Some of the grid was from the 1970s, some painted pink, and oh yes – the wood paneling IN the ceiling. If I knew then what I know now, we may have gone another route with the ceiling!

Basement Before Wide

SUCH. A. BIG. IMPROVEMENT. The last few pieces of the drop ceiling were über tricky – especially the one with the vent! We actually ran out of ceiling tiles, but luckily Mike found a very similar style of tile sold individually instead of $70 for a box of 12.

Basement After Wide Looking at Window

We debated between painting the walls white or gray. When we sampled a few colors (and I always recommend painting sample swatches), the grays looked much darker and the white made the drop ceiling stand out too much. SO, we went for the in-between: Sherwin-Williams Eider White. Eider White has a slight gray tint to it, but instead of a yellow or blue undertone, it has a pink undertone. I don’t notice it much, but I wanted to be sure to tell you as you pick paint for your next project!

Facing TV

Basement After TV Space

It took 2.5 gallons of paint, but the process of painting all the walls seemed like I was going at light-speed compared to the two months of working on my ceiling! Honestly, I was thrilled to be working on anything that wasn’t a drop ceiling. We bought 3 gallons of the Sherwin Williams Harmony brand when it was 30% off and got it tinted later. (A little tip for you: I always buy my paint on sale and get it tinted at a later date!)

Before Basement Wide Ceiling

Basement After Looking at Stairs

What do you think, friends? It’s truly amazing the difference paint makes in a space! We actually love the way the wood paneling looks painted. The finished product is certainly not perfect. The ceiling still drives me crazy a little bit since it’s not “fading away” as I hoped it would, but we are so thankful for this low budget makeover – using what we have to make our space better than before.

We spent a total of $100 on the basement ceiling – not including the lighting or windows of course. I’d say that’s a pretty big improvement for such a small budget!!! I’ve got to keep it in perspective. SO THANKFUL.

Stair Wall

Basement After Stair Wall

Here’s where we are so far in the 1970s Basement Update checklist:

  • Get quotes for electrical, plumbing, and flooring
  • Price out materials for DIY projects
  • Remove all ceiling tiles and unwanted parts of the drop ceiling
  • Patch, sand, and clean ceiling grid
  • Paint ceiling grid & inset wood paneling
  • Electrician install can lighting, remove fluorescent lights, update outlets & switches
  • Plumber to update pipes while ceiling tiles are out
  • Install ceiling tiles (without gouging my eyes out)
  • Remove vinyl floorboards
  • Prep and paint stairwell ceiling
  • Order flooring from Home Depot for delivery by March
  • Patch, repair, and sand wood paneling
  • Prime wood paneled walls
  • Paint wood paneled walls
  • Prime trim & doors
  • Paint trim & doors
  • Remove hardware from built-in cabinets
  • Use liquid sander and then clean cabinet doors
  • Prime built-in cabinets
  • Paint built-in cabinets
  • Use spray paint to update stairwell light fixture, cabinet pulls, and door handles
  • Sell old pieces (or other things around the house) to put into our budget
  • Go on vacation to Florida 🙂
  • Contractor install flooring and baseboards
  • Onto the fun part of decorating, but that’s for another list

Base of Stair Cabinets

Basement After Cabinets

What’s Next?

Next on the list is to paint our doors and trim using Behr Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel color-matched to Pure White by Sherwin-Williams. And then we’ll move on to the built-in cabinets. Y’all, I just realized there are 26 doors…SEND HELP! Haha.

Obviously, this project has taken a bit more time than we anticipated – don’t they always?! Luckily for us (and we wouldn’t normally be excited about this), our contractor was running a few weeks behind. So instead of our mid-March deadline, it’s been moved back to April! The goal is to get the doors, trim, and cabinets painted and ready to go by the time our contractor is ready for us (okay, and maybe the stairs)! It’s been so nice to not have to worry about getting paint on our new floors! 🙂

Thank you for following along with us! I’m not sure if I would have made it through that drop ceiling had it not been for you guys cheering us on!

In case you missed it, here are the other posts in this series!

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4 thoughts on “Our 1970s Basement Update: Drop Ceiling is Done & Walls are Painted!”

  1. Amazing Kristin! Love the list and that there is still so much to do. In awe of your perseverance with these projects and your patience.

  2. WOW! Great job! Amazing! I like the wider white but it is very pink in pictures! But it looks so brighter and happy in that spot! Can’t believe how much work you have done! You home looks beautiful!

    1. Thank you, Jyll! Yes, the change is pretty wild – we love it!! We knew it had the pink undertone before we decided on it; we actually have it painted in our half-bathroom as well! I think once the everything else is in, we won’t be able to notice it. It doesn’t help that the walls used to be pink, so we still see that in our brain! haha. Thank you for your kind words!

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