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Vintage basement decor from the ’40s & ’50s: See 25 creative remodels

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Basement remodeling ideas from 1958 - Western theme decor

HOW BASEMENT ROOMS CAN BE LIVABLE AND PRACTICAL

You can have a basement room today that is as comfortable and livable as any other room in your home.

There’s a certain carefree atmosphere that surrounds a basement recreation room or living room. When you have a party in a room like this, guests immediately catch the festive spirit. And you’ll enjoy entertaining more because there’s less than half the straightening up to do after the party is over.

A BASEMENT BEFORE AND AFTER REMODELING

No words can tell more clearly than these before-and-after pictures what a dramatic change can be made in a typical basement.

A BASEMENT BEFORE AND AFTER REMODELING

A BASEMENT BEFORE AND AFTER REMODELING


FIX UP THE BASEMENT AND IT BECOMES A REAL PART OF YOUR HOME

Most people think of a recreation room when they consider improving their basements, but that’s by no means the limit of possibilities.

Part of most every basement has to be used for regular household tasks, like washing and ironing or odd jobs of painting and carpentry. But in a basement that has been made cheerful and bright, this work becomes as pleasant as if it were being done in any other part of the house.

And it’s quite easy to fix up the basement and make it a really attractive part of your home — suited for both work and play. All you need is a practical decorative idea plus a little paint and a bright new floor of Armstrong’s Asphalt Tile. You’ll find the result is almost like adding a whole new floor of comfortable living space to your house.


VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: MAKE A BEAUTIFUL, PRACTICAL LAUNDRY ROOM

The home laundry once looked like the basement shown above. A little planning and a few easy changes made it this beautiful, yet practical workroom. What woman wouldn’t be proud of the result? The washing machine and electric-ironer, even the tubs, are the same as before. The trick is in convenient cupboards, counters, rolling storage bins, and a sparkling new floor of Armstrong’s Asphalt Tile in a bright design of two marble colors.

Washing… ironing… mending… sewing… how much easier these household chores can be in a room like this that’s designed for practical service and arranged for comfort, too.

VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: MAKE A BEAUTIFUL, PRACTICAL LAUNDRY ROOM


VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: MAKE IT LUXURIOUS, COZY, COLORFUL

RIGHT — Yes, it’s a basement. The feeling of luxury is brought about by the smart, horizontally paneled walls and formal arrangement of furniture.

BELOW, LEFT — Old living room furniture made this basement a cozy lounge. Its bright floor and knotty pine walls make it ideal for a den.

BELOW, RIGHT– A refreshment bar is sure to be a center of interest. In all of the basement rooms shown on this page, Armstrong’s Asphalt Tile has made the floors gayly colorful.

VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: MAKE IT LUXURIOUS, COZY, COLORFUL


VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: RANCH ROOM WITH WESTERN ATMOSPHERE

Imagine your own basement done over like the room on the opposite page. Right away, it suggests an inexpensive treatment.

A delightful ranch room effect can be created with little effort and expense. Walls, tinted an off-white with calcimine paint, are accented by the bright draperies at the windows and by the cowhide covered furniture. Indian decorations, including a totem pole fitted around the post, add to the Western atmosphere. And the colorful pattern for the floor of Armstrong’s Asphalt Tile is copied from a Navajo blanket.

VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: RANCH ROOM WITH WESTERN ATMOSPHERE


VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: A MUSIC ROOM WITH SPACE FOR YOUR RECORDS

If music is a family interest, look! That awkward space under the stairs is a convenient place to store odd records.

The inevitable post is now a hidden support for the novel display of record albums. And what a wonderful idea it is to have a generous countertop for sorting and selecting your records. When you want refreshments, just wheel in the mobile canteen that any carpenter or family handyman can build for you at little expense.

Vintage music room with records and murals


BASEMENT CAN BECOME A GRAND PLACE TO HOUSE A HOBBY

Lots of people think of their hobbies first of all when they’re fixing up their basements. And wise they are, for mighty few houses have room upstairs for the gadgets and the elbow room that most hobbies require.

No matter what the hobby is — woodworking, model trains or model planes — the basement is a fine place for a workshop. And you’ll find no better place to ride your hobby if you’re interested in photography, painting, sculpturing, collecting, woodcarving, or any one of the many interesting leisure-time activities. With careful planning, it’s possible to have a special section of the basement for the hobby of everyone in the family.

A well-planned workbench provides for an orderly arrangement of tools, hardware, and lumber supplies. Along the opposite wall, screens, awnings, and canned goods can be put away in convenient storage cabinets. And the laundry section can be closed off and hidden when not in use.

Vintage basement remodels for a hobby room and workshop with tools in basement


VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: FINE FURNITURE, RUSTIC LOG CABIN, GAME ROOM

ABOVE LEFT– Fine furniture doesn’t look a bit out of place in this smartly finished basement. See how the sombreros brighten the walls.

