Cara Bremer of Annandale wants to turn her basement into a playroom for her 13-month-old daughter, Lydia. She’d like to incorporate wall decals, additional lighting and lots of color. “Calmness need not be evoked here,” she wrote. Her budget is about $1,500.


By adding an activity table and lots of lighting, designer Denise Willard turns the dark basement into a bright rec room.

Brighten a dull basement with sconces, floor lamps and a chandelier.

Highlight the alphabet with removable wall decals, an educational twist on the fun space.

Cara Bremer with daughter Lydia. (Leah L. Jones/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

An ottoman can double as storage. Use it to hold extra blankets, books or art supplies.

Choose kid-friendly and interactive decor. A personalized chart lets children track their growth.

An arts-and-crafts area keeps messy activities away from the couch and ottoman.

Neutral walls balance bright accessories. Walls are Concord Ivory by Benjamin Moore.

Store supplies within a child’s reach. Low storage makes for an easy cleanup.

Decor by Denise (703-714-7343, www.decorbydenise.com) is based in Vienna.


Furniture: Eastern orange wool rug ($160 for 5-by-8, www.overstock.com); Kivik footstool with storage in Blekinge white ($130, www.ikea.com); Trofast storage combination in white ($175, www.ikea.com).

Lighting: Alang floor lamp ($40, www.ikea.com); White Swag plug-in chandelier ($100, www.lampsplus.com); Basisk wall spotlight ($15 each, www.ikea.com).

Accessories: Animals A-Z kids wall decals by BeautifulWalls ($70, www.etsy.com); Lavello accent table in blue ($125 each, www.homedecorators.com); Day-to-Day Daisy corkboard ($20, www.landofnod.com); chevron pillow in turquoise (not available online, www.target.com); Animals growth chart ($60, www.landofnod.com); linen grommet panels ($60 for a set of two, www.homedecorators.com).


Klyne sofa in Delight Meadow ($1,200, www.crateandbarrel.com).

Classic Playtime Vanilla Deluxe activity table ($300, www.childrenstablesandchairs.com).

. . . OR SAVE

Portfolio Engle apple green linen sofa ($430, www.overstock.com).

Brighton KidKraft table in white ($90, www.walmart.com).

Tell us about your design challenge.

Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com.