Basement Updates: Using Gift Wrap To Obscure Clear Doors

We’re back with our weekly basement update (here’s where we left off) and this week we painted the dingy built-in cabinet, added some art, obscured the semi-sheer doors to our armoires and brought in a bevy of bins to organize everything we have on hand (and everything we’re sure we’ll acquire down the line- now there’s lots of room to grow). Here’s just a taste of the latest updates:

But before we get to all the dirty details we owe a huuuuuge thank you to the wonderful peeps at True Value who made a lot of this week’s undertakings possible thanks to their generous gift card (which we’ve been using left and right these days). True Value was the source of the paint for the built-in and a slew of storage bins that we picked up to maximize both armoires and the space under the little Ikea table that we already owned near the door. Our basement never looked so good. Seriously the spiders who used to live down there wouldn’t even recognize the place. Thanks True Value!

But back to this week’s latest projects. First we grabbed some crisp white semi-gloss paint to clean up the built-in wall cabinet that we inherited with the house (we have big plans for what we’ll store there so stay tuned). Here’s what we started with, just to refresh your memory:

And here’s how it looks with a few coats of white paint. It honestly looks as new as our recently purchased Ikea desk to the left of it. Yay paint!

You also may have noticed that we dealt with the semi-sheer panels on the two wardrobes we recently picked up. See, after we filled one with our giant Christmas tree bag and added a few bins up top…

… and used the other armoire to house eight variously sized bins (only two of which we’ve filled- so we still have a lot of available real estate)…

… we were left with colors coming through the fronts of the doors, which looked a bit chaotic and unbalanced thanks mostly to the big red tree bag on the right.

So we snagged two rolls of green and white wrapping paper from Target and cut them each down the middle of the roll to create four nearly perfectly sized panels of paper that we trimmed down a bit more and double-stick-taped to the inside of each door.

Presto, fun color and pattern that comes right through the semi-sheer door panes and adds some textured interest to the entire room. And the total project cost was just $6 (with some paper left over to wrap a few presents). Can’t beat that with a stick.

And you might notice the art hanging above the armoire (along with the large black and white framed print leaning above the table near the window). Well, the print near the window was one that we already had laying around – and it was as if it was meant for the basement (the black frame and moody art looks great with the black stripes in our rug). And the long framed piece above the armoire was actually a recent groomsman gift for John (it’s our last name spelled out in photographs of objects that resemble letters) and it also worked perfectly with the newly spruced basement color scheme.

But how did we hang the print above the armoire when our cinder block walls are so famously difficult to screw into (everything we’ve attempted to secure into the wall pulls out seconds later with a puff of dust)? Well, we grabbed some Command Picture Hanging Strips… and they did the trick! They’re super strong sticky strips that act sort of like extra-strength velcro to hold things in place.

You just remove the protective backing and stick one side to the back of the frame…

… and remove the other side’s protective backing and stick that side of the strip to the wall. Then you apply some decent pressure to the frame against the wall to get things to stick well for about a minute and then separate the pseudo-velcro strips so the pieces on the wall can “cure” for an hour or two without the weight of the frame pulling down on them. Then it’s time to reattach the velcro-ish pieces on the back of the frame to the two pieces that are then completely secure on the wall. Voila: your art is officially hung in a totally screw-free manner. It was so much less frustrating than fighting with our temperamental cinder block!

And because we visually revealed what we were using the bins in both armoires to store (some Halloween decor, an air mattress, some family quilts, etc) we might as well share what those two green bins under the table by the window are currently housing:

They’re storing all of our Christmas decor, which is super amazing since it used to be strewn about the house in various kitchen cabinets, bins under the bed, and boxes in my closet.

It’s so nice to have everything reunited in those cheerful oversized green bins. This stuff shouldn’t excite us that much but for some strange reason it just rocks our world.

So that’s where we are as of this week. Of course we’re still not finished (we have to add some privacy to those windows, create a screen to hide the ugly water heater and share our fun little storage project for the newly painted built-in cabinet) so stay tuned. And speaking of not being finished, do you guys have any projects that are half done? We’d love to know what you’ve started but have yet to finish. Because we of all people can totally relate to how that feels…

Psst- Want to look back on our big basement makeover from start to almost-finished? Here’s the first post, the second post, the third post, the forth post, and the fifth post. Ah memories.


  1. says

    Love what you guys have done with the basement! The armoire doors look so good! It must be so nice to enter a storage area and have room to walk plus know where everything is! Yeah for you!!!

  2. kg says

    This is really inspiring me to de-ugly a couple of concrete-ridden rooms in my own basement. Everything looks amazing so far (as usual) … keep up the great work!

