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The rec room has come a long way since I was child. In the 1970s, our play spaces often had a slight whiff of mildew and felt more dungeon-like than divine. Think concrete floors, painted brick walls and the occasional piece of discarded furniture covered haphazardly with a blanket. In the 21st century, though, we are all looking to make the most of every square inch we have - and that includes the basement, which can be a challenge to decorate. But by focusing on furnishings that are both practical and inviting and adding interest with colour, fabrics and paint, you can easily make your rec room a destination that's every bit as chic as any other.

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THE LOOK A large-scale room needn’t be overwhelming. If you bookend the space by painting the walls at opposite ends of the room in an intense hue, it helps shrink the distance. Keep the side walls a neutral tone, such as grey. The overall effect will be light and impactful.Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail

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HAVE A QUICK BITE SPOT A dining table isn’t often a top priority in media rooms, but imagine how practical it’d be to have a place to eat before the lights go down. Use it, too, as a console table, an extra work surface and even a craft/project area.Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail

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PLUSH UNDERFOOT Subterranean spaces aren’t known for emitting a warm and cozy vibe, but that’s easily altered if you install a cozy covering underfoot. I think a Heriz carpet is a wonderful way to bring vibrant colour and graphic pattern. The dense patterning also proves very forgiving. (Stain? What stain?)Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail

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GIVE A NOD TO MAN CAVES Blending windowpane-check pillows with oversized block-print floral cushions against a backdrop of grey flannel upholstery is a good bet, working for both sexes. If considering wool for upholstery, do the “rub test” to confirm that your textile won’t pill with frequent wear.Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail

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LOOK FOR VINTAGE AT BARGAIN PRICES Outfitting a room with new upholstered furnishings can get costly. Well-priced vintage pieces extend your budget and prevent the room from feeling too heavy. These open armchairs, found for a song at, were transformed with fresh paint and a peppy paisley print.Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail

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