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ABOVE RIGHT– Here’s a rustic log cabin treatment built into a basement. Smart for a hobby room or any kind of recreational activity.

LEFT — Floors of asphalt tile enter right into the fun because they can be designed to include insets for shuffleboard, and many other games.

VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: FINE FURNITURE, RUSTIC LOG CABIN, GAME ROOM


SMALL BASEMENTS HAVE BIG POSSIBILITIES

Here’s one way of getting the most out of limited basement space. See how the snack bar has been built into an out-of-the-way corner. It didn’t require an inch of extra space, but it’s the most interesting part of the basement. Card tables are hidden away in recessed slots in the column. And the radio, too, is tucked into a wall niche.

Ready for a “jam session” stand the Tom Thumb piano and snare drum. Or a home-talent movie can get underway in a minute by opening the curtain on the permanently mounted silver screen. Even the original asphalt tile inset in the floor suggests a bright evening of fun.

Colorful vintage basement remodels 1940s 1950s (11)


VINTAGE BASEMENT REMODEL: EVERYBODY CAN HELP DECORATE THE ROOM (1950)

Every member of the family can help to plan the new basement. That’s a good way to make it a room everyone will enjoy. This room can easily become a family project. Cinder block walls are easy to tint with calcimine paint whether they’ve been plastered or not. And if someone in the family has artistic talent, interesting and decorative murals like these can be painted on in a hurry.

The possessions of different members, too, can be used in the room. If dad has a slide projector for his colored photos, and son a ping-pong table, the logical place for them is in the basement where they can be enjoyed by all.

Colorful vintage basement remodels 1940s 1950s (1)
The tile you select from Armstrong’s wide range of harmonious colorings can be laid in an unlimited number of patterns. So you can be sure of getting a basement floor that’s distinctive in design as well as luxurious in appearance.


A desert hideaway… downstairs (1950)

Here the basement stairs are a magic carpet that takes you into the relaxing atmosphere of the wide-open spaces. A bright and airy effect is created with a painted desert stretching away from your “window.”

  • Desert view is a colorful “outlook” painted on wall
  • Strips of wood give “window” third-dimensional effect
  • Tubular lights illuminate window from rear
  • Bookcases are built out from window line for wall depth
  • Plywood panels between joists aid beamed ceiling effect

 

Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (2)


A nautical rumpus room

With all but the roll of the waves, here’s a room for lovers of ships and the sea. Below decks you go — to a basement room— for gay hours of rollicking fun and refreshments for all hands from the convenient refreshment bar.

There’ll be many a jolly friend and neighbor treading this handsome deck of asphalt tile in Cinnabar Marble with a decorative compass inset combining White, Pompeian Red, and Regal Blue.

Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (3)


The friendly atmosphere of an Alpine lodge

Imagine the fun of family parties in this gay and colorful setting! Definitely unusual, but practical as can be, this charming basement room features natural-finished wood to establish the rustic, informal atmosphere.

See, too, how the smart, long-wearing floor has been styled to simulate multi-colored flagstones. The colors used in this design are Emerald Green, Florentine, and Cedar with feature strips of White.

  • Laundry tubs cleverly concealed by solid wood planks
  • Center table is cross-section of large tree trunk
  • Bar and game table covered with linoleum
  • Rustic lawn chairs harmonize with decorative scheme

 
Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (4)


As full of excitement as a Paris Cafe

One of the best ways to develop a distinctive basement room is to plan it around an interesting theme. Here’s one that captures the gaiety of a French sidewalk cafe. Notice how the sidewalk illusion is heightened by the imaginative design of the floor.

  • Ornate red and gold bar is center of interest
  • Awning ties two parts of cafe together
  • Walls are decorated with French travel posters
  • Tables and chairs are the old ice-cream-store variety
  • Boxed artificial shrubs establish imaginary curb line
  • Magazine stand and lamp-post add sidewalk touches

 
Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (5)


Basement remodel: Gardening hobby room

Working with the “good earth” is wonderful when you can house the tools of your hobby in an attractive basement room like this. There’s storage space galore, flies for catalogs, even a flower arranging center that’s the laundry tubs in disguise.

  • Seed flat racks and trellises are installed in windows
  • Camouflaged laundry tubs handy for trimming flowers
  • Tools stored in cupboards back of basement stairs
  • Tracked-in mud is easily cleaned from smooth floor

 
Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (6)


Vintage basement decor: Practical workshop

Home ties strengthen when the family works together, and here’s the kind of room that lets every member enjoy his or her hobby. Metalworking or woodworking can be accommodated with a compact shop like this, in practical combination with other pursuits. Ivory Marble with a feature strip of Yellow creates a handsome floor that helps to brighten the room.

  • Kitchen-like wall cabinets provide storage space
  • Soft blue-green walls make restful background color
  • Adjustable light cords for varying work requirements
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Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (7)


Every man’s dream: A den of his own

Deep in his heart, every man longs for a room of his own, filled with his cherished possessions — a place to which he can retreat to relax, to catch up on business chores, or to chat with his friends.

Such a room is easy to create in the basement when you start with a practical floor of Armstrong’s Asphalt Tile. Simplicity and comfort are keynotes here. It’s so livable the whole family can enjoy it on occasion — on Dad’s special invitation!

Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (8)


It’s the town’s most popular party room

Any kind of fun or frolic finds a perfect setting here. Movies, dancing, music, or just plain relaxing are always more pleasant in such attractive surroundings.

This floor’s a beauty with its primary field of Bermuda Blue and secondary field of Ivory Marble with White and Yellow feature strips.

  • Radio-phonograph cabinet holds books and records
  • Permanently mounted movie screen always ready for use
  • Concrete wall is hidden by furred-out paneling
  • Draped panels cover heating and water pipes
  • Decorative placards hand-lettered with favorite songs

 
Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (9)


An efficient laundry area

Washday can be cheerful in a modern basement. See how this basement, once wasted space, has been turned into a labor-saving laundry — how everything has been planned for utmost efficiency. The floor, in bold hollow squares of Slate Gray and Ivory Marble, is not only smart but also practical. Dripping water or soapsuds can’t harm it or affect its bright color. Splashings can be mopped up easily.

  • Cabinets around the window give handy storage space
  • Basement post is support for folding ironing board
  • Perforated table lets air circulate through clothes
  • Handy worktable has pull-out bins made from canvas

 
Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (10)


Basement laundry room

It’s pleasant . . . it’s clean . . . it’s a basement laundry room that started with a colorful floor. The checkerboard effect is created by alternating squares of Ivory Marble and Ebony Marble interlined with feature strips of plain Garnet. A basement like this makes an efficient workroom as attractive as it is practical.

  • Cabinets matching new appliances hide laundry tubs
  • All washday necessities fit in cabinets over tubs
  • Spacious hamper has worktable top
  • Telescoping chrome bars hold freshly ironed clothes.
  • Direct, nonglare light eliminates eyestrain.

 
Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (11)


Vintage basement decor: Picnic party room

Fortunate is the hostess who never has to worry about the weather. This bright, airy room is ready for a picnic party— rain or shine, summer or winter.

One of the room’s finest features is its floor of Armstrong’s Asphalt Tile. Tough and durable, this modern flooring doesn’t need to be pampered. Its colorful beauty is not easily marred. Spilled things and tracked-in dirt can be cleaned up quickly. Washing and waxing will restore its lustrous beauty.

  • Stained ceiling joists create rustic atmosphere
  • Stone grille provides cooking facilities
  • Hooded ventilator whisks away smoke, cooking odors
  • Soft yellow walls emphasize sunlight effect
  • Frozen food cabinet easily accessible
  • Split sapling finish on closet doors simulates fencing

 
Vintage basement remodel interior decorating from 1950 (1)


A recreation room with a night club atmosphere

With the colorful atmosphere of a “night club,” this handsome recreation room has a decorative scheme that’s modern and sophisticated. Gone completely are reminders of the uninviting and drab basement that existed before this space was modernized. This can be your private club — the most popular recreation room in town.

  • Highly contrasting colors set modern note
  • Rear-lighted fluted glass panels create window illusion
  • Painted bamboo screens cover wall sections
  • Freeform refreshment bar adds modern touch
  • Overlapping boards used for louvered partition
  • Floor design helps separate room’s activities.

 
Vintage basement remodel ideas - a recreation room with a night club atmosphere

 


Ideas in this “Western” basement remodel (1958)

FLOOR — Armstrong Excelon Tile in Corkstyle design No. 798 with cattle-brand insets helps establish “Western” theme. Spilled food, liquids, even grease splatters won’t harm this floor, are easily whisked away.

WALLS — Armstrong Temboard in a swirl pattern — surface painted white and rubbed with a gray glaze for rustic, weathered look.

ACOUSTICAL CEILING — Armstrong Full Random Cushiontone — a perforated ceiling tile soaks up party noises, easy to put up yourself.

BAR — simple, wood construction — covered with Armstrong Vinyl Plastic Surfacing, a flexible material that’s very easy to install. Resists stains, easy to clean.

COPPER HOOD — over the brazier, connected to main chimney.

OLD PLAYER PIANO — coat of paint helped blend it with room’s decorative scheme.

HANGING GAS LAMPS — add to authenticity of room’s “Western” atmosphere, electrified for better lighting.

Basement remodeling ideas from 1958 - Western theme decor

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