  3. says

    I found a tv armoire on the side of the road (that someone was throwing out) a few weeks ago, and have been working on it ever since! I have the hardware, the baskets to go in it, but I had to spray it down with bleach to kill potential mildew, wait a few days to make sure it had killed what I thought was mildew, prime it, and in spite of priming am still in need of one more coat after 3-4 coats of Heirloom white! Much longer than I expected, but I’m already in love with it! I am extremely excited that it is almost done and will hopefully be able to share a final product early next week! I love what you’ve done with the storage space – it looks great:)

  4. says

    First, I just have to say that your basement looks Ahhhmazing! I love how you even tied in the color of your storage bins to the rest of the room.

    Secondly, I’m so glad that ya’ll tried the Command picture hanging stips. I have toyed with the idea after leaving serious holes in our plaster and cringing simultaneously at both the thought of patching and painting said holes and feeling like the art is then permanently placed (since I don’t want to patch the holes). Also, I believe our fireplace is brick with plaster over it and I’ve been nervous about hanging anything there so the mirror is leaning against it and offers a lovely reflection of our ceiling and top half of a wall.

    And thirdly…unfinished projects….SIGH! We (my husband) started demo to our front porch (that was rotted) in August. It’s *almost* ready for paint so maybe the project will be wrapped up in the next month. And that’s just one of the many projects…so many more. SIGH!

  5. Stefani says

    Looks amazing! I love seeing the progress down there – you’ve really turned an ugly dirty basement into a room where it feels welcoming and calm and organized. And the wrapping paper idea was great – it looks so pretty!

  6. Cecelia says

    GREAT choice of paper for the armoires!

    While everyone can see that the green is beautiful, lots of folks would have been afraid to put the curlicue design of the paper with the striped rug.

    However, that design adds so much life and dimension to the room, and draws out the varying sizes, colors, and directions of the stripes in the carpet tiles.

    I love it!

  7. says

    It’s looking so great down there! Totally love the wrapping paper in the doors. We’re gearing up to completely re-do our basement next year, so I’m tucking and filing all of these ideas away.

    • says

      Hey Eric,

      Yup, so easy. For around $6 anyone could snatch up two more rolls of paper and easily remove the current panels (we hung them with double stick tape). Then it’s time to rehang the new stuff, which only takes about 15 minutes or so. Hope it helps!


  8. Jen Z. says

    wow, gotta love what a little wrapping paper can do. Love it. Love how the basement has come together.

    We have many half finished projects. Our laundry room, our backyard, the shed, our enclosed 2nd floor deck (I have lots of great ideas for the room, just have to find the money,lol). So many projects so little time and money. ;-)

  9. Lauren M. says

    The basement looks awesome. I really can’t believe what you’ve been able to do.

    As for unfinished projects, we had to take down 4 layers of wallpaper from our dining room (we just moved in our first house too!), then spackle all the areas that needed it and instead of spackling the whole wall, we’ve decided that the guy who charges $8/sheet to hang it will take over for us.

  10. LauraC says

    I LOVE the wrapping paper – designs and color!!! The opaque doors mute the green to a lovely shade. And I have a thing for curly-qs. So pretty. I’m glad you got to “reunite” all your Christmas stuff. It would drive me bonkers not to have it all together, but that’s just one of my quirks. :=) Great, great job down there guys!

  11. Vicki says

    I think the basement looks GREAT and wish the one from the house we just sold could have looked so great! Here’s what I’m wondering – where’s all your STUFF? I’m thinking about what we have stored and am really feeling like a pack rat. We’ve got old records and 8-tracks that my hubby won’t part with and random “art” (mostly posters) and books from my graduate study and CD’s and other books and boxes of random “stuff” in addition to those things you mentioned storing. I guess we also have a bunch of “baby” items and clothes that our 18 mo old has outgrown. Maybe someday we can part with some of it…

    • says

      Hey Vicki,

      We’re pretty much minimalists by nature (here’s an old post all about that) but we also have a ton of storage secrets in our house (namely a ton of ottomans in every room that house everything from CDs to bills and more). Here’s that post. Hope it helps!


  12. misty says

    Totally amazing Basement Redo! Love it!

    We are slowly working on painting the kitchen cabinets. It’s a long process since we have alot going on right now. But one wall of cabinets is finished! Also, we painted the stairs to the second floor, but it needs some touch up and a second coat before december! We are on our towns Open House Holiday Tour, so we gotta decorate before then too!

  13. Ana says

    Those picture hanging strips are amazing. And I didn’t even follow the directions — I was so excited I put the strips on the wall and on the back of the pictures and then reunited them. Nothing fell. I used them liberally in my old house and will use them in my current one as soon I rip down all the hideous ’70s paneling. The reason that project isn’t farther along is that I’m waiting for the city’s bulk item collection so I don’t have to fill my tiny garage with the stuff. I considered painting it, like you did in your den, but the paneling itself has some damage and cut-outs for things that had no purpose and were removed (like the controls to the old floor furnace).

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