This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CORT. All opinions are 100% mine.
I partnered with IZEA and CORT Furniture Clearance Centers on this sponsored post sharing my ideas to create look you’ll love with basement furniture you might not have considered. All opinions remain my own.
When I graduated from college and needed to furnish my first apartment, I headed to the CORT Furniture Clearance Center in Chicago and picked up what I needed. The price was right at up to 70% less than buying new, and the quality was far better than what I’d get from comparably priced furniture. I loved how this discount furniture center gave me exactly what I needed. When I bought “home to go” packages already coupled for rooms or a house, I received extra discounts, too.
Fast forward to today when I’m “really” a grown up and now refinishing our (previously) finished basement. While I hated to dismantle it involuntarily, I can’t wait to recreate it. Now it will function the way we want and need as the wee ones get older. I want my house to be a destination where friends from to hang out (and I can keep an eye on them) rather than always going to other people’s houses.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I can make this space perfect for years to come. We live in a house built in 1925, which means little storage and low ceilings. Our small basement windows make the basement feel a little like a dungeon the way the previous owners finished it. They chose to paint it a dark brown, which absorbed any light that came into the basement, though they were smart to not install a full ceiling and leave the struts exposed to give an illusion of more space.
My basement though? It’s going to rock. We’re still waiting for the contractors to arrive and really get things moving, but I headed to the Carol Stream CORT Furniture Clearance Center to get some ideas for our basement furniture.
9 Ways to Find and Use Basement Furniture You’ll Love
As much as I love a huge couch that swallows me, a basement space that already lacks high ceilings and square footage feels more cramped with that style furniture. Instead, look for items with a low profile. You can end up with the same number of available seats but feel like you have more room.
As European homes tend to be smaller than American versions, their furniture already has this feature in many cases. CORT often has European products in their stores, and I found two different couch and loveseat combos that would work perfectly.
Choose light, bright colors.
Remember in elementary school when you learned about color properties and how some colors absorb light while others reflect it? The darker a color, the more light it absorbs, and your basement will feel more like a dungeon. That’s not the look I go for and I bet it isn’t part of what you want as you create a basement you’ll love either. Instead, choose a lighter color that isn’t too bright that it doesn’t look right on your walls. I plan to choose a light buttercup yellow that will go nicely with a variety of colors for the walls. We will repaint the ceilings and exposed struts white, all of which will make the space feel larger and more open.
Use mirrors to create the illusion of space.
Along the same lines, reflective surfaces help enlarge the feel of a space. While I don’t advocate returning to the 70s with walls of mirrors, you can find a couple decent size mirrors at CORT that you can hang on the walls.
CORT Furniture Clearance Centers may not have the exact mirror you want when you first head there, but their stock constantly rotates. You can check online to see what’s in stock at your local clearance center (and that tends to be updated near daily, so you don’t make a futile trip, but you can always call to confirm it hasn’t sold that day!) Because the furniture in stores is what has come off rental rotation, what they have on the floor tends to be what’s available, not four versions of it in the back. Some additional items may not be out yet, so make sure to ask the store if there’s something in particular you need. You can also let the store know something you want, and when an item comes in that matches your needs, they’ll call for you to come check it out.
Include plenty of storage.
The basement of my youth was a catchall for anything that didn’t fit elsewhere in the house. When we outgrew something, down it went. Needless to say, as much as I played down there, it felt like a wasteland of leftover furniture. Built in storage can be expensive – and it may not fit what you need long term in your basement. Instead, bulk up your storage with shelves and other storage pieces.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional basement furniture.
While we plan some beanbags for comfort and easy additional seating, we want a space that works for us. I don’t want it to look like a basement of old. When looking for basement furniture, I explored all areas within CORT. I found a couple bureaus that would work beautifully as additional storage. More interestingly, I found a tall kitchen table and stools to make a fun snack or small game table and complement our already existing big game table. Your basement furniture doesn’t have to match or stay in the room the designer imagined when creating it. You’ll be amazed by the places you can find inspiration to create a basement you’ll love.
Make sure to think about refreshments.
We don’t plan to put a full kitchen in our basement. It’s cost prohibitive, and – honestly – we don’t have the space for it. That said, I don’t want teens constantly running up and down our steps to the kitchen to get something. Instead, I plan to put a full size fridge downstairs. I don’t need it to be fancy, but I want a freezer. I plan to use that for ice and ice cream (and the frozen fruit my kids devour constantly). That also gives me enough space in the fridge to store pop and water for guests and any snacks I may whip up for them to enjoy. And yes – of course I saw some great (cheap!) options at my local CORT.
Look for flexible options.
When space is at a premium, you don’t want to fill all the floor all the time. When you have more guests than normal, you don’t want anyone without a seat, however. The key? Find items with flexible arrangements that you can use to create more options with your basement furniture. A set of nesting tables? Perfect for extra guests to set down food or drink.
This couch set I saw at the Carol Stream CORT Furniture Clearance Center? Not only is it super comfortable to sit on, but the back cushions come off to create additional “seating” on the floor (hello teens who don’t care where they sit). Those cushions stay on the back of the couch when you want them there, but they’re easy to move around. This couch – and many others – also changes its configuration easily. You can create a traditional couch and loveseat(ish) combo or make it into a sectional with a chaise lounge. Take off that back cushion and use the smaller piece as an ottoman or coffee table when you don’t need the extra seating if you have more cramped space.
Don’t forget to include the fun.
We have a big old game table in our basement already. It has a wood top to use as a traditional eating table or to hold food. The top flips to make a green felt poker table. Remove the top entirely to play snooker. I also have the pinball machine I grew up playing as a kid – something fairly unique that always made my house a destination amongst my friends. We also plan to get an air hockey table to put in the basement (or a foosball table, my daughter’s current preference) as an added draw for teens. While CORT Furniture Clearance Centers don’t tend to have those items, they still have some fun.
No basement is complete without a television, and since you often use them primarily to play video games, brand may not be as key a focus as it would be in your home theater room. (I don’t and won’t have one of those, but I can dream, right?) The televisions at CORT tend to be the 26” or 32”, but they are getting more 42” and 46” television in to the centers. And yes, they also sell DVD players so you can have a great entertainment room as you create your perfect basement.
Get creative with what you do purchase.
I found this super cute chalkboard top table with colorful painted chairs for just $99 in Carol Stream. The local team took a table and refinished it with chalkboard paint as an example of what you can do. Since the furniture at CORT is solid, feel free to refinish most pieces to match your style. Their furniture has to last being rented, so almost all pieces are solid wood rather than particle board. That means you can create a fun chalkboard piece or otherwise distress or repaint it so it works as you create and buy basement furniture you love.
You could also change the seats on chairs to update the fabric to match. My tip: find clearance one off chairs at CORT and update the seat cushions to match. This lets you tie the look together rather than purchasing a much more expensive set.
Why choose CORT for your basement furniture?
I already mentioned that the furniture at CORT is solid wood and not particle board, which means it will last. It has to, but it’s also less expensive than many other furniture location – especially for the quality. That means you can still afford to buy basement furniture once you refinish it! Their furniture is designed to stand up to heavy use, which makes it perfect to use in a basement.
If you ever worry that you made a wrong choice, CORT has a great satisfaction policy, too. In the unlikely event you lack satisfaction in the first 14 days, simply return them for a refund. Beyond that, there is a 90 day guarantee that the product is in good condition. If you find a defect within 90 days, CORT repairs will replaces your item. CORT cleans and refurbishes every piece of furniture before it goes out on the floor for sale, and they stand behind their products as CORT Certified.
Since they sell products that have been rented, some have been loved more than others. Each item gets scored and rated A through D for wear, and the price reflects the grade. The most pristine – A – costs more than the items that have seen more love – rated D. That means you can purchase what fits your budget. Each item clearly lists the grade for the piece on the pricetag so you know what you buy. They rated this grey sectional a “C,” but I would happily purchase and use it.
And yes, they deliver! It may be a clearance center, but they still ensure you get the products you need to your house. You don’t need to rent a truck or lift and carry things yourself. This service at an additional fee brings the items to your house and places them inside where they belong.
What are your tips to find basement furniture to create a look you’ll